I miss my country's healthcare system
November 18, 2009 9:44 PM   Subscribe

I'm a grad student in Massachusetts. My school-sponsored health insurance is terrible. The maximum benefit limit is 75,000$ and covers only 80% in-network, 60% out-of-network. I'm poor, but since I'm from abroad, none of the state-supported programs will help. What are my options?

If anything catastrophic happens to me, the benefits are such that the insurance will be of little help avoiding a bankruptcy. The only redeeming value of the insurance is its cost. But at 70$ a month, I'm would prefer to pay bit more for better coverage. I asked the company, but there are no extra coverage available, no "rider", as they say.

I've looked at a few private insurances. Unfortunately, coverage in my price range won't cover any activities involving motorcycles or skis, and I participate in both. Short of altering my lifestyle, being on these insurances would still leave open the possibility of a bankruptcy.

Are there any companies that sell extra coverage for people who already have some third party health insurance? How should I go about shopping for such an insurance? The staff at my school's international house were not any help. Who else should I ask? Where could I get some guidance?
posted by gmarceau to Health & Fitness (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Where did you find insurance for $70/month??
posted by runningwithscissors at 9:50 PM on November 18, 2009

Runningwithscissors, catastrophic coverage is widely available at such rates to younger folks. In fact, the coverage is often superior to regular insurance. I'm covered at 90% after $2500 or so.
posted by mmdei at 9:56 PM on November 18, 2009

RWS, I believe the poster has insurance through their school for $70 a month. They would like to pay a bit more than that for better coverage.

gmarceau if your primary concern is bankruptcy, I'd look for what I think is called catastrophic coverage as a supplement to your current insurance.

Basically, you want a second insurance package with a $75k deductible. I don't know if this is a standard offering, but if you can find this, it should be ridiculously cheap compared to regular insurance.

Call an insurance agent or poke around on the site of an insurance co that does business in Massachusetts.
posted by zippy at 10:00 PM on November 18, 2009

I don't know if anyone in MA writes stop loss policies for individuals, but zippy is correct. THAT is the extra insurance that would be most helpful to you. A stop loss policy is an extra policy that covers unexpected catastrophic claims that wouldn't be fully covered under your everyday insurance. Here is a company in MA that writes stop loss policies. They don't seem to cover individuals, but they might know of companies who do.
posted by jeanmari at 7:12 AM on November 19, 2009

Best answer: I was recommended Patriot America Insurance in a previous question (I recently relocated to the US from the UK as my husband is working here, and the optional family coverage on his employers policy was unaffordable for us). I have a maximum benefit limit of $1,000,000, $0 deductible and it covers 90%/80% in/out of network. I pay around $90 per month. I haven't had to make a claim yet though, so can't vouch for their services. Hopefully they will be ok if I get hit by a bus or something! I just took another look at the website and there is an extreme sports rider available for an extra 20% of the base premium.
posted by hibbersk at 8:41 AM on November 19, 2009

IANAL but this is what I learned when researching for myself here in Mass.

Massachusetts has a law that states that if you currently have insurance you cannot be denied insurance by any carrier (regardless of pre-existing conditions) and there can be no waiting period to get the coverage. What this means is that you can keep your coverage and, if you end up with a bad medical issue, you can immediately enroll in a program with much better coverage.

If you go that route, you will be fine as long as your immediate bills (i.e. bills that occur before you can upgrade your insurance) don't exceed your current max coverage.
posted by thekiltedwonder at 11:32 AM on November 19, 2009

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