Options for the Unemployed

Insurance giant Aetna released a report which is a poor reflection on our ability as agents to get the word out about Georgia health insurance plans.

With unemployment exceeding 8%, thousands are finding themselves out of work and (apparently) no clue about their health insurance options.

The survey found that 69 percent of consumers had never heard of individual health insurance plans or did not know much about them. While general awareness of COBRA plans was higher, 38 percent of respondents said they expected to pay the same premiums as when they were employed.

Some of the blame can lie at the feet of employers who rarely do enough to educate their workforce on the value of health insurance benefits. But I find it almost incredulous that 69% have never heard of individual insurance plans.

My initial reaction is, you're kidding, right?

Forget that I get regular calls from people complaining that their employer health insurance deductions for their family of 9 is increasing from $15 per week to $20 per week and saying they need something cheaper. Or the calls from those with sticker shock who got their COBRA notice, and the $1400 monthly price tag, and wondering what they can pick up that will cover their 13 monthly medications.

But to have never HEARD of individual health insurance?

Georgia Insurance Shop has many options available for those out of work including several popular COBRA alternatives. We also offer folks the ability to compare several affordable  health insurance plans through our quote engine.

Of course recent changes in COBRA as amended by ARRA will reduce the monthly outlay for many. But even paying 35% of the premium for family coverage when you don't have a paycheck can be a bite.

Still, I have to ask, have we created a nanny state?


  1. Gary Holder says:

    It looks shocking to me what YOU don’t know about the reality of individual health insurance in GA. Yes, when I became unemployed after a long medical leave following both my wife and I having strokes–which were not why I was laid off, but are why we’re now in the “preexisting condition trap”. We paid the 18 months of COBRA at over $900 a month for BOTH of us, which seemed bad until we had to move on to the post-COBRA “COBRA Conversion” plan at $1200/mo for THE LOUSIEST plan I’ve EVER HAD, and this is for the wife, ONLY. Luckily, by then I was qualified for Medicare, so my coverage is OK.

    So, the stinking system we have now is FORCING us to slowly go broke keeping the covered. NO company like yours on the open market wants to touch us. Once they hear we had strokes, it’s, “Sorry, you’re on ALL companies “automatic exclusion” list. So, I’ve got little patience for your industry and welcome wholeheartedly any upcoming government plans to improve it.

    How in the HECK is this a “nanny state”?

  2. Thank you for your comment.

    The original blogpost was not meant to be all inclusive, but rather to illustrate options available to most.

    I am very much aware of the fact that Georgia legislators have decided not to provide a risk pool for uninsurable individuals. FWIW, some 35 states have a risk pool, some work well, some do not. Florida closed their risk pool to new entrants about a dozen years ago.

    Conversion plans and assignment policies (Georgia’s answer to the risk pool) are indeed poor options. Coverage is limited and the premium is high to reflect the risk involved in offering coverage to those who cannot qualify for a medically underwritten plan.

    You were able to qualify for Medicare, a taxpayer funded plan, but apparently Bonita was not. So perhaps the government is not the answer either.

    You might find some of the information available on my Resource page to be of help.


  3. I’m having a health insurance challenge right now and so I called Bob Vineyard. I had reviewed his web site which said they were a leading resource for insurance so I expected a knowledgeable person who would be helpful. After he heard some of my story he make some political comments, told me to call someone else, and hung up on me.

    • Bob Vineyard says:

      Thanks for commenting, but let’s put forth the full story, OK?

      You were looking for coverage for your wife, who is on SSDI (disability) and Medicare. You said most doctors did not take Medicare.

      I informed you, on several occasions, that she most likely would not qualify medically for private health insurance based on her pre-existing conditions and the fact she was disabled. You were also told that if she was approved, there most likely would be a waiver on her pre-existing medical conditions.

      You insisted she did not have a pre-existing condition but you wanted “full coverage” for her in case she contracted cancer or some similar illness.

      I told you that IF she was approved for a major medical plan she would have to drop Medicare.

      Your retort was to argue that my statement was not true since she currently is covered under your group plan and she has kept her Medicare.

      It became quite obvious at this point that you felt you knew more than I did, so continuing to offer advice was like teaching a pig to sing. At that point I suggested you call someone else and ended the call.

      Perhaps you will find an agent that is willing to agree with you, no matter how misinformed you are about these matters.

  4. Shirley McDonald says:

    For folks with pre-existing conditions, please lead them to this website: http://www.pciplans.gov This is for people rejected by insurance companies. There is a link you can put on your website to promote it. It was a family lifesaver for us and is a part of the Affordable Health Care Act that is currently working. You just have to have been turned down for health insurance and without it for at least 6 months. Thanks.

  5. Two years ago we both had pretty could insurance. I took an early retirement buyout package because my husband position moved to Georgia. Since then, we bought a house. Then my spouse job let him go. We went from 150k to an unemployed check of less than 300 a week, no health insurance and we soon may have to let the life insurance go too.

    We are relatively healthy, but we have not done annual check up in two years. If anyone knows an affordable clinic or doctor in Cobb County where we could go please let me know. We are not old enough to get senior benefits for at least fifteen years.

  6. I need to confess that your particular article is actually intriguing. I’ve expended plenty of my sparetime on this site. Thanks.

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