APG-L Archives

Archiver > APG > 2009-05 > 1241991279

From: Chad Milliner <>
Subject: Re: [APG] health insurance, was Re: Genealogical Education
Date: Sun, 10 May 2009 15:34:39 -0600
References: <E1M2ock-0005Vk-9E@elasmtp-curtail.atl.sa.earthlink.net>,<4A069A90.12946.7EDFAC@hhsh.earthlink.net>
In-Reply-To: <4A069A90.12946.7EDFAC@hhsh.earthlink.net>

I looked into this issue extensively several years ago because it was an issue of critical importance to me. At that time, I was doing client research full-time and my wife was working only part time, so neither of us had health insurance offered by an employer. We did have coverage, through a policy offered to the self-employed, but it was expensive and had more holes in it than swiss cheese. Plus, the cost was increasing each year faster than I could increase our income. Ultimately, the issue of affordable quality health insurance is one of the major reasons why I chose to switch from doing full-time client research to working full-time for one of the major corporations involved in the genealogy marketplace.

Anyhow, I learned that health insurers will never offer guaranteed-issue coverage to an association like APG. (Guaranteed-issue means coverage that you can get regardless of your health situation.) This is because APG is an open-access society. Anyone can join just by writing a check and agreeing to abide by the code of ethics. So insurance companies believe that a lot of sick people would join APG just for the health insurance, were it guaranteed-issue.

I was told that several companies offered to provide APG with policies that were not guaranteed-issue, meaning that you had to go through an underwriting process. But such policies are already broadly available (assuming that you are healthy), through organizations such as the National Foundation of the Self-Employed. And as I found, such policies have many exclusions, particularly for policies that are relatively low in price.

One partial solution would be for APG to become a closed society, meaning that you could only join if you were in fact a professional genealogist. (The insurance companies would decide for themselves whether APG membership requirements were sufficiently restrictive to in fact be a society that people could not join simply because they were sick.) But even then, insurance companies were willing to offer coverage to APG only if a large percentage of the membership was covered by the plan. Insurance companies want to have a deep risk pool -- they don't want healthy members opting out of the coverage. As I recall, APG was told that, in essence, insurance coverage costs should be something provided for by the basic membership dues, i.e., members should be forced to pay for insurance coverage whether they needed it or not (because of coverage through a spouse's job). If APG chose to not include the cost in the basic dues, then the costs to those who did accept the health insu!
rance would be much higher -- so high that it was felt by APG that few people would choose to accept it.
From: [] On Behalf Of []
Sent: Sunday, May 10, 2009 8:12 AM
To: Elizabeth Whitaker;
Subject: [APG] health insurance, was Re: Genealogical Education

Elizabeth wrote:

> I enjoy working for myself but had to come to terms several
> years ago with the hard fact that, without a husband with
> family health coverage, I can't afford to do so until I am
> eligible for Medicare -- if Medicare is still a going concern
> in about twenty years.

Harold, who is closer to Medicare than that, replied:

Can some "old hand" enlighten me (us) as to why a search finds almost nothing
on APG's web site about health insurance? Would it not be high on the agenda of
any group seeking among other things to "provide support for those engaged in
genealogical pursuits as a business"?

Is our group just too small, or too dispersed, or otherwise too ill-defined to
be able to cut any better deal than we do as individuals? Or are most full-time
practitioners either over 65 or married to someone who has family coverage?

Harold Henderson
Research and Writing from Northwest Indiana

home office 219/324-2620


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