The Health Care Question
By Bob Hubbard
Recently, the following question came in to me at Martialtalk.
"What are people doing for health insurance if they don't have coverage via a spouse? I know some people "go naked" which seems very unsafe. Can you get health insurance via NAPMA and the like? What's typical for a single martial artist with his or her own school?"
The answer unfortunately isn't a great one. Health insurance is a confusing mess right now unfortunately. There is no national system to connect to, so you are left to a maze of confusing offerings that vary from state to state. Plans for the self employed also tend to cost more than comparable plans offered to the employees.
Most insurance companies also refuse to cover "prior" conditions, the definition of 'prior' up to them.
Available plans, terms, rates and insurers vary by state as well.
Here are some resources to help you wade through the maze.
This site, maintained by the Georgetown Health Policy Institute, shows a map of the country and after clicking on a state, a document is downloaded that covers everything from what kinds of programs are available to small-business owners to whether there is a high-risk pool available for those who have been rejected by insurance providers.
This site allows you to compare a variety of policies offered through about 70 insurance providers. One restriction: ehealthinsurance.com does not serve consumers in all states. Rhode Island, Vermont, Massachusetts, Maine and North Dakota are excluded.
Other starting points are local Chamber of Commerce, the Small Business Service Bureau (sbsb.com), and local independent insurance agents.
You can also check with the Freelancers Union, however the union also has some limitations. It operates in only 30 states, and you have to work in one of the industries or occupations it serves.
Some martial arts organizations such as MATA look to offer varying programs, so contacing them is a good idea. They may have affiliate or group programs that you can tie into potentially saving a good deal of cash.
Regardless of who you end up with, several other steep obstacles await. Monthly premiums exceeding $500-1,000 for an individual seem to be common, and that is for people in good health. For those with health issues, you will face an uphill battle finding an insurer who will cover you.
Bob Hubbard is an administrator of the popular martial arts portal site MartialTalk.com and president of SilverStar WebDesigns inc., a web site design and hosting company specializing in affordable solutions for martial artists. Bob can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Article Copyright © 2008 - Bob Hubbard - All Rights Reserved.
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