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Health insurance for industry folks


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#1 Thomas Burns

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Posted 13 January 2006 - 03:52 PM

Hi all,

I'm wondering if there are any organizations out there that offer group health insurance plans geared toward folks in the film business (I'm in Los Angeles, CA). I know the unions offer great coverage plans, but I'm still trying to get my days. Any thoughts?

Thomas B.
electrician/novice DP
Los Angeles, CA
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#2 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 17 January 2006 - 06:03 PM

Well, I'm in the union, but I haven't qualified for health insurance yet. I have Kaiser Permanente that I pay for myself. It's not bad, and it's not too expensive. I recently heard that Blue Cross/Blue Shield has a very good and cheap plan, but I haven't checked it out for myself. Might be worth looking into.
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#3 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 17 January 2006 - 06:11 PM

A long time ago, before I was in the union, for the year my wife was away in England getting her second masters, I got a bare-bones policy from Blue Cross with a high deductible. If you're young and healthy, what you mainly want is protection in case of hospitalization, which is insanely expensive in the U.S. So get a high deductible so that you're only covered when hospital costs get REALLY high.
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#4 timHealy

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Posted 17 January 2006 - 09:59 PM

I used these guys for about two years - over ten years ago.

http://www.nase.org/

might be worth checking out.


Tim

Edited by heel_e, 17 January 2006 - 09:59 PM.

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#5 Richard Boddington

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Posted 17 January 2006 - 10:26 PM

What if you have a pre-existing condition? How does one get any coverage in that case?

I have a good friend who works in the film biz in LA, he's a hemophiliac, he can't get any health insurance no matter how much he's willing to pay. Oh well I guess that's for profit medicine for you.

R,
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#6 Adam Frisch FSF

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Posted 27 January 2006 - 10:17 AM

But here in Europe there's this myth that people that don't have medical insurance are left to die on the streets in the US. This is, as I understand, not at all the case. You have a general medical program for all citizens financed by the government through your taxes, it's just that it isn't as nice as the one you pay for, right?

I mean, all those reality shows on Discovery Channel where gang members with nineteen gunshot wounds to the abdomen get rolled in to some ER at Memorial This Or That Hospital - surely they can't all have medical insurance policys that cost $400 a month? And to me, the care they seem to get at these tax funded hospitals look pretty good. Or have I got it wrong?
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#7 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 27 January 2006 - 11:27 AM

Hi,

On the other hand, people in the US frequently have the impression that in the UK you get the same standard of care state funded as you do privately in the US.

Medical insurance is one of the things on my "sort out this year" list because I really can't afford to wait around six months for potentially work-stopping things like blown joint cartilage to be fixed.

Phil
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#8 Richard Boddington

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Posted 27 January 2006 - 11:42 AM

Adam,

In answer to your question, here's the incredible thing about the US healthcare system.

Yes you are correct the really poor people that get wheeled into hospital emergency rooms have their coverage paid for by the gov't or out of pocket by the hospital, as hospitals can not turn away the uninsured. Not legally any way. Americans with good jobs will have health insurance via their employers, and the rich don't care either way.

In the US the people who get screwed are working people with no health insurance, or people that have assets and are un-employed. Classic case in the USA, person loses a job where they once had health insurance and then they get injured or sick. With no insurance they will have to liquidate their assets to pay their medical bills; house, car, boat, etc etc. A life times of hard earned assets can be wiped out in weeks by medical bills that can easily run into the hundreds of thousands for things like cancer care.

Then there are the millions of "working poor" people that make too much to qualify for medicare, and don't have any insurance via their employer. These are people like waitresses that work in mom and pop diners all over the USA. It's quite bizarre but in the USA if you are poor you are better off on welfare than working because at least on welfare you'll qualify for medicare!!

Imagine being working poor and having medicare taxes taken off your paycheck every two weeks, but never being able to use the medicare system.

Oddly the US is the only industrialzed nation with no national healthcare.

R,
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#9 Mike Lary

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Posted 27 January 2006 - 11:48 AM

But here in Europe there's this myth that people that don't have medical insurance are left to die on the streets in the US. This is, as I understand, not at all the case. You have a general medical program for all citizens financed by the government through your taxes, it's just that it isn't as nice as the one you pay for, right?

Well, hospitals and emergency care centers are required by law to treat anyone, regardless of their insurance status, and give them a 'comparable' level of care they would to someone with insurance, but this only applies to emergency treatment. Some facilitiies will give you inadequate care if you don't have insurance and if you ask them to bill you (hand them a gold card and that's a different story). They'll give the bare minimum to treat your symptoms. If you need preventative medicine or long term care, you're out of luck.

I've gone to the emergency room with and without insurance and there's quite a difference in attitude and service. In the case of the latter, I was treated like a deadbeat and had to pressure the doctor to get x-rays because he wanted to do a surface inspection and send me on my way (I'd been in a car accident and had severe pain in my leg). In the former case, there were tests-o-plenty 'just to cover all the bases'.

There are plenty of people in the US who are left to pay their own medical bills because they contracted a debilitating disease while uninsured, and yes, some die in the streets, but not all - some max out their credit cards, beg, borrow, and steal, and file banckruptcy trying to stay alive. Some choose to commit non violent crimes that keep them in jail for long durations so they can take advantage of the health benefits afforded to prisoners.

As far as finding the right insurance plan goes, Blue Cross Blue Shield have cheap plans (as low as $70 or $80 a month). Like David said, you can get a low monthly payment and high deductible. There's a matrix on the BCBS site that contrasts all their plans.
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#10 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 27 January 2006 - 02:05 PM

I had a friend who had no insurance and had a brain tumor/cancer. The tumor had to be removed and he had to get chemo and radiation. He lived, to the surprise of the doctors, and found that he had a bill for over $500,000.00. They treated him, but he still owed the money. People threw fund raisers for him, and raised some of the money, but I'm not sure what came of it.
I heard once that out of every $1 someone pays the hospital, $.50 of it goes to pay for services rendered to the uninsured. So the rates for paying customers goes up in order to cover the uninsured. It's a very screwy system.
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#11 timHealy

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Posted 27 January 2006 - 02:49 PM

There is one thing your friend could do which isn't great but it may help. Declare bankruptcy. I have a friend who had individual insurance when he first started in this business 15 years ago, and when he needed some surgery for something (I forget what it was) the insurance company went to great lengths to find something in his past to drop him.

He got the bill for 50 grand and as a fresh college graduate without two nickels to rub together was advised to declare bankruptcy which he did and then had to work at building his credit up.

However, our fabulously elected republican lead congress working together with the credit card companies (the very same ones that work very hard to extort money from everyone at 13 to 20 percent or higher!) Changed the law and I believe it went into effect last October, so your friend who have to research this option very carefully.

Best

Tim


PS if everyone worked really hard to pay off their credit card bills every month, that would destroy these greedy pigs. sorry for the non cinematography related rant.

Edited by heel_e, 27 January 2006 - 02:51 PM.

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