Might just give up my ex-pat health insurance

Since they are doubling my premiums (even though they promised for over 10 years that premiums won’t go up just if claims are made) I just can’t afford the premium going up from around $6,000/year to $12,000/year. So I could bank the $6,000 I was planning on paying for that rainy day.

For trips to the U.S. it seems I can just get short-term trip insurance that covers everything, including accidents, sickness, personal liability, baggage loss and trip delays. A top-tier plan for legal residents of Japan traveling to the U.S., without exclusions, looks like it’s just about $110 for 15 days.

Otherwise, I guess I’ll could just depend on the Japanese National Health system which I have always had, and pay income-based premiums for.

Here’s an article which explains the benefits. At least nobody here has to worry about selling their home to get the health care they need:


I might also look into a supplemental plan to cover extras, but as this next article explains, that’s really to cover extras, such as  private rooms which national health insurance doesn’t. And provide a daily indemnity. It’s more of a “piece of mind” extra insurance.


The main reason I started the ex-pat insurance back in 2000 was because the U.S. company I worked for paid for it. Now they don’t (or to be more precise, I own my own business now and just can’t afford to pay $12,000 in insurance premiums). So I guess I’ll stick with Japanese National Health insurance, possibly a supplemental plan I can get here, plus travel insurance.

And maybe under Obamacare I can get some better plan at the end of the year. Otherwise I just can’t move back to the U.S., or travel to the U.S. for medical treatment, until I become eligible for Medicare, which is no time soon.

I still feel IMG were clearly were deceptive when they said my premiums would not go up based on claims I made. It’s not credible to imagine that my pool’s expenses suddenly jumped so much. My own claims were just a few thousand dollars – much less than my premium. I filed a complaint with the state insurance commissioner’s office, so I’ll see if they can provide any help. Doubtful, but who knows.

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.

Obamacare, the mandate, the Commerce clause and the single-payer option

I agree with Eugene Robinson’s column. If Obamacare is ruled unconstitutional the only real alternative is a single-payer system. That is clearly constitutional (see Medicare).

But I hope the argument which was made at the end of the 2nd day of Supreme Court deliberations, that health insurance is inseparable from health care and everybody does use health care, is sufficient to convince the course that the insurance mandate falls well within the Commerce clause.