Reader tales of private health insurance

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Dear Bankrate,
My husband and I are self-employed and have some health insurance but with a $5,000 deductible to be able to afford it.

When we started the plan, it was $163 per month (premium) and a few years later has gone to $310 per month. We have not had any major claims and we have always been a smoke-free couple. If it keeps going up I'll have to drop the insurance.
-- Marie

Dear Bankrate,
In 1999 my COBRA ($1,200 a month) was about to run out. I called Fake Insurance Co. of Alabama to see how much this SAME coverage was going to cost me without being under the COBRA policy. The lady said nothing ($0), "you can't buy it."

I was told that I would have to join a group in order to buy ANY coverage from them. She could not give me any leads as to how to find one of these groups, or form one. I am self-employed with no employees. Still looking for a group.
-- Gayle

Dear Bankrate,
Fake Insurance Co. is a reasonable and affordable choice for single mothers in the work place who can't afford expensive medical insurance, especially if the group premiums are too high or, if working part time, one must seek coverage independently.

I'm a single mother with one child. I just qualified for a full-time position at work with health benefits that could be taken from my paycheck. However, the medical insurance I'm paying on my own has adequate coverage and much lower premiums, so I've elected to keep what I have and keep deductions from my paycheck at a minimum.

Three years ago I shopped for medical insurance on my own and found Fake Insurance Co. online. Initially, I was only paying $68 per month for myself and my daughter. After I turned 30, the premium increased, but right now I'm only paying $91 per month for a PPO family plan with a $1,400 deductible.

We are covered for any hospital emergency, doctor visits (thank God we have only one or two per year) at $70 (normally $100, but we arranged a lower rate with our medical group) and pharmacy is not covered (but generics are usually around $10 at our medical group.)
-- Heather


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