Health insurance shock

Has anybody ever taken an ex-pat health insurance policy with International Medical Group (IMG)?  They cover everything my Japanese national health insurance doesn’t cover, including all medication and private hospital room stays, etc., with just a $500 annual deductible.

I just got my renewal notice and they want to nearly DOUBLE my premium from $5,950 to $11,777! Until now, increases have almost always been in the single percentage digits each year.

For more than a decade they have promised that renewal premiums will never depend on previous claims made. Last year I made my first claim ever – and my total claims to date have been much less than even one year’s premium.

I don’t know what to do now. Since I was hospitalized last year I now have a pre-existing condition so I can’t change to another policy. The only alternative they are offering me is an expensive plan with a $5,000 deductible – basically the same thing.

I feel like I’ve been cheated for over a decade – paying in more than $60,000 in premiums so far, now to be treated like this. It seems like a complete abrogation of what they promised.

I’ve sent off letters to the insurance agent and the insurance commissioners in the agent’s state and the insurance company’s state.

I had been considering not renewing my policy anyway, since my medical bills are limited somewhat by law here, and I could just save the money and be better off in the long run, probably. Mostly I had that policy in case I needed coverage in the U.S. or even a huger disaster – like needing a heart transplant.

Even with a full week’s stay in a private room last year, I’m still in the red from my old premiums (i.e. my total medical bills were much less than the previous insurance premium).

But if I don’t have extra coverage it leaves me open to… I don’t know what. I won’t be able to get treatment in the U.S. if I need to. I probably can’t return to the U.S. to live until I’m eligible for Medicare. Unless Obamacare kicks in an affordable way next year.

This renewal notice was a real blow to me. Extremely stressful and depressing.

What do people do? What can people do? I’ve been paying in good faith, at great expense, just like I’m supposed to for over a decade, and then to be treated like this. I’ve been paying my way the whole time, not leeching off of anybody.

I’m shocked and depressed and it’s the worst “birthday present” I’ve ever received.


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