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Old 07-13-2018, 07:52 AM   #1  
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Default Health Insurance as a Low-Time Pilot

I'm 28 years old, unmarried, no kids, currently employed full time in a non-aviation career and have health insurance through my employer's plan. I'll be changing careers later this year, and am trying to decide how to handle healthcare. I'm planning to become a flight instructor or do aerial survey to build time with the plan of landing at a regional within 2 years. I would imagine very few low-time pilot jobs provide health coverage and I think it would probably be easier to just do my own thing.

I'm currently in great health. I haven't "gone to the doctor" or gotten prescriptions in a few years. I get a physical, blood work, and an EKG stress test done annually through my employer, and everything has always come back looking good.

It would be a 99% chance I could make it to the regionals without using any medical services or prescription medications in the interim, but I can't predict the future, and would want to have a very high deductible plan to cover me in the event of something serious.

Is anyone in a similar scenario? Any advice?
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Old 07-14-2018, 10:14 PM   #2  
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Disclaimer: I'm not offering any advice or counsel. I didn't do survey, this is Just my opinion on the matter.

My wife had a HDHP at $150/month for just her. There was a period when I didn't have insurance and to add me, the cost would jump to $800/month. That's a jump from $1800 annually to almost $10,000. You'd better believe I started looking long and hard at the difference between the federal penalty for not having coverage... I'm also in the "never sick, never go to the doctor" crowd. Just the biannual dental visit, and annual AME visit.

You'd have to look long and hard at several factors. One, just how much are you even going to take away after taxes each month? A high deductible plan is going to cost the most, and unless you're on an employer-sponsored group plan, it'll be pricey. You're not likely to have those with this low time jobs. Secondly, you'll have to look carefully at coverage and networks. Some make you choose a primary physician, then charge you more for non-network or an in-network doctor without a referral from your primary. If you end up doing survey, guaranteed you'll be on the road. Would any potential medical visit be an "out of network" visit when you're on a different state? I don't know. And third, look at the cost versus risk. What's the cost of a lower deductible or HSA? You said it yourself, you never go to the doctor and you're probably not ever going to need it. And that's where the risk is. Pay lower premiums and be on the hook for more out of pocket (but it's not likely), or pay higher premiums as a safety net just in case. With either plan you'd probably still be on the hook for a considerable hospital bill and you'll probably never use the copay to visit your doctor. So I'd be tempted to go with the cheapest plan because, to be macabre for a moment, in that line of work I'd probably have a greater chance to end up dying in a plane crash than needing to go to the ER and have an appendectomy or whatever. If I ended up in the hospital, with my luck they'd find a way to shift a lot of the cost on me regardless of whether I had a higher or lower out of pocket limit. I'd just watch what I eat, exercise when able, stay safe, minimize every risk possible, and just take the most adorable coverage
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Old 07-16-2018, 12:42 PM   #3  
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Thanks for the feedback Brocklee. I tinkered around on the healthcare.gov marketplace and it looks like they have an ultra high deductible plan (they call it a catastrophic plan). Its like $240/month with a $7300 deductible. This is probably what I need for the next year or two while I build my time. It will cost me a few thousand a year, but will save my bacon in the rare case that I encounter a super expensive medical bill.
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Old 07-16-2018, 04:11 PM   #4  
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... I'd just watch what I eat, exercise when able, stay safe, minimize every risk possible..."


I like your quote above. Yes, do not do things that will make you end up in the hospital. The best Health Insurance plan is a very healthy lifestyle, not all those numbers they keep moving around. I have a corporate job in the pharmaceutical industry, and I'll tell you; all this healthcare nonsense is a scam. If you do dump things, and end up in the hospital, there are 3 sharks or vampires coming for your blood to eat you alive: the Pharmaceutical manufacturers, the hospitals, the insurance companies, and the Federal govt is playing referee in it all.

If you get hit by a truck and end up in the ER God forbid, Sorry! But by heavens, just live healthy and get some simple healthcare plan.

Thanks,

Alfred
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Old 07-16-2018, 07:29 PM   #5  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by agayo70 View Post
... I'd just watch what I eat, exercise when able, stay safe, minimize every risk possible..."


I like your quote above. Yes, do not do things that will make you end up in the hospital. The best Health Insurance plan is a very healthy lifestyle, not all those numbers they keep moving around. I have a corporate job in the pharmaceutical industry, and I'll tell you; all this healthcare nonsense is a scam. If you do dump things, and end up in the hospital, there are 3 sharks or vampires coming for your blood to eat you alive: the Pharmaceutical manufacturers, the hospitals, the insurance companies, and the Federal govt is playing referee in it all.

If you get hit by a truck and end up in the ER God forbid, Sorry! But by heavens, just live healthy and get some simple healthcare plan.

Thanks,

Alfred
Yep, I gave up soda and sweets a long time ago, watch sodium and carbs, exercise 3-5 times a week (or as often as I can). I gave up activities like skiing and mountain biking. And I'm saving that money (which would have gone to a higher priced insurance plan) into savings. For things that are much more likely to happen: getting a filling at the dentist, car repair, having a kid, saving for a down payment on a house.

And OP, that's great you could find an affordable plan on the government site. I've never really looked at it much, I think last time I tried the enrollment period had closed or something.
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Old 07-17-2018, 05:54 AM   #6  
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Another thing to consider is “Cobra” benefits, which is continuing your current health insurance coverage when you change careers. I think (going on memory here) that you can elect to continue coverage for ? up to 6 months? after leaving your current job. The monthly rates are a bit higher I think, but at least it will give you more time to sort out your options.
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Old 07-17-2018, 07:27 AM   #7  
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Another thing to consider is “Cobra” benefits, which is continuing your current health insurance coverage when you change careers. I think (going on memory here) that you can elect to continue coverage for ? up to 6 months? after leaving your current job. The monthly rates are a bit higher I think, but at least it will give you more time to sort out your options.
Yes, I'll probably do Cobra for a month or two until I get on another plan. I'm not an expert, but I think Cobra just extends my current healthcare plan through my current employer. This plan is considerably more expensive than one of the ultra high deductible government plans, so I don't want to do this for too long.
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Old 07-17-2018, 07:42 AM   #8  
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Yep, I gave up soda and sweets a long time ago, watch sodium and carbs, exercise 3-5 times a week (or as often as I can). I gave up activities like skiing and mountain biking. And I'm saving that money (which would have gone to a higher priced insurance plan) into savings. For things that are much more likely to happen: getting a filling at the dentist, car repair, having a kid, saving for a down payment on a house.

And OP, that's great you could find an affordable plan on the government site. I've never really looked at it much, I think last time I tried the enrollment period had closed or something.
Yep, as a 28 year old healthy person, I don't think I'm going to get heart disease, diabetes, etc. in the next two years. I'm really just looking for a policy to cover me in the case of a catastrophic event for the next two years or until I get hired by a regional.

That is excellent long term health advice though!

I guess I'll give up mountain biking, motorcycling, watersports, snowboarding, and all my other high risk hobbies for the next two years.
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Old 07-17-2018, 08:45 AM   #9  
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Easier yet...Just find a CFI job that pays AND has Health Insurance. I am sure this is becoming the New Normal with the Pilot Shortage worsening.

https://info.flyhaa.com/flight-instr...yAAEgLkoPD_BwE

----------------------------------------------------------- OR:

If you make between about 18-42k / year you will be eligible for Health Care Subsidies.

I am 60 and pay $108/month for a $200 deductible and full coverage equal to my previous employer's plan.

You have to learn how to navigate the effed-up mess that is Obamacare.

PM if you wish.

Stimpson

Last edited by Stimpy the Kat; 07-17-2018 at 09:02 AM.
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Old 07-17-2018, 11:22 AM   #10  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stimpy the Kat View Post
Easier yet...Just find a CFI job that pays AND has Health Insurance. I am sure this is becoming the New Normal with the Pilot Shortage worsening.

https://info.flyhaa.com/flight-instr...yAAEgLkoPD_BwE

----------------------------------------------------------- OR:

If you make between about 18-42k / year you will be eligible for Health Care Subsidies.

I am 60 and pay $108/month for a $200 deductible and full coverage equal to my previous employer's plan.

You have to learn how to navigate the effed-up mess that is Obamacare.

PM if you wish.

Stimpson
Yep, many are starting to provide insurance. I almost went to Hillsboro and one of the incentives was having insurance. It’s not ultra common but is becoming more and more common.
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