Cross-posted with permission from Pre-Existing Pundit.
Several days ago, I wrote about the ordeal I have been going through trying to move my health insurance from Kentucky to Maryland. Because I had a health insurance policy with Anthem Blue Cross in Kentucky, the local Blue Cross was obligated to offer me what is called a guarantee issue conversion policy that does not require underwriting (a good thing since I have several pre-existing conditions that would otherwise make it difficult for me to obtain health insurance).
As I reported earlier, the Maryland conversion policy was almost no insurance at all so one of the options I wanted to explore was what kind of policy CareFirst (the Blue Cross company that serves the Washington, DC metro area, including the Virginia and Maryland suburbs) would offer me if I lived in the District instead of in Maryland. I asked CareFirst to send me the information and when it arrived it was a stunner. We are talking about maybe a 15-mile difference in location and the same company. But the policies were radically different, which CareFirst attributes to insurance laws which vary by location.
If you live in Maryland, there is a $250 deductible and for most things, you pay 25 percent, the plan pays 75 percent up to a very unrealistic lifetime maximum of $250,000 (most plans have a $1,000,000 maximum or no limit). There is no cap on out-of-pocket expenses. Premium for a 55 year old woman? $443.22, less than my Kentucky policy but for a lot less coverage and substantial risk.
But hop on the Metro and move into the District and wowswers–the guaranteed conversion plan there has a $750 deductible, pays 80 percent instead of 75 percent and there is a $3500 cap on out of pocket expenses for an individual. There was nothing that I saw about a lifetime maximum. Sounds good so far, but there is a catch and it is a big one–the premium. Are you sitting down? $1448. Per month. Aside from CEO’s of health insurance companies, not too many people can afford that. Read the rest of this entry →