General chatter - BMI to high to get health insurance

Me Too
07-20-2009, 11:01 PM
I don't know if this is the right place to post this so...

I have Blue Cross Health Insurance, and in the past 6 months my premiums have gone up 75.00, being on a fixed income I just can't afford it anymore, plus I have a 5,000 deductible, which I never come close to meeting.
So I looked into thinking I would find cheaper coverage, well I did and when I called,and applied the first few questions were easy, zip code, height then the dreaded weight question, when I said I weighed 217, I was told I would be turned down because my BMI was to high!! I didn't qualify for health insurance because I am overweight. For my height 5.4 I would have to weight between 112 and 165!! I was so angry first at them then at me.
Now I have two choices, stick with my high insurance or cancel and end up with none.

Has this happened to anyone else? Is this the way things are now? Obese people can't get insurance or help?

07-20-2009, 11:06 PM
I was turned down for health insurance too because of my weight. Blue Cross won't insure me with an obese BMI. They said they won't even reconsider me until I weigh less than 220 for at least 6 months. Well, it'll be a while before I'll weight that then you add 6 months. I'm basically just hoping I won't get sick before then. I'm willing to pay more, but I guess it's not an acceptable risk for them.

07-20-2009, 11:55 PM
Keep your insurance! Rather be out 5K than 50K if there is a problem. And sad as it is, perhaps view it as just another motivator to stick to your plan...



07-20-2009, 11:58 PM
Jeeze.I agree.Keep what you have.I had no idea insurance companies could discriminate against us in that way.I have had mine for 20 years and have not looked elsewhere.Maybe the new healthcare policy with take care of this.....hummmm.

Bette k
07-23-2009, 11:28 PM
I f you think just being over weight will do it try adding a cancer diagnosis on top of it. I'm good now, but can never take a chance on not having insurance, it could kill me. I am also low income but spend half my income on insurance. The only reason the company took me was because I had been with them through a job for several years and also paid the COBRA for the 18 months I was allowed. I pay half my income and still have a huge deductable. The healthcare changes can't come soon enough for me. I especially want some preventitive care in them.

07-24-2009, 12:08 AM
Holy crap. One more motivator for me to stay on plan. I will be transitioning from my parents insurance onto my own in the next year probably. It sound like I've got a long way to go before I'm insurable.

Me Too
07-24-2009, 09:41 AM
This whole insurance scam just makes me sick. I guess I will bite the bullet and stick with what I have, and try to cut corners some other way.
I can't believe how society treats obese people these days, and if you really look around you will see more obese people than thin people these days.
Thanks for you input.

07-24-2009, 10:49 AM
There are insurance companies that will insure anyone but the premiums will bankrupt you. It's a fact, we are more of a risk for problems because of our weight. Insurance isn't a right. Nothing is a right if it involves taking from someone else. Contact your state services program and see if they can refer you to a few companies that will accept you. It's very difficult to get an insurance company to cover preexisting conditions. Here's a website that came up when I googled health insurance for obese It had a lot of information and suggestions on how to obtain insurance. There were a lot of other sources, too.

07-24-2009, 10:50 AM
Finding insurance outside of your employer is next to impossible. My husband and I lived out of the country for a few years and when we came back to the U.S. we had a period of a few months where we needed health ins, while we were finding jobs and waiting for our new plan to kick in. I was 28, he was 26 - healthy and young. We were denied by TWO companies for 'preexisting conditions': i have asthma, he gets migraines. COME ON! Don't we all have something??

At the risk of being overly political, I pray that affordable, universal health-coverage is on the way. It's time we stopped discriminating and started treating people like human beings.

07-24-2009, 10:56 AM
Bette, have you applied for Medicaid in your state. Low income and health, you should be able to get it. My husband and I were on SS but I still have a part time job and he qualified for Medicaid because he had so many medical bills and our combined income didn't meet the standard to be excluded.

07-24-2009, 11:04 AM
I understand why insurance companies discriminate against anyone with a
pre-existing health condition or anyone at increased risk for illnesses - it saves them money, and because they can.

I don' think people realize how many people can't afford decent healthcare. My husband and I are now on medicare, and I'm so grateful for it - but the system is so difficult to navigate that my husband and I routinely are confused by hospital billing (which is crazy enough to decifer without medicare). Basically the hospitals and medical offices keep sending you scary "you owe us tons of money, pay us you SOB cheapskates or else" bills until medicare pays (which can be up to a year). It's difficult to determine what we owe, what medicare owes, and the amount that is left over that the medical offices are obligated to make disappear (at least in Wisconsin, doctors and hospitals can't charge more than our deductible plus what medicare pays - but they can still send us bills for the whole amount until medicare pays).

Getting those "pay us or else" bills, were very scary at first (like most people, we didn't want our credit rating to be effected. My health problems could go into remission (at least in theory), so we didn't want to be unable in the future to buy a home. I've stopped seeing my specialists, and was very reluctant to go to the walk-in clinic this spring when I was sick because of potential costs/bills (I ended up with pneumonia).

At least we know the sytem enough (now) to wait out the bills, and ignore them until medicare pays, but I feel so sorry for people who don't have the skills to navigate the system. Many are just going to avoid doctors, and others are going to make bad health decisions, because they don't understand the medicare system (there are people whose job it is to help, but no one ever tells you about those people, you have to stumble upon them yourself).

I especially hate Walgreen's ads that imply that medicare covers prescriptions whichever pharmacy you use, and that coverage "is the same" for all pharmacies, so you should use theirs because of their service. What they DON'T say in the commercials is that medicare covers $2500 worth of prescriptions annually (actually I think it went up this year, to maybe $2700), no matter which pharmacy you choose. However, since the pharmacies charge different prices for prescription, that $2700 goes a lot further at some pharmacies than others.

When I first went onto medicare, I exhausted my drug benefits in less than three months. Luckily they gave me a years of benefits in July (when I went on) and so we only had November and December without benefits. I had to just go without most of my medications, and hope I didn't die or kill myself before January (because I had to go without pain medications as well as other meds).

We went from pharmacy to pharmacy to find out their prescription prices, and finally went to Sam's club (Walmart would have been a second best choice, but with Sam's club we were able to get additional discounts with the $100 membership). We had to change my prescriptions for some medications, choosing older, cheaper medications (but we learned that some pharmacies charge "extra" for older medications, because they don't normally stock them, so some drugs that Sam's club charged $4 for could be five or six times that at Walgreen's and other pharmacies).

I'd love to see some preventative care covered, also. Nothing "crazy," but it's insane that medicare will cover my mammograms, but not a tetanus shot. I have a couple teeth that need work done, but since medicare doesn't cover dental, my only alternative is to try to find a dentist willing to take a payment plan, save up for dental visits, or wait until the teeth get severely infected and it becomes a life-saving procedure rather than a preventative one. I'm at the point that I'd even accept tooth-pulling if it were covered. I'll look ridiculous with several missing teeth, but at least I'd not be in pain.

I'm not sure what people who don't have access to any health care do. Or people with medicare who aren't able to read at a post-graduate college level (or physician admitted that when he tried to help his mother with her medicare, he got so frustrated and confused he handed it off to his billing staff and asked them to do it).

I could rant for hours, so I'll just stop now before my head explodes (I'm not sure that's covered).

I do understand that my health care costs are being paid for by other tax payers, and that when I was working I paid the health care costs of other people on medicare. I'm not wanting to take money out of other people's pockets, but of all the things that tax payer money can go to, I would hope health care would be considered a priority. I'm not sure that most people want poor people to die so they themselves don't have to pay higher taxes (but some I think do).

And of all the things that tax payer money could be spent on (and is) I think health care makes more sense than some existing programs. As with a person's individual income, necessities need to be paid for before luxuries.

07-26-2009, 04:01 AM
ME TOO ~ I also think you should keep the insurance you have; AND also look into the medicare in your state as well. Don't cancel your present insurance until you are absolutely sure you are covered by something else, and as others have stated here, you may actually be better off with the company you have for a variety of reasons, even if it is expensive right now.

We are very blessed in Canada and the Province of Ontario, to have a government insurance called OHIP (Ontario Health Insurance Plan). All citizens get a pictured OHIP card and present it at the doctor's office and/ hospital when they go, and the bill is automatically paid for you. We do have premiums for it again, but they are based on your income; and children, seniors and disabled people don't pay any premiums.

Also, no-one can be refused healthcare for any reason on OHIP. I hope that someday your Medicare system can be improved in a similar way. Our system may not be perfect in every way, and we are always tweaking it, but it is a heck of a lot better than what many other countries have. Having this system is expensive, but Canadians feel that their health is a #1 priority (like Kaplods says) and want our taxes used to pay for this more than anything else (education comes in at a close second place).

KAPLODS ~ As always, very good advice there ...

08-01-2009, 07:39 PM
Check into Medicaid if you haven't already. Many stupid hoops to jump through, but worth it. I am a student and work very part time, and I am actually afraid to get a full time job when I'm done with school, because insurance will be expensive, there will be a 90 day gap I'm sure, and I have MS and diabetes, thus a whole crapload of meds and such. Well, anyway, check into it.

Best of luck, and here's hoping we'll have a nationwide plan soon!

08-01-2009, 09:57 PM
I am with a low income clinic who will take care of me if I am sick. (The People's Health Clinic). It is a Government supported health clinic (Yup, universal health care in action). The appointments are few and far between, but they are taking care of all my health needs-- well woman's inspection and a dermitalogical concern happen next month. It took many months to get into, but AI was finally accepted. They took no vital statistics exept my income. My co-pay is 15 dollars. I do not pay any more money due to my low income-- but they accept other people for a higher co-pay who have more money. Look for something like that-- even if you have to drive to Albuquerque.

I also hope that there will be a one-payer system in the USA-- at least for the low income.

08-03-2009, 02:38 PM
If you think the present health care system is bad, wait for universal coverage. We don't have enough medical people now. Medicare pays the doctors very little and they will stop practicing. My friend in Canada who is on dialysis had to wait 6 months to see her nephrologist. She ended up going to Buffalo to get the care she needed. Buffalo and other cities on the border have lots of people from Canada coming there. And with the system Obama is proposing old people just won't get all the care they need.

And let's give the correct info on Medicare Part D (prescription drug). There is the donut hole, but there are plans that cover it. Once you have racked up $4,200 in prescriptions for the year, Medicare begins paying again. I would be in the donut hole now, but I got the plan that provided coverage because I know my drug costs are high.

I agree that everyone should have health care. And if you are truly sick and don't have coverage, any ER has to treat you.

I'm on Medicare and have a Supplement so I pay $0 out of pocket - no copays for anything.

I also think National Healthcare is going to have some built in penalties for being obese. They are talking about taxing soft drinks, snacks, fast food, etc. for starters.

Bette k
08-04-2009, 12:53 AM
And if you are truly sick and don't have coverage, any ER has to treat you.


I hae heard this put forward often that if you don 't have health insurance then go to the ER they have to treat you. NO they don't. Read the signs, they only have to treat you if you are in labor or have a medical emergency. I also know that several of the local hospitals require you to pay before treatment.

I have heard lots of people put down universal care, and most of them are already getting government insurance. How about letting the rest of us have a chance at getting something too. Unless you are under 18, over 65, or have somekind of extreme medical disability medicare is impossible to get. I wish I could get on it, my daughter is on it and it is the best insurance I have ever seen. I can't buy insurance that good.

08-04-2009, 09:01 AM
I just want to give you a :hug:. You've already received alot of good advice here. I too, agree, and say keep your insurance at this point and just work towards your goal of getting to your ideal weight.

But I just also wanted to say that insurance companies, in general, are the biggest sham known to man. Ask any Floridian about the crock of &%&*$ being ran as the homeowners insurance industry down there, or anyone that has been driving for 5, 10, 20 years accident free, get into one wreck and their premiums increase 10%, 20%....and health insurance is the worst of them all. I have seen TONS of information about the BMI and had it is, generally, an INACCURATE predictor of health. There are many people with an "ideal" (whatever that is) BMI with alot of health problems, and there are many whose BMI exceeds what is "the norm" with no health problems. Many reputable doctors (actually even the last 4 doctors I have gone to) told me how much more important waist to hip ratio is as a predictor of current/future health problems over BMI. However, they do agree that after a certain weight then 'yes' your weight becomes a precipitating factor. My current doctor says they usually see this in patients 250 pds+. But the whole industry just steams me! :mad:

Now I won't get into a debate over this socialized healthcare until I fully understand the plan b/c I have heard/read some extremely negative aspects of what is being proposed and as always with our government, all that glitters ain't gold!

08-04-2009, 01:11 PM
The Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA) requires ERs to examine you if you request it, to determine if you have an emergency condition. They do not then have to provide routine care if it is not an emergency. And even if it is an emergency and they treat you, they are then still allowed to bill you for it. It requires them to treat you, but not for everything, but not for free.

08-04-2009, 02:56 PM
I am one who cannot get insurance. I don't want a handout from the government nor do I want to pay higher taxes to get universal government supplied insurance, I just want to be able to buy insurance. I'm willing to pay more because of my weight. I had it for 12 years when I was employed with a corporation, but as a self-employed person you have to have ALWAYS been in perfect health or you are out of luck. I think simply forcing insurance companies to offer insurance to all would help a great deal.

08-07-2009, 03:42 AM
Honestly, I think this is the perfect motivation to lose weight. Not only will you be saving money, you'd also be getting healthy.

Believe me, I feel your pain. I'm worried about having to get my own insurance (my parents are covering me now) because i had thyroid cancer 2.5 years ago. It's gone, but insurance companies probably won't think so.

It's not just overweight people who are denied. Smokers, people who drink too much, people with cancer, diabetes, etc.

Basically, be grateful that you can change your weight and get healthy. I can't change the fact that I had cancer. No matter how healthy I get, it's like a huge red stain on my medical records. If I weigh 120 and run marathons, insurance companies can still deny me coverage. And I should also mention that thyroid cancer is pretty much unavoidable. I didn't get it as a result of my actions, if that makes sense.