Any business owners here?

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Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2007
Total Posts : 4538
   Posted 5/7/2009 2:37 PM (GMT -6)   
Do any of you own your own business or work at a job that doesn't provide you with group health insurance? What do you do without going broke on meds, doctors visits, etc?

I really dislike my current job and am looking into other options, but a lot of them create insurance obstacles. I've looked at doing something like Americorps, but have read they don't cover pre-existing conditions. I would love to get some kind of job outdoors working on an organic farm or at a national park for the summer or something, but all of the jobs I've seen like that don't offer insurance either. I've also always sort of wanted to try opening my own business at some point in my life, but I'm wondering how I could get insurance on my own that would cover my UC...

I know some state's have group insurance they offer to people who can't get it otherwise, but those are usually pretty pricey, too.

Thanks in advance for any insights you can give me.
25 years old; diagnosed March 2007;
Currently: persistant rectal inflammation
Asacol, 4 tabs, 3xday; Rowasa nightly; Viactiv; Metamucil wafers; multivitamin; Primadophilus Reuteri; sublingual allergy drops; Ortho Tri-Cyclen

Forum Moderator

Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 16728
   Posted 5/7/2009 3:08 PM (GMT -6)   

You're right, private insurance is expensive and we will probably get denied. Group insurance has to be through an employer or organization. I know there are some unions for different types of professions that allow you to get their health insurance and dental but they are not cheap. Some are $1,000 a month. Sometimes they won't cover anything until after a year of you being a participant. I personally do not have insurance. I guess you could say I work for myself but I am not technically a business owner. I know if I end up in the hospital it would wipe me out financially and emotionally, I'd almost prefer death tongue That aside, I get everything for free through patient assistance programs and medical trials. There is always the chance that something terrible will happen and i'll end up in an ER somewhere fighting for my life but I can't afford insurance and I was denied by private insurance because of my inflammation and precancerous polyp. What am I supposed to do? Get a miserable job I hate and sit there for 50 years because I need insurance? I have tried and honestly, no one is hiring right now. In some ways it doesn't make sense for me to have insurance. The second I get insurance I won't be elligable for the patient assistance programs. Not only will I have to spend $300 a month on insurance I rarely use but I will have to spend another $300 on medications. Sometimes I think I should just get the cheapo plan with a high deductible but then I think I might not be elligable for some of the programs in which I am currently enrolled.

Check out this program for freelancers: 
I was thinking about giving it a try. You have to meet certain requirements. You have to be able to prove that you have made a certain amount of income per month on projects on a contract basis.

Some states also have programs for people without insurance. Unfortunately I don't meet the requirements in my state.

I hope  find a solution so you can follow your passion and do whatever makes you happy! smilewinkgrin

Diagnosed with proctitis in March 2007 - Treated with Canasa 2x Daily
December 08 - Began treating with Asacol 400mg (9 a day)

Regular Member

Date Joined Sep 2007
Total Posts : 365
   Posted 5/7/2009 3:28 PM (GMT -6)   
I own my own business....we are a corporation and have 5 employees.... I currently offer a group plan through Highmark PPO Blue.... I think that my premium for the entire company with 4x people on it including myself is about $1100 a month... I require my employees to pay 20%, and I pay their other 80%. It is an excellent group plan, having a $250 deductable....most of my meds are covered (except for Lialda) and all of my surgeries and other medical issues have gone through issues...I think that the premium is reasonable....that even includes one of my employees on a family plan.... I would imagine that if I had to get an individual plan and they would actually cover me, it would cost more than this group plan for everyone here....

I think you can have a group plan if you have 2x people on the plan - so if you intend on operating a small business, you will have to then deal with employees, payroll, etc etc... unless your other employee is an officer of the company and you waive workers comp, etc... You may even be able to avoid payroll and just take dividends if it is a corporation....not sure on that....
Stats:35 yr old male. UC for 15 years.
location:North Western PA
DX: Started left-sided, most recent scope shows pancolitis
Medications:20mg pred (as of 4/27/09), 12x pills Asacol per day, 1mg Atavan per day (anxiety) when needed, 20mg paxil per day, Super-omega fish oil pills - 1x per day, Flax oil pills - 1x am, 1x pm, Culturelle probiotics - 2x am, 1x pm, Multivitamin.
Surgeries: Recent Endonasal brain surgery to remove non-cancerous hormone producing tumor on pituitary gland (and I am still more afraid of my UC!!)

"I poop in the woods because I can"

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 610
   Posted 5/7/2009 3:44 PM (GMT -6)   
In my state, there is an insurer of last resort who must take all applicants.  I think -- think -- there is an upper limit to the amount this company can charge, but I imagine the premiums are still pretty high. 
When I was self-employed, group insurance required five employees, which wasn't feasible for me.  Too, I imagine getting the funds to start a business in this economic climate is going to be difficult.
For the longest time, I had an medical insurance policy with a fair deductible which kept the monthly premiums reasonable.  But I went into it in good health, so the premiums could not be raised when I was diagnosed with UC.
If I were 25 and in fairly good health and really wanted to follow my dream, I might consider winging it without insurance.  (And maybe doing something you love will help you feel better, too.)  Especially if you think you can get a job with group insurance at some time in the future, you've got your whole life to be chained to a desk.
Every time I added up premiums and co-pays and deductibles I was paying more for the insurance than the insurance was paying the doctors -- even with UC.  The scripts are another matter.  Have you considered sulphasalazine?  It's probably about $50 a month.
With that in mind, have you condsidered a catastrophic policy which should be fairly inexpensive but would only cover you in a serious emergency? 
Have you seen this?

Rio in Maryland
Veteran Member

Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 891
   Posted 5/7/2009 4:47 PM (GMT -6)   

If you start your own business, initially you could also take on a part-time job at a place that offers health benefits to part-time workers. I know that Starbucks used to offer heavily discounted health benefits to employees who worked at least 20 hours a week. And then once your own business is doing well enough, you could look at getting private insurance.
Rio, 33 year old male. Diagnosed with UC in 2006
100 mg Azathioprine (stopped), 4800 mg Asacol
VSL#3 x 3 times a day, Metamucil wafers
Vitamin E enema or Asacol enema occasionally
Spinach & sunflower seed diet / Juicing spinach and carrots

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2007
Total Posts : 4538
   Posted 5/7/2009 4:56 PM (GMT -6)   
Thanks for all the insights!

I don't really know what I want to do, but I know I don't want to continue doing what I have been for the past 2 1/2 years. I am not thinking about opening a business anytime soon (maybe not ever), but has been something in the back of my mind for a while and I was just curious how people with medical conditions dealt with it, especially if there are only a few employees.

seconder - Yes, I have seen the WWOOF Web site and would love to do something like that! Have you done that before? I have thought about sulphasalazine, but haven't tried it. Every time I even go without my Rowasa for a few weeks, I start flaring worse again. I agree though that I would probably (hopefully) feel better if I was doing something I liked. Sorry to complain because I know I'm lucky to have a job right now.

If I went without insurance now and got a job later that offered group insurance, wouldn't they have the option of not covering me since I had a "lapse in coverage?"

So, if I started a business and only had 1 or 2 employees other than myself, I could get a group insurance plan and they would most likely cover my UC since it is a group plan?
25 years old; diagnosed March 2007;
Currently: persistant rectal inflammation
Asacol, 4 tabs, 3xday; Rowasa nightly; Viactiv; Metamucil wafers; multivitamin; Primadophilus Reuteri; sublingual allergy drops; Ortho Tri-Cyclen

Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2006
Total Posts : 619
   Posted 5/7/2009 6:10 PM (GMT -6)   
I have my own business and when I was starting it, I was the one who's company had insurance so it was my job, not my husband's that we had insurance from. So with me starting my business we needed coverage. This was before my diagnosis. We discovered we could be part of a group by joining he National Association of Self Employed (NASE). We had the policy all picked out and had even made a payment on it (it was reasonable, but I don't recall the amount now, five years later). Then my husband's company all of a sudden offered insurance and it was the same insurer we had with my company so we decided to go with his employer's plan.

The whole thing is to get into a group (such as NASE or some other professional group) and get your policy while you are still covered at your current job. As long as you remain in a group and there is no lapse in coverage you SHOULD be able to get coverage (I am not an authority on this, check with a professional!).

I hope you can figure out how to follow your dreams and still be insured, it sucks to be trapped in a job cuz of insurance concerns.

47 yr old female, dx'd UC April 27, 2006; mild arthritis in lower back, dx'd May 2008; Osteopenia dx'd 6/08 Finally achieved remission mid October 2008!!

15 Remicade infusions, current scheduled every 6 weeks: 1st: 7/21/07; most recent: 4/25/09; Current meds & supplements: Lialda, 4 tabs in the morning; Xanax as needed (rarely); Rowesa and/or Canasa; multivitamin w/folate; Culturelle; Fish oil capsules, calcium chews and/or Tums; Vitamin D;

Past meds: Prednisone 4/06-4/08; Entocourt EC; Asacol; Colazal; Venofer (iron) injections Dec '07; Imuran (extremely bad reaction 2/07); Protonix; Lexipro

Regular Member

Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 460
   Posted 5/8/2009 7:36 AM (GMT -6)   
My husband owns his own company, we have no employees. We have Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance, we pay $470 for our family. The good thing about it is since he's self-employed we can write off 80% of our premiums every year on our taxes.
Female, Age 38
Diagnosed w/c.diff 7/02 when pregnant w/1st and only child during 2nd trimester(wasn't on antibiotics)
C.diff flare within weeks of delivering baby 1/03, Diagnosed with UC 2/03
Current Meds:
Lialda, 6MP
Ferrex Forte
Acidophillus, Sacchromyces Boulardii, Oil of Oregano

Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2005
Total Posts : 4219
   Posted 5/8/2009 8:39 AM (GMT -6)   
If you are super flexible (and it looks like you are b/c you looked at americorps) research different states and move to the one w/ the most lenient laws. For example, in Maine, you can't be denied insurance b/c you have a pre-existing condition. I'm not sure if they have to cover that condition or not. In Mass everyone is required to have insurance so there are a ton of plans to choose from. Good luck!
27 Year old married female law student (last year!!). Diagnosed w/ CD 4 years ago, IBS for over 10 years before that, which was probably the CD. I am sort of lactose intollerant too but can handle anything cultured and do well w/ lactose pills and lactaid. For crohns I am currently on Pentasa 4 pills/4x day and hysociamine prn. I also have bad acid reflux and have been on PPI's since age 13. I have been through prilosec, prevacid, and nexium. Currently I am on Protonix in the morning and Zantac at night.  I take xanax prn for situational anxiety (aka no easy bathroom access). 

Old Hat
Veteran Member

Date Joined Feb 2007
Total Posts : 5190
   Posted 5/8/2009 11:04 AM (GMT -6)   
Interesting suggestion by Fitzy: you might be culturally happier in Mass. or Maine, especially if living along the coast. Winter weather would still be a problem, though. (I write this remembering your past comments re suffering from the Midwest cold.) / Old Hat (30 yrs with left-sided UC ... [etc.])

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2007
Total Posts : 4538
   Posted 5/8/2009 3:14 PM (GMT -6)   
Yeah, Maine might be cool. I really want to move to Colorado though. But I am very flexible. I really dislike the Midwest. The town I live in is nice and very pretty, but there are no jobs here. I've lived in Midwestern states my whole life and I'm really sick of it.
25 years old; diagnosed March 2007;
Currently: persistant rectal inflammation
Asacol, 4 tabs, 3xday; Rowasa nightly; Viactiv; Metamucil wafers; multivitamin; Primadophilus Reuteri; sublingual allergy drops; Ortho Tri-Cyclen

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