Insurance from California high risk pool

I lost my job last week and am now considering going back to school. COBRA lasts 18 months … so I’m looking at what my options are if I run out of COBRA before I can find another job with coverage.

Does anyone here have experience with the California Major Medical Insurance Program (MrMIP)? I’ve been all over their website and it looks like the coverage I would get from MrMIP is actually better and cheaper than the COBRA benefit available through my former employer (the group coverage was pretty bad to begin with, but that’s another story).

I have some questions I couldn’t find answers for on the MrMIP website:

  1. The website mentioned there’s sometimes a waiting list. Is there any advantage to applying now, 18 months before I might actually need the coverage? I wonder how often they have a waiting list, and how long I might have to wait.

  2. Is there a limit on how long you can remain enrolled in the program? Is it meant to be used as an emergency solution for people between jobs, or can you stay in it indefinitely?

  3. Does anyone know of any better, more affordable options available in California? I was diagnosed with T2 diabetes in 2007. I’m 44 now and my health since diagnosis has been great – I’ve been able to keep my A1C between 5.0 and 6.3 with no meds except a $4 prescription for Metformin. Except for being diabetic I’m in great health. As I understand it though, that doesn’t really matter when it comes to purchasing health insurance – all they need to know is that I’ve been diagnosed T2, and they’ll automatically turn me down.

Is that true, in your experience? I’m basically planning on always having to work for some company that offers insurance … but it’d be great to find some other options. The high risk pool could work for awhile, but it sure gets expensive as you get older.

Anyway – I’d love to hear from anyone who’s familiar with the MrMIP program. Thanks!

I don’t know about California but in Texas if you are eligible for COBRA you have to take that first, then when it runs out you can join the high risk pool. The high risk pool here would only be slightly cheaper than COBRA. I am a T2, diagnosed 4 yrs ago, never hospitalized, on oral meds but can not get private insurance so our options were a new job with benefits, high risk pool, or Cinergy Health Plan. Until we were able to get insurance through work we went with Cinergy - it’s was less than 1/2 what Cobra was and the pool would have been.

I’ve always depended on employer health insurance for my Type 1 diabetes needs, and keep disgustingly healthy otherwise. I HAVE heard from a fellow I just met that he can sign up Type 2 diabetics, at least those taking pills and no insulin, for health insurance at a reasonable cost.

Mind you I’m in Ohio, so if this could apply to California or other states I can’t be sure. He IS an independent insurance broker, so presumably his policies could be effective anywhere. He’s also a Type 2 diabetic BTW.