Saturday, February 25, 2006

Purchase health insurance

I, Like many people on this blog, are concerned about health insurance after retiring under TCP2 (or if the TCP1 retirement health plan will be canceled). I believe that in New Mexico, individuals can purchase health insurance through special plans, even with pre-existing conditions. Certainly this will not be as cheap as having the employer contribute, but it is available. I am not sure I understand the complete suite of legal issues, but suggest that people look at . I also got quotes from the Lehrman group ( that were not unreasonably expensive. They may even be cheaper that the TCP2 employee-only plan.

Looking at shows:
-- Anyone with a pre-existing condition almost certainly needs to go with "Alliance" coverage and not individual insurers, because individual insurers can (a) exclude your pre-existing condition and (b) the premium costs are unlimited. Even those who are presently healthy should be quite careful, and investigate the plentiful nightmare stories about private medical insurance.

To counter the exclusion/unlimited-cost problem , New Mexico does have the Alliance plan offering coverage that can't exclude you based on pre-existing conditions and with a defined cost. It offers HMO, PPO and indemnity plans. The choice is your personal preference. Mine is that as I get older (and because I have a pre-existing condition, as do many in the "almost ready to retire" age bracket), I would like the best medical available period, i.e. a PPO plan if/when the fit hits the shan.

Comparing costs of Alliance PPO to the UCHS PPO plan offered at LANL in terms of deductibles etc. shows the Alliance plan to be a poor comparison. It's admittedly better than nothing and is a saftey net. But why should LANL employees be forced to fall into a saftey net when we were supposed to get substantially equivalent benefits to what we had?

In regards to Alliance premiums, these examples were given:
"The monthly premium for a 24-year old male buying family coverage in Torrance County ranges from $466 to $1,229, depending on which plan option is selected; and the monthly premium for a 64-year old male buying family coverage ranges from $778 to $2,055."
Multiply those monthly fees by 12 and watch a large part of your annnuity go for medical insurance. I don't think we should be forced to use this safety net.
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