So tell me about getting personal health insurance

I think it’s likely I won’t be able to afford it, but I want to look into it. For almost a year now I haven’t had health insurance. I have been going to the clinic on campus for things. I’m moving to Ohio, though, and the first semester I’ll be taking online classes from my Georgia college, so I won’t be enrolled in the college in Cleveland until Spring semester… which means I won’t have access to a clinic.

Now, I don’t get sick much. I think in the last year I’ve been to the clinic for an illness one time. So I’m not terribly concerned about that. However, my birth control costs $45/month and my Welbutrin is about $85/month and if I could get insurance that had a good prescription plan… the insurance I used to have when I was married, I paid like $10/generic $20/name brand for pretty much any medication.

Does anyone know how to go about getting insurance, and what a good company might be that has fairly inexpensive policies that include prescription coverage? I’m not employed–I’m a full time student.

You can look online for carriers such as but considering you are unemployed you’re going to have quite a hard time finding affordable insurance that’s really going to do much for you. Right now you might weigh your total expected costs of office visits and prescriptions and the risk of catastrophic injury. Or get on a plan that only covers emergency hospital visits but not general office visits.

If your monthly prescriptions are inexpensive, less than $200 a month, you might be better off just paying cash for them. And if you have a primary doctor that you know well, you might be able to get away with having them phone in prescriptions for pretty general stuff for a while without a visit, (like yeast infections, UTI, etc.).

For reproductive health issues, try to find a local Planned Parenthood location. They might be able to offer you things like pap-smears and BC prescriptions at a discounted price.

ETA: If your monthly out of pocket costs aren’t expected to be too great, my bet is that health insurance isn’t really going to save you very much money at all. If you can hold out until you start taking classes at your local school and are eligible to visit their clinic, it might not be a bad idea to save your money.

The only time you get cheap copays is when you or your employer pay a significant amount into the program.

You might look into getting your son on a state program such as Medicaid or something similar, many states have kid specific healthcare programs (if you’re needing to get coverage for him too).

You can buy insurance privately through most of the big names, Blue Cross, Aetna and United Healthcare off the top of my head. Whether it’s affordable depends on your budget and what you consider an acceptable risk. I currently pay for Blue Cross privately My son and I are about $150* per month, while my wife and other two sons pay about $85 ea. That gives me $30 doctor visits and the Rxs are all over the map and a mid range deductable.

Now that may seem expensive but consider this: Two summers ago my son fell off a play structure at the local park. He broke his arm, cut his lip badly enough to need stitches and had a nasty bump on his head requiring X-Rays. I didn’t have health insurance at the time, the bill for that was 12k.

  • We both have long term conditions.

When Himself was a full- instead of part-time farmer, we had private pay health insurance. It is shockingly expensive.

Best way to handle it that I know of is to get what I call “maim yourself” insurance. It just means that the deductible is so high that it is rarely reached in a year’s time. It’s insurance against a really serious injury - you don’t want the hospital bills from a car accident following you around your whole life.

However, if you are trying to cover the time in between when you can have student health insurance again, consider gap insurance. You can only have gap insurance for a set period of time (18 months?) during your entire life, so you can use 3 months here or 6 months there as needed between jobs/schools. When I had it, I could get it for something like $50/month. It covered basically nothing, but I was insured against catastrophe.

Good luck!

ETA: Okay, not against catastrophe itself. Against catastrophic medical expenses.

Seems Anthem/Blue Cross was kind of affordable, $300 month or something for the family (2 adults, 2 kids, no smokers) which isn’t much more than I’m paying now. Not very good prescription coverage for a short term, something like after deductible you pay 20%, but until then you’re losing money

Their website has a quick quote-getter/plan-describer thing.

I think any private insurance that cuts down on your prescription costs of $130 a month is going to cost far more than that. You might could get emergency insurance for less than that, but it wouldn’t help you with the scrips. (I’d strongly suggest that you get some kind of catastrophic coverage anyway. You might, ummm…, hurt your back somehow. :wink: )

Do not go without emergency insurance.

Typically if you are qualified for personal insurance it will be cheaper than group care (you aren’t putting into the pot with the rest of the gang with their medical conditions). I know you didn’t ask but this can also be beneficial for your son if there was some sort of major medical emergency. I am out of the office for the next week but if you care to email me I can send you the guy I am looking at using instead of going with the company plan. I don’t know if he will cover all over the country but it’s worth a look.
If you email me I’ll try to get back with you on Monday of next week. No promises, but I can at least try to help! It’s something we are going through with work and a battle I’ve been fighting lately myself (paying cash for my sons’ visits and so forth).

Part of our divorce agreement was that my ex-husband pays for my son’s insurance. So he’s got plenty of coverage–it’s just me needing it.

Shouldn’t be too bad for just you, Opal, if you get catastrophic coverage like mine, with a huge deductible, no prescriptions and benefits that only kick in if you get thrown under a bus.

Disclaimer: IIRC, I’m a lot older than you are, so my premiums – even for my crappy coverage – are insane. Yours will be too, but a little less so.

You might look into getting group-rate coverage through an organization. Last time I was under-employed, I joined the Farm Bureau, and bought insurance through them at their group rates, which was well worth the membership fee. I kept up the membership, and it’s a good thing I did, as I’m about to embark into the world of the self-employed, and will be going through them for insurance again.

I think their agency is Allied - it’s not quite as good as the coverage I’ve had while employed, but it beats nothing by far.

Cowgirl Jules: This sounds interesting… what kinds of organizations are there I could go through? I’ve never heard of this before.

I’m sorry if I haven’t paid closer attention, but does the juggler-dude work + have insurance?

Here in TN you can join the TN Farm Bureau for about $20/yr. Then you can get Blue Cross/Blue Shield group insurance. It’s less than $300/mo. I think. The Ohio Farm Bureau may have something similar. I seem to recall that you had weight-loss surgery? I don’t know if you have any pre-existing conditions, but that can definitely change things.

If you’re willing to risk it, you can go to Planned Parenthood or your local health department for your birth control. And for your Wellbutrin, you might see if you qualify for any discounts/patient assistant programs for the uninsured. Here’s a link to Glaxo’s Patient Assistant Program, although your doctor will have to submit the paperwork. There is an income limit for most of these programs. There’s also a generic for Wellbutrin, if you aren’t already taking it.

Good luck.


Oh I’m definitely on the generic. But even the generic is $85/month. And holy crap, if it’s anywhere even CLOSE to $300/month then it’s way, way, way, way, way out of my reach. :X

Hey OpalCat - I have nothing to add to this thread, but this!

I saw you mentioned moving to Ohio, and of course, you said Cleveland. Well, I would just like to say congratulations. Not because I’m one of those “Ohio is the bestest ever” people, but because I like Cleveland. My father and I keep our boat near Cleveland, and we have kept it near Toledo. Toledo was not half as fun. Either way, we do have to go forever for the best fishing, but Cleveland is a pretty nice little place (IMHO) and everyone I met from there has been awesome.

Of course, I live here on the other side of the state, but maybe one of these years I’ll be up near that lake. It’s kind of what I hope for, anyways…

Brendon Small

(That Bridges to Access thing looks cool… I am going to call them tomorrow and ask some questions! Thanks)

OpalCat - My sister has, since the first of the year, had to have a hysterectomy, breast cancer was found and treated with lumpectomy radiation and chemo, thyroid removed, thyroid cancer found. She’s currently unemployed and had been paying for COBRA, which has run out. She’s looking at paying about $1000/mo for insurance, but she can’t afford not to have it.


I can’t afford $300/month for insurance, though, period. It’s not that I don’t feel I want to budget that much of my money for insurance, it’s that after I pay for the roof over my head, my utilities, food, etc, there isn’t anywhere near $300 left over.

It may be that major medical won’t run you that much. I’ve seen plans in the $100-$150 range.

Keep in mind, though, that this is major medical. It won’t cover the monthly prescriptions you list. As others have mentioned, you don’t get insurance that covers things like prescriptions without paying a lot, or having an employer who pays a lot.

Give a few insurance companies a call - it doesn’t take long to get a quote. Check out United Healthcare and Blue Cross/Blue Shield. But keep in mind, you’ll be paying every month for insurance that probably won’t cover anything unless you get really sick.