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triplet mom

Insurance? I'm only 57.

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Hi Everyone,

 

I am 57 and have not officially been diagnosed with pd.  I saw my primary care doc two years ago because I was concerned about tremor in my right hand and the fact that my handwriting had changed dramatically!  After further evaluation she referred me to neurologist who sent me for MRI to rule things out.  Her evaluation of slowed movements in my right hand, arm swing difference and balance issues in addition to my handwriting and tremors led her to order a DATscan.  I scheduled it and then missed it because of a cancelled airline flight :(  I have not rescheduled it.  My symptoms have progressed I think.  When I look in the mirror I look different.  My voice has changed.  My neck aches like crazy.  etc etc.  I am insured through Kaiser in Colorado.  We have a very high deductible plan and I would like to get better insurance during this open enrollment period.  I would appreciate any input I can get!  Id like to go to a center of excellence for a complete work up. My husband and I want to be able to live in Arizona for part of the year when we retire ( maybe sooner than I thought!)  We have 16 year old triplets plus 2 older daughters and 4 grandkids.  My life is exhausting but wonderful.  I am praying that I can continue to live fiercely but am really scared about how this will go.   Thanks in advance for the wisdom you all have.  God Bless.

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That's a tough one.  You don't seem to have a formal diagnosis, but you have seen doctors, including a neurologist.  So there are records of you having been seen.  That means you might have to disclose it on any application depending on how they word things.

 

For sure you'll want to get insurance sorted out before you get any diagnosis if at all possible.  Even with the protections for pre-existing conditions built into current law there's still not that much to keep you covered affordably.

 

Can't give you too much more guidance than that though as I've always had employer provided insurance (except for a couple years long before I got diagnosed).  I don't know your employment situation, but if you or your husband can get a job at a large employer with full benefits there's often no exclusion for pre-existing conditions, or at most a limitation (usually no more than a year, often as little as 1-3 months) on denial of coverage for pre-existing conditions.

 

Once you retire (assuming 65+) you qualify for Medicare.  Though that is 8 years away for you, and even when you do get there the so-called Medi-gap policies are a necessity from what I've heard as regular Medicare coverage leaves a heck of a lot to be desired.

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There is a PD Center of Excellence in Colorado. If you call the Helpline listed on the homepage of this website, you can get the number. I suggest calling their office and asking which insurances they take. The open enrollment this year ends on 11/15 and is not being advertised by the current administration. If you act quickly, you may still fall under the protection of the preexisting condition clause. Find the most coverage you can afford. PD is expensive and the right doctor (Movement Disorders Specialist or MDS) vs. a standard neurologist makes for much better treatment of this complex condition.

Welcome to the Forum!

Dianne

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Agree that you need to get insurance nailed down before proceeding further.  There is a gap of info in that I don't know if you are covered through work already and can easily move between plans or if your husband is the primary covered and bread winner.  Don't know if you gang has special health issues or other circumstances to stay with certain providers.  I have been on my large company's plan through diagnosis and a couple years after that.  I also have Tricare through military retirement as a secondary.  Thankful to have both although after initial diagnosis for PD I have been cruising along with symptom control only so far as a slow progression case.    My opinion is that a traditional PPO plan is better for max freedom of choice of providers ( for all my and my wife's maladies/providers) and there are some higher deductible PPOs in my company's family of plans.  It really kinda depends on your current location, quality and number of providers, and what is available  at least for the next insurance cycle.

Next year I turn 65 and officially retire. If I want to sign up on the same company plan I have now it will be alot more costly so I will probably go with Medicare and Tricare only.  I have been counseled that it is better to sign up for the company plan then suspend it.  If you ever need it you can get into it again.  If you refuse it it is gone for good--no opportunity to get it back again. At least for my company's plan.

 

I think the Phoenix area had good Parkinsons support. Don't know about Tuscon, AZ

 

 

 

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One more word before you are officially diagnosed or start medication.  Revisit your life insurance, especially if it is term.  You might want to consider whole life to keep the payments from going up every time you renew.  When our term life came due for renewal (after my diagnosis), we could no longer afford the same amount.  We changed to whole life and bought a much smaller policy for end of life expenses.  It was certainly a reality check.

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