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Health Care small company

Page history last edited by claudia truesdell 12 years, 4 months ago


+1 for Kaiser.

I had to switch to Blue Cross when I changed jobs recently, and every time I interact with Blue Cross I feel like I've gone back in time (in a bad way, not in the "bedside visits" way) about 100 years.

Andrew Martinez-Fonts 


    We're using Aetna, but I can't say that I'm willing to recommend... looking to move to something else.  Let me know if you find anything good.... I will do likewise.

Andreas M. Kogelnik


Stanford has a decent stop-gap measure called Grad Med (at least they did until last year).  It allows you to be part of the Stanford Alumni group and get up to 6 months of coverage if you find yourself between health plans.  It's mostly for emergency coverage, and thankfully I didn't have to use it, so I don't know how good they are if you actually get into trouble.

Anne Fletcher


Kaiser Rocks.

Daylight was initially set up with Blue Shield but we transitioned over to Kaiser about two years ago and we have been very satisfied with them.

- Strong focus on preventative care
- Highly integrated HMO
- Motivated and skilled doctors
- Simple and predictable billing

Brett Newman


I worked with grad students (Exex MBA) doing on a project at Kaiser using design thinking. Sorry I can't talk about specifics, but I can say that the mid-level managers seem properly incentivized and driven to improve service. They are far from a design thinking driven firm, because they are simply a huge firm, but there are a couple pockets of it in high places, I think.

The service from Anthem is appalling. The utter lack of transparency in their documents is my pet grievance. Inexcusable.

THANKS for the HSA info, btw! That's cool! Healthcare is a huge, ugly puzzle, and you have to attack it in it's present form piece by piece. Here's another bit:

I will also mention Health Care Reimbursement Accounts, HCRA, something distinct from HSA, I believe. You may be able to do both. CONSULT A TAX PERSON ABOUT THIS! These are handled by third parties, usually for very small admin. fees. You get a pretax deduction from your paycheck each month, and this is spendable on allowed expenses, sometimes in advance. The catch is if you don't spend the money, you lose it. It is still a good deal, because it lowers your pretax income, and allows you to spend pretax dollars on med. expenses. I try to do it every year. I have missed the deadline twice, argh, but think it is still worth it. It is especially good if you know you will have unreimbursed medicalmexpenses in a given year. Copays, deductibles (I think) and R/Xs are all allowed. It has been years since I have had one of these plans in a small firm, but I know it is possible--there are providers that specialize in this type of account for small biz.

Bruce Heiman


I used a local broker recently as well and was happy with him. He was helpful with advising a number of options and explaining various things.

bradley j. vaccaro, president
allpointe insurance services
Vaccaro Bradley <brad@allpointe-is.com>

Chris Miksovsky


I was also fed up with Blue Shield, and just by circumstance was switched over to Aetna.  They're even worse.  Do not use them.  And do not under any circumstances talk to Liberty Mutual.  They are the devil.


Here's a set of suggestions:

1. My wife & I are separately self-employed. I have Blue Shield, and am putting up with it for now. She has Healthnet, and it seems good, and affordable for her. We are both in our 50's.

I would strongly recommend you look into an HSA account and insurance policy. There is a lot of info available on the web about HSA's but briefly, it's a two part system:
one: you get an HSA policy from your health insurance provider, which will have a high deductible.
two: you set up an HSA account with a bank, which you contribute into, up to $3,050 (I think) each year.
I set up my HSA with Stanford Federal Credit Union (which is a great place for accounts--I'm using it for biz, personal, mortgage, HELOC, credit card, etc.)

The HSA works like an IRA, the money you put in is sheltered from income taxes, and can stay in your account, earning interest, until you retire. You don't have to spend it, and you keep what you don't spend. You can also use it to pay medical expenses: whatever costs are part of your deductible, AND dental, eye care & glasses, prescriptions, that may not be any part of your health insurance policy. The beauty is that ALL that money you pay out from the HSA is tax sheltered. And right now, I'm getting a decent interest rate on our HSA accounts.

3. I can also recommend an insurance broker: Clark Kelly 650-369-8794 <clark@proinsurance.com>
who helped us both with navigating the insurance application process.

 David Lehmann


they all suck. but, we have been reasonably happy with united healthcare. our broker has been helpful too. contact info here:

Gina Day | Group Health Benefit Advisor |CA Lic. #0D29841 | Assured Health Insurance Service |  Phone 916.966.1254 ext. 106 | *New - Direct Fax 916.872.8278 | Taking the right steps to help you meet you benefit needs.  
good luck,
fred bould


You probably already know this, but just in case: As stanford alumnae you can open HSA accounts at Stanford Federal Credit Union, and then get an HSA policy from an insurer to match.  When I opened mine the interest rate on the HSA account was a tax-free 5% too, though that might have changed.   The HSA plans tend to be kinda minimal, but they are also pretty cheap, and cover you in the event you have larger expenses. 
Grant Cutler


I am self-employed with a Kaiser individual plan right now. They are
great in some ways and not-so-good in other ways. I was very impressed
by their maternity offerings, but disappointed when I called for
advice recently. The advice nurse was referencing "What to Expect in
the First Year" in order to answer my questions and suggested that I
get a copy for myself.

Jean Hsu


For self-employed designers -
The Organization of Women Architects offers group health insurance (Healthnet) to its members - you don't have to be an architect (or, for that matter, a woman!) to join. I know a few freelancers who joined just to get health insurance, and one of them has had major medical bills (complicated pregnancy) and still sings their praises. (this might be California-only)
q julia svihra


Yes the HSA plan is the best part of our Blue Cross plan.

Louis Hsiao


In New York, Freelancers Union offers insurance products among other good stuff. Check to see if they operate where you are.
In California, I recommend Margo Lampell--a broker who can figure out what insurance and what product is best for you or your organization. They have tools on their site but you can also just talk; they know this stuff cold.

M&M Lampell (Marc and Margo)
(415) 883-8043

Nora McCauley


IDEO just switched from Anthem Blue Cross to UnitedHealthcare


Peter Macdonald


We have aetna HMO (mid-range) ... It is good, they pay for everything at PAMF.


Polina Levitan



Rob Dennis


I pay for Kaiser as am individual member. It is about $400/month (I'm in my early thirties) which I consider expensive but I have the lowest deductible plan and my care has been fabulous. Hope that helps!

stacy sanders


I am fed up with Anthem/BlueCross.  We used a broker as well.  We are planning to switch to Kaiser.

Ross Evans





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