Insurance Concerns! Any Advice?

Andrea - posted on 06/06/2009 ( 22 moms have responded )

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Hi everyone,

So I am 18 years old, and due with my first child in November, and I am really concerned about health insurance for myself and for my baby. I just completed my first year of college, however, because the baby is due in November, it would be nearly impossible for me to return to school in the fall. If I am not a full time student, I am not covered under my parents health insurance, so I will not have any coverage come September. My boyfriend just graduated from college, and he is covered under his parents insurance as long as he lives with them, and because he has very bad arthritis, it is absolutely necessary that he stays under his insurance. Because I am unable to live with my boyfriend, I will be living at home with my parents, which I would be excited about, however, due to my parents household income, i do not qualify for any kind of government assistance, including insurance. I feel very stuck, I know I need insurance to protect me and my baby, however, I cannot afford high premiums and do not qualify for any help.

Does anyone have any advice? Has anyone been in a similar situation?

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User - posted on 06/09/2009

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A lot of the options available are going to vary from college to college, so you'll just have to feel that out...and you may have to camp out in people's offices to get them to help you. Remember that you've got to be your own advocate when it comes to these things, whether that means harassing advisers until they get you the support you need or pounding on doors out the WIC office if that's what it takes to get you and baby qualified for that support. The pushier you are the more likely you'll get the help you're looking for. :)

Another trick is, if your adviser isn't any help, find somebody who might be more help. I'm not sure how it works at your university, but where I am the pre-majors are generally helped by one set of advisers while the majors are taken care of by other in-department advisers. When I have pre-major students with complicated problems, I go ahead and suggest that they find one of the in-department advisers to talk to since they are sometimes more helpful.

Andrea - posted on 06/08/2009

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I have never heard of a "visiting student" but that is something I will definitely look into! I only completed my first year of college, so there are some courses I could take that would still work towards my major. I can attempt to get in contact with my adviser from my regular college, however, when I talked to her before the end of the year, she really didn't have any advice for me at all. But you have been SO MUCH help, I now am no where near as worried as a was before cause i see now that i do have options!

User - posted on 06/08/2009

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Re: community college & student insurance...I don't know. You would have to call someone at the university and ask since those programs can vary so widely.

Have you called UofM and asked about being a "visiting student" for a semester? Doing that is more like signing up for summer classes somewhere than actually be admitted as a new student, so getting in may not be as impossible as you think. Again, this is something that varies by university, but you may have options there that you don't know about yet.

I'm not sure how far into your program you are yet, but are there classes that you could take (whether they are online or distance learning) that would be electives or fulfill non-program requirements? Even if you want to major in poli sci, but you aren't limited to only those programs or classes. You could take communication or English or creative writing or history...all of which might count toward some part of your degree.

Have you talked with your adviser at your regular college about your situation? If you were a student of mine, that is one of the first places I'd say you should go. Your adviser may have suggestions about how to make this work without your having to fully be out of school for the semester.
Just to be clear as well, I don't know what the choice and options look like in terms of Medicaid in MN. All of the medical offices I've worked in have been in Indiana, so the rules may be different in your area. You may have more options where you are. I just wanted to make sure that you knew that there might be differences from your experience. We talk about insurance and gov't programs in one of the classes I teach and I find that the vast majority of my students have no idea how their insurance works or what the differences are...so I thought I'd throw that information out there to make sure you were aware.

Andrea - posted on 06/08/2009

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I am also a worrier and a planner, so it does concern me that there are a lot of limits on where I would be able to go with Medicaid, and my boyfriends bad arthritis is genetic, and although it is unlikely that he will pass it to the baby, it is still a possibility, so the idea of limited doctor options scares me. In Minneapolis, there are quite a few colleges, but they are all very expensive private schools except for the University of Minnesota which is nearly impossible to get into, so I have my doubts I would be able to continue school anywhere, other than maybe a community college. Do community colleges typically offer student insurance? Because if I could have the baby covered by student insurance at a community college that is definitely the way I would like to go.

User - posted on 06/08/2009

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If you don't feel that going to school next semester is going to be an option for you, then the cobra may be a reasonable way to go. As to how you are going to get baby covered, that is definitely something you will want to continue exploring. If you decide to go with Medicaid, do be clear that the coverage your LO gets that way will likely be quite different than what you have experienced with private insurance. The exact programs vary by state, but you may find that you cannot choose the doctor and that you must see the ped for anything and actually receive a referral before you can see a specialist (in other words, you can't just decide to take baby to a dermatologist). In many cases, every appointment must be pre-certified. There may be some doctors that you won't be able to see because they don't accept the Medicaid. Also, in terms of treatment, if LO has an issue there may be formularies that must be followed. I'm not saying that Medicaid is bad as it definitely serves a purpose, just that you need to understand what that means and how the process will work since it may differ from what you have with your parents insurance. (I used to work for a dermatologist, so I've seen the back end of how that process works.)

Obviously, you have to figure out what works best for you in this situation. Were it me and I had any other options available, I would probably do whatever was necessary to stay in school and apply for student insurance to cover my LO...even if it was a bit pricier up front. Or, worst case scenario, I would probably go the direction my friend did and have my parents adopt my LO. Like I said, I've seen the other side of Medicaid and that is not a direction I would personally go if there were anything else I could manage. (I don't mean this to sound like there is anything wrong with mom's who have used Medicaid, just that it is not something I am personally comfortable with if other choices exist.) If there is something wrong with LO, I want full control over choice of doctor, choice of treatment, and scheduling. That is just one of the things that I feel like is incredibly important for me...in the case of an emergency, I want access to the best without having to deal with the bureaucracy. But again, that's just me...I'm a worrier and a planner.

I've known students who delivered during the school term. In those cases, the ladies generally went the the profs up front and they worked together to "push up" the schedule for the class so that the vast majority of the work was completed prior to the due date and then sometimes they have taken the final exam (for example) at a later date.

Andrea - posted on 06/08/2009

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I am in Minneapolis, MN, so there are a lot of college around, I went to school In Duluth, MN which is about 2 1/2 hours away, they do not really offer any online courses at all. Because I am due in November, and semesters end in December, I feel it would be really difficult for me to attend classes in November and December, and most of the close colleges do not offer much for online courses. A lot of out of state colleges that offer online courses cost more than cobra would, and there are not many online political science programs, which is my major.

User - posted on 06/08/2009

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Could you take distance education or online classes through your college? Most of the major universities have at least some of their classes available online.

Also, I'm not sure exactly where you are now, but is there a college in your town? You might be able to take a semester off from your current university and apply to be a "visiting student" at a local college. (I did that the second semester of my freshman year after a family emergency caused me to need a semester off.) I just transferred the credits. A local community college might also be a good option.

Andrea - posted on 06/08/2009

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Jenifer, I had health insurance through my parents not my school, and I cannot reenroll at the college I was at because it is way too far away from my house, but thanks for the advice!

Andrea - posted on 06/08/2009

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Thanks Dana, when I called, I don't really know who I was talking to, but they told me that it was based off of my parents income, but maybe they did not know there were exceptions for those who are pregnant, and the website did not have any information on pregnancy specifically. I've been looking at various online programs, but I am still searching for a program that would apply for my major i was working towards.

Dana - posted on 06/08/2009

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i lived with my parents and their income was too great to qualify me but since i was pregnant i didn't have to claim their income on anything. W.I.C. or medical card. i would recommend calling a public aid and speaking to one of the case managers about it. they're the only people who can really tell you if you do not qualify. if all else fails take online classes to stay covered

Dana - posted on 06/08/2009

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if your not insured the state insurance aka medical card would cover you. It isn't based off of your parents income. Go the Public Aid Office in your area and get an application. I got pregnant at the end of spring semester with twins and was unable to go the fall semester in case i went into labor early and wouldn't be able to finish and had to get a med card to cover me when i wasn't in school. Its based off of your income not your parents.

Andrea - posted on 06/08/2009

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Thank You Kass,
Kentucky may have different laws that Minnesota. Almost all government help is based off of your permanent residence household income, regardless of my age. I just found an teen pregnancy support office not too far from my house, so I intend to schedule an appointment with them and see if there is any way I can get any kind of assistance. But based off of the phone calls I have made and based off of their website, it appears as if I do not qualify for anything.

Andrea - posted on 06/08/2009

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Thank you Sarah for the advice! I did already check with my parents insurance, however, I still have not checked with my boyfriends parents insurance, and maybe they might be able to cover the baby. The college I was previously attending is 2 1/2 hours away from my boyfriends, our families and our doctors office, so I really don't know where I would transfer to, and I have no built relationships anywhere close to home. I know it is possible to continue schooling, but I have a lot of concerns. My parents adopting my child could be an option, and something I have not thought of at all, but I would not want to do that unless it was my only option left.

Kass - posted on 06/07/2009

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My daughter had a baby last July. She had been living in another city, but wasn't making enough to really support herself, especially with taking of to see a doctor and having a difficult pregnancy. She finally moved back home with me. Your parents income should have no bearing on you. You are considered an adult, and should be eligible for medical cards for both you and the baby, plus pre-natal care for you and delivery care and post partum care in the hospital for you and the baby. My daughter has done that, and though it was a bit of an humbling experience, it has worked out great. She and the baby can get medical care (the baby sees his doctor on a regular basis plus sick baby visits). Good Luck!................Kass in Kentucky

User - posted on 06/07/2009

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Another option, and I'm not sure how you will feel about this so I'm just tossing it out there, would be to have your parents legally adopt your little one. I have a friend who did this when she found that her LO would be without coverage (though her situation was a little different than yours). My friend's mom adopted her son and then, when she was in a better situation they switched the custody back again. If your parents adopted your LO, then she or he could be covered under their policy. Obviously, this isn't something to be done lightly...but if there is no other solution, it could get your LO good coverage, it might be something to discuss.

I'd agree with the suggestion for trying to stay in school right up to so that you don't fall your parent's insurance. Delivery is expensive! Could you take the minimum number of credits and take easier classes? You could talk to your professors and work out ways to get the work taken care of before you deliver (and maybe taking "incompletes" if you can't finish them before the end of the term). I know it sounds daunting, but it is quite possible (I teach in college and I've seen students do it quite successfully).

Just as something to think about here as well...I don't know if you've checked with your parents insurance yet or not, but I would verify whether your child will be covered by your parent's policy even if you do stay in school and thus are covered. Many insurance companies/policies have restrictions about what qualifies as a "dependent"...which in most cases means that only direct dependents are eligible, but not their dependents. This would be something you want to check out so that you know for sure what the deal would be.

In the case that your LO would not be covered, another benefit to being a student still is that you likely would qualify for student insurance through your university and you would be able to get that to cover your LO (as your dependent).

[deleted account]

Quoting Andrea:

Thanks LaCi, I looked into that a little bit, but is said that applicants qualify based off of household income, and since I will be living with my parents, there income is too great for me to qualify.


YOU may not qualify because of your parent's income but your baby should.  My husband makes too much money for me (or him) to get any benefits (no insurance, no food stamps, no WIC, no cash) but our son gets Medicaid and WIC.  It's one of the things President Obama signed into law when he took office.  You need to check again and maybe actually go down to your local health department.  Ask to speak with someone in "intake".  They will evaluate your finances and determine for sure if you qualify.  Every situation is different.  They have Medicaid for Pregnant Women, which is what I had when I was pregnant.  It ended 6 weeks after my son was born.  They will also apply on behalf of your child after he / she is born.  I believe every child under a certain age qualifies, regardless of income.  Good luck :)

[deleted account]

Did you have health insurance through your college for the last academic year? If so, then I think the best thing you can do is find a way to enroll for the fall semester at school, and continue your health insurance there. That way you have continuation of coverage so you're maternity will be covered. I'm a graduate student, so my situation is a bit different, but this is how I've handled insurance for me and my son. I had him in September, took 6 weeks leave instead of taking the whole semester off.

Andrea - posted on 06/07/2009

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Thanks LaCi, I looked into that a little bit, but is said that applicants qualify based off of household income, and since I will be living with my parents, there income is too great for me to qualify.

LaCi - posted on 06/07/2009

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If you live in the states apply for medicaid. Even if you apply after the birth of your child they can cover both of you retroactively. When I lost my parents coverage I ended up going months without insurance, I didn't realize I could have gotten on medicaid. It helps a LOT until you can find insurance of your own.

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