Charter Oak Health Plan: pros and cons

August 1, 2008 @ 10:20 Filed under: Medical Insurance Miscellaneous — Alston

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What I like about the new Charter Oak Health Plan

The Charter Oak Health plan is a program offered by the State of Connecticut as opposed to the plans offered by private for profit health insurance companies.

  • More people qualify for this plan
  • Rates are reasonable
  • Pre-existing conditions are accepted

Limitations of the Charter Oak Health Plan

  • You won’t qualify if you’ve had health insurance with-in the last 6 months (exceptions may be made)
  • Fewer doctors will take this plan (this is an assumption based on other health plans offered by the State of Connecticut)
  • Benefits are limited on the upper end. You may still lose your house if have a heart attack, cancer or any high expense condition that causes you to have a lot of medical bills.

Charter Oak Health plan – the good

More people qualify The age range goes up to 64. Since Medicare will cover most of us at at 65, this is excellent. Monthly premiums are higher for those making more money, but your income will not keep you from qualifying.

Rates are reasonable You may get lower rates from one of private insurers, but younger people can pay as low as $75 and older folks will pay no more $259 per month.

Pre-existing conditions are accepted This is a great thing. However the plan has a low lifetime cap and a low annual cap, this may not be enough coverage for those who need it most.

Charter Oak Health plan – the bad

You won’t qualify if you had coverage within the last 6 months unless you qualify for a special exception.

Fewer doctors will take this plan. This is an assumption based on my knowledge of the other plans offered by the state. My assumption is that you will have to travel farther to find a doctor and that this may be a special hardship for those who have to depend on public transportation.

Benefits are limited on the upper end. Most of the private health insurance plans offered in Connecticut by Anthem Blue Cross, Connecticare and Aetna cover at least 5 million dollars of care during an insured’s lifetime. There is not separate annual cap on these plans. Connecticare’s plans have no lifetime limit. Aetna has a few of plans that have a 1 million dollar lifetime limit. The benefit limits on the Charter Oak plan are 1 million lifetime and $100,000 per year.

I’ll try to put that in perspective. My mother had lung cancer. She was in the hospital for less than a week and received a $40,000 bill. It was enough for her to lose her house. Did I mention that this was in 1989? I wonder if the prices are higher now.

Charter Oak Health plan – final thoughts

I’m happy about the initiative. I think that something must be done to reduce the number of uninsured people in Connecticut and outside of Connecticut. Plans like this will probably one day put me out of business as a health insurance agent, but doing what is right for the country is more important than keeping a relatively small number of health insurance agents and companies in business. Most of us will find something else profitable to do. Some of us will make more money in whatever business we do next.

My son and I are making plans to do more with other lines of insurance in the very near future because we like being insurance agents and hope to continue to server our Connecticut neighbors in some capacity as insurance advisors and brokers.

Companies offering private or individual health insurance plans to Connecticut individuals and families include:

One Response to “Charter Oak Health Plan: pros and cons”

  1. [...] for many are more affordable than a private health insurance policy. Two of these programs are the Charter Oak Health Plan and the Husky [...]

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