How to get private insurance when planning a move out of state
March 9, 2012 9:57 AM   Subscribe

I have questions about applying for private insurance given that my family would like to get a quote (and hopefully a policy) so we can move to a different state.

Background: Currently my husband (29), myself (30) and our son (under 1 year) live in Missouri and have insurance through my employer. We're looking to move to Colorado so I can attend graduate school (part-time, already accepted, start in August) and he can do more with regards to his work position. He has salaried, continuous employment, but it's as an independent contractor, so he has no access to benefits at this time. We're currently in the process of forming an LLC.

Questions: I would like us to line up private insurance for the family prior to our move, and we have held off moving until we have the insurance figured out. How do I apply for this given that many of the private insurance plans are state based? Do I look for a plan that exists in both states? Many quotes ask for residence zip code, so are there potential changes in premiums, etc, after we move?

Second question: Who is the best person to talk to about the nuances between plans and which would be best for the family? I'm not comfortable with a high deductible plan, and need to incorporate something that would allow for regular visits for our son. I'm not sure who to ask questions TO- I'm wary of calling the insurance companies themselves, my work doesn't know we're planning a move so HR is out, etc. Who, or what if it's a website, is the best resource for me to answer my questions regarding co-insurance, concerns about my coverage as someone who takes monthly medication for a pre-existing condition (which while they can't deny me a policy due to will be a consideration with whether monthly premiums are affordable on one income)?

Bonus: Any other advice/questions I should make sure to ask/things to keep in mind from other people who have made a similar transition?

I've tried to balance providing enough information without providing too much given this is health/work related and I didn't want to be anonymous. Let me know if I've missed obvious details needed, and I can provide below or via MeMail. Thanks for your time and help, MeFi!
posted by questionsandanchors to Work & Money (5 answers total)
Question: have you looked into whether your school has plans you and your family would be eligible to join? Many schools do.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 10:00 AM on March 9, 2012

Response by poster: Yes- it does have one, which would be mandatory should we not have other coverage, but I was interested in at least getting a quote for private insurance given the high cost of insurance through the school (~$5000 per semester for the three of us). It's possible if my being on a private policy would up the premium price too much, I might go through the school as a student, and just have my husband & child on a private policy.
posted by questionsandanchors at 10:06 AM on March 9, 2012

~$5000 for two adults and a child for 4 months sounds a lot better than you'll do on most private plans, especially if you're ruling out high-deductible plans right off the bat
posted by Oktober at 11:10 AM on March 9, 2012

Response by poster: We're comfortable with a moderate deductible plan of $5k to $6k, just not something we can get in over our heads with.
posted by questionsandanchors at 11:15 AM on March 9, 2012

Best answer: Who is the best person to talk to about the nuances between plans and which would be best for the family?

A broker in Colorado. This isn't something you're going to want to do via a website. Those are okay for sort of off-the-shelf, standardized services like car insurance and homeowners' insurance, but health insurance tends to be really granular. Talk to an independent agent who sells life/health policies* and you should be able to get what you're looking for.

This won't cost you any money directly. Insurance policies are sold on a commission basis, and that's factored into your premium. So the premium might be slightly higher than it would be if you bought a policy direct, but you're much, much more likely to be able to get exactly the product you need this way, and the agent will also be available for customer service type functions, including claims management.

*Life/health are considered one line of business, and property/casualty another. There are some brokers that sell both lines, but many will just stick to one or the other, and there are a lot that will just do P&C + life, but not health. Ask around.
posted by valkyryn at 1:31 PM on March 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

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