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Q: Cost effective health care benefits without a corporate job ( Answered 4 out of 5 stars,   4 Comments )
Subject: Cost effective health care benefits without a corporate job
Category: Health > Medicine
Asked by: jfhogan-ga
List Price: $5.00
Posted: 07 May 2002 14:48 PDT
Expires: 14 May 2002 14:48 PDT
Question ID: 13665
Where and how can you obtain health care benefits (medical and dental)
cheaply when you've lost your corporate job?  Is there some way to do
this if you form a "paper" small business?  Or alternate ways?  How
can this be done through Aetna/US Healthcare (my present carrier)?
Subject: Re: Cost effective health care benefits without a corporate job
Answered By: weisstho-ga on 13 May 2002 18:25 PDT
Rated:4 out of 5 stars
I apologize for your having lost your job. That’s a tough break.
A person whose job has been terminated has rights under the Employee
Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) – the Consolidated
Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 — commonly called COBRA —
may allow you to purchase extended health care coverage. The Health
Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 — known as HIPAA
— protects you and your family from discrimination because of
pre-existing medical conditions.
You may be able to purchase extended health care coverage under COBRA
if your job ended for any reason other than gross misconduct. To
qualify, your employer must have had 20 or more employees, you must
have been a participant in your employer’s group health plan, and the
employer must continue to maintain a health benefit plan.
Once your job ends, your plan must provide you with written notice
explaining your rights under COBRA. You have 60 days from the date the
notice is provided or from the date coverage ended — whichever is
later — to elect COBRA coverage. It begins the day your health care
coverage ended and lasts for up to 18 months (and longer in some
cases). You should also know that under COBRA you may have to pay the
entire group rate premium for health care coverage.
HIPAA requires that most plans provide coverage for pre-existing
medical conditions after 12 months (in most cases). Further, HIPAA
requires a new employer’s plan to offset this 12-month exclusion
period by giving you credit for the number of days you had previous
coverage — unless you had a major break in coverage. Your former
employer is required to provide a certificate that documents your
“creditable coverage.”
See, again,

Your old carrier, Aetna / US Healthcare has a nice website which may
be useful:

I have found that, in many cases, the local Chamber of Commerce can be
a great source of coverage. You asked whether a “paper” small business
would be required. Many Chambers do require membership in the
organization, while some don’t. Most, and probably the vast majority,
don’t require a formal business entity, such as a corporation or
limited liability company; individuals can typically join. Check your
local Chamber.

A Google Search on “Chamber” and “Health Insurance” reveals quite a
bit:  ://

Contact your state government to find out if you or your dependents
are eligible for public health insurance, like Medicaid or the new
State Childrens' Health Insurance Programs, or to get information on
obtaining new coverage.

You may also consider contacting any trade or professional association
that you may belong or be eligible to belong to. This can be
particularly attractive if you become self-employed.
Another good source of information is your local “unemployment
office.”  Most, though not all, states have significantly expanded the
scope of their counseling at these offices, and these professionals
may be well versed in local options and the related costs.
Search Terms:



If I can provide any further information, please let me know. I would
be happy to research any particulars, for example State specific


jfhogan-ga rated this answer:4 out of 5 stars
An excellent answer, though I would have appreciated more specific
direction on setting up my own corporation/small business, and exactly
where I could then get health insurance under that entity.  However,
the information given was very useful and clear. I don't know how you
guys can do this for the little money paid, the service is worth much
more.  John

Subject: Re: Cost effective health care benefits without a corporate job
From: cm476-ga on 07 May 2002 15:15 PDT
I don't know much about insurance, but I did some computer work for
State Farm so I picked up a few bits of knowledge here and there.  I
know that State Farm offers health insurance via Fortis Health,
including a special temporary, short-term health insurance for people
between jobs that sounded really cool.  In case you want to look into
that, here's the Fortis Health webpage:

Here's State Farm's health insurance page:

Most other insurance companies should have similar pages.  For
example, you mentioned Aetna, and looking around turned up a
fair bit of information.  The best thing to do would really be to just
talk to a local insurance agent.  I know from meeting about 50 of them
that they tend to be very polite and helpful, and since they generally
make money only by selling policies rather than getting a salary, they
have strong motivation to help you out.  Talking to an agent of a
company that sells health insurance would be the best way to get the
specific information you need, and free.
Subject: Re: Cost effective health care benefits without a corporate job
From: jessamyn-ga on 07 May 2002 18:46 PDT
Additionally, many states [WA and VT are two that I know of offhand]
offer subsidized health care for residents who are without health
care. The terms of this coverage varies wildly from state to state,
but checking out what is available through your state public health
organization [sliding scale clinics often have this information at
hand] is a good place to start. The big question you will probably
need to sak is "Will I be better off keeping my current
provider/insurer and paying higher rates or switching
providers/insurers to get lower cost health care?"
Subject: Re: Cost effective health care benefits without a corporate job
From: homeed-ga on 07 May 2002 18:51 PDT
Both Blue Cross ( and Kaiser
( have plans for individuals and small
businesses.  I'm sure other major carriers do as well, but I am only
familiar with those two.  Our experience with Kaiser is that their
emergency room staffs are superb, but that the rest is a typical HMO
;-).  For the price, it may be difficult to beat.
Subject: Re: Cost effective health care benefits without a corporate job
From: mit-ga on 07 May 2002 22:19 PDT
Hi jfhogan,

When I was one my own and doing some consulting, I went to (I know, a bit dot-corny):
[ ]

You can search for plans and rates.

I don't know whether you can request a specific carrier or not.


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