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Crappy health insurance

Discussion in 'Psychology [Psy.D. / Ph.D.]' started by psych for path, Jun 20, 2013.

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  1. psych for path

    psych for path

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    How do people deal with the health insurance offered by their programs? Particularly if it is very limited?
  2. psychRA

    psychRA PhD Postdoc

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    Hope that you don't get sick or injured.

    Seriously, this was a thought that would cross my mind at times while I was on student insurance. I was in a funded program with a livable stipend, but I ended up taking out some student loans to cover the bills I accrued on a couple of occasions. While it's vastly better than no insurance at all, student insurance (in my experience) is not good. In my program, there was a university health center that we could access very cheaply, but anything beyond basic stuff would require you to go off campus. Paying an automatic 20% out of pocket for all services, for example, can add up very quickly if you have so much as a single ER visit, let alone a serious injury or a medical condition that requires surgery.
  3. fallen625

    fallen625

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    Get married?

    In all seriousness, if you have a significant other and you live with him/her, I think you can go under his/her health insurance... might be something to consider if you are in a serious relationship.
  4. paramour

    paramour

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    I seriously lucked out and somehow managed to keep my health insurance via my ex-'s kick-ass policy all through grad school. This was particularly helpful when I ended up with numerous ailments and needing multiple re-occurring surgeries/treatments over the years. I would have been royally frakked with our student insurance... and then some.
  5. PHD12

    PHD12

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    Good posts. My student insurance also surprisingly sucked and I even had some health issues. They only covered 80% with a co-pay. Basically, I just ate very healthy, exercised, and just did the basics (physical once year ) so I kept costs to a minimum. From my experience, doctors prescribe way too many unnecessary, expensive meds (and i'm not taking about conditions that absolutely require meds where there is no alternative). Try not to be dependent on meds unless you have no choice and have researched alternatives. Many meds are expensive (out of pocket co-pays/deductibles can be in the hundreds) and actually contribute more to the problem.

    You can also get on a partner's health insurance if you are not married (this may depend on state). I did this for 1-2 years of graduate school. You just need to show that you are domestic partner. No need to get married for this.
  6. briarcliff

    briarcliff Gold Donor

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    You can stay on your parents insurance until 27, which is a reason to start grad school sooner rather than later.
  7. PhDToBe

    PhDToBe

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    Whoa, isn't it 25? I am frantically seeing all of my doctors/dentists one last time when I go home, because I will turn 26 before I return home again.
  8. briarcliff

    briarcliff Gold Donor

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    I thought it was until your 27th birthday, so effectively until the end of age 26. I could be wrong though.
  9. paramour

    paramour

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    I believe the latest revisions to dependent care indicate UNTIL the individual reaches age 26 (as indicated by this: http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/faqs/faq-dependentcoverage.html).

    However, I also seem to recall there being a lot of variability across states in what they (i.e., the individual state insurance commissions) allow for dependent coverage, with some allowing dependents to remain on parents' policies for longer periods if they were not eligible for a group/employer sponsored plan -- I think I remember one for age 30!!!
  10. cara susanna

    cara susanna

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    Haha, my TA health insurance actually excluded me from coverage until September due to a pre-existing condition and my position ends in August. Good thing I just got married!
  11. PHD12

    PHD12

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    Seriously, who doesn't have a pre-existing condition according to their ridiculous standards? Have you ever menstruated or had a headache? Corporate greed at its finest. Sad that getting married (assuming you have an employed spouse) is the only way for many people to get health coverage.
  12. Therapist4Chnge

    Therapist4Chnge Neuropsych Ninja Faculty Moderator Emeritus

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    It seems that most are pretty bad. Mine was a complete waste of time (no option to join a parent's back then either). I basically tried to avoid using any health services in grad school after i found out how much everything would cost out of pocket. I came from Cadillac coverage (PPO, no co-pay for anything short of being admitted to a hospital, etc) so it was quite an adjustment.
  13. CoreConcept

    CoreConcept

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    In my state Blue Cross/Blue Shield offers a Student Health Plan that offers decent coverage (compared to the Grad student health plan offered by the university which is awful) and is relatively affordable. I pay about $70/month for it (though I know a female colleague pays about $100/month). You might want to check out the insurance companies in your state to see if a similar plan is offered or if they have a deal with the University.
  14. paramour

    paramour

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    In general, females are always going to pay higher rates than males (same age bracket, no significant differences in health, etc.).
  15. futureapppsy2

    futureapppsy2 Ed Psych PhD student Moderator Gold Donor

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    Seriously! Not to make this a political debate, but don't the new health care laws make it so pre-existing conditions can no longer be used to deny coverage?

    (Congrats on your marriage, cara! :D)
  16. cara susanna

    cara susanna

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    Thanks! Yeah, pre-existing conditions were a big part of the healthcare reform debate.
  17. Psychadelic2012

    Psychadelic2012 PhD Student

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    I had no insurance (and no mommy or daddy to rely on) for nearly a decade, so student insurance was like winning the lottery for me!!
  18. Doctor Eliza

    Doctor Eliza

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    Yeah, some of my PP friends miss the grad student insurance because they cannot get insured or it is cost prohibitive to have insurance.

    At one point our grad student union was fighting (as university employees) to get benefits more similar to the professors. All the profs took offense at this with a sort of, "you think you are as important as we are?!" sort of sentiment. Ah, happy grad school memories...

    Dr. E
  19. PHD12

    PHD12

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    Don't go into PP unless you know you will have health insurance through partner and can get disability insurance too. Then, make sure you never get divorced and your spouse outlives you, and try not to get sick or take leave because you won't get paid. I know some people who were denied health insurance due to pre-existing conditions recently even though it's technically illegal. I also know one self-employed person who was kicked out of blue cross private insurance because she got diagnosed with a health condition and they claimed it was pre-existing a couple of year ago. Completely illegal, but happens.
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2013
  20. paramour

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    Er, technically, if they have evidence that it was pre-existing and she didn't report it (or even if she did report it and it's consist with what she reported), then it wouldn't be illegal. Particularly as the current reforms for pre-ex conditions haven't gone into effect for adults yet. They're only for CHIPS/high-risk individuals who have basically been un-insurable or for children (<18) on group/employer sponsored plans and NEW individual plans. Anyone else is and can still be screwed until the other stuff kicks into effect...
  21. erg923

    erg923

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    1. mine sucked too. but I was/am pretty healthy person.

    2. Health insurance boggles my mind. My wife had a series of concerns this past fall, including one trip to the emergency room and numerous ultrasounds, biopsies, etc. Just the ER visit by itself was 9 grande. We probably paid 100 in copays and our insurance probably 20 grand from Sept-April. I just do not understand how it all works, financially. I suppose there is alot of backroom negotiations with the hospitals and docs, because 9 grande or so for the 2 hour ER visit (no imaging or anything just blood work) is just nuts!
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2013
  22. cara susanna

    cara susanna

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  23. Member6523

    Member6523

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    Sorry for your wife but this isn't Starbucks dude.
  24. IT514

    IT514

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    I understood what erg was saying, yet I have no clue what you are trying to prove...dude...
  25. erg923

    erg923

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    I think he means I shouldn't expect healthcare to be a cheap, simple/efficient service. I would think anybody who is in this field would support some kind of healthcare reform though. So, I am as perplexed as you...
  26. Doctor Eliza

    Doctor Eliza

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    No, I think he was teasing you for using "grande" instead of "grand". It wasn't as deep as you think. :)
  27. Member6523

    Member6523

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    Yup, simple tease. I am on board with everything here except for the use of the word "grande" instead of "grand.":laugh:
  28. PsychPhDStudent

    PsychPhDStudent

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    hahaha I didn't quite get it either. Clever! Been spending too much time in my non-Starbucks shop... ;)
  29. Rivi

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    My experience with my grad student health insurance:

    -They dropped me, without telling me and despite me paying the semester insurance fees, because I didn't go to their website and click the renew button. No one ever told me that I needed to do this. I fixed it without a major issue, but I didn't have health insurance (unknowingly) for several weeks because I didn't click a freaking box on a website that no one told me about (DESPITE PAYING THE MONEY FOR IT!!)

    - They didn't pay for my abscess removal because I didn't get a referral from the student health clinic to have it removed.

    -They don't pay for annual checkups, which I have gotten most of my life. I also had to stop seeing my PCP of 5+ years because he was out of network.

    Basically, I have learned that if you need anything, go to the student health clinic first. Most student insurances encourage you to go to the student health clinic, and you can get everything through there for free, which is a good deal.
  30. deadmau5

    deadmau5

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    Our plan is pretty sucky too and I'm in Canada!
    Since I'm >25, cannot be covered by my parents. This really does suck when you realize that you either need to pay for a plan and cannot use your parents anymore... ah, growing up.

    It's okay, but there is definitely some stuff lacking. Part of the problem is that the plan is too far reaching and covers one or two sessions/items for a lot of different things (glasses, rehab, mental health, physicals, dental, massages, eastern medical stuff, etc.)

    I am going to need some more dental work in the next year or so and I have a feeling only a small portion will be covered. Also my Invisalign braces this school year (November to July) were all covered out of pocket. We also get a small $800 spending account that can be used for prescriptions, misc. dental if you need it, misc. health stuff. It helps, but it's definitely not enough, I've been discovering.

    Last year we had a membership review of the health care plan, so I'm hoping it might evolve a bit further.

    That being said, I had terrible tonsillitis this year and had to head to the ER to get fluids drained. Thankfully was not given a bill for my hours there.
  31. deadmau5

    deadmau5

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    P.S. I like the marriage idea. I'm working on that :)
  32. cara susanna

    cara susanna

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    I hate how eyecare and dental care aren't covered in main healthcare plans. Are eyes and teeth not a part of your body or something?
  33. AcronymAllergy

    AcronymAllergy Neuropsychology Fellow Moderator

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    I think my health plan does actually cover eye and dental care, although of course not nearly as well/thoroughly as separate supplemental coverage.

    I don't remember if that was the case with our grad school plan, though. I wouldn't be surprised if, like you've said, ours didn't cover either one. I actually ended up just getting additional dental, which was pretty cheap (maybe $100/year or so?).
  34. Pragma

    Pragma

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    I've heard of crappy student coverage, graduate students who organized and got employee benefits, and graduate students who organized and get their department to give them a set amount of money to go purchase their own coverage.

    I was one of the lucky people who had coverage through my spouse. But there was a period of time at the beginning of school where neither of us had coverage. I researched plans and found a fairly inexpensive option that gave us both a few visits per year. But we only used that briefly before she got group coverage.

    I'll be interested to see how things develop in 2014 with regard to pre-existing conditions and what the premiums will be for people.

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