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Affordable Health Insurance Ny Question & Answers

2013 September 5
by Sarah Fields

Mark asks…

Would the Jehovah Witnesses consider setting up a Retirement & Health Insurance Plan for Pioneers?

I have read that the Jehovah Witnesses leadership body, the Watchtower Bible & Tract Society (WBTS), has sold real estate in Brooklyn, NY worth between $500 million and $1.0 billion over the past 20 years.

My Aunt has served as a Regular Pioneer for the Jehovah Witnesses for the past 42 years. She has never had a full-time job, and she has never paid into the Social Security and Medicare system in the USA. When she was younger, she was convinced that she would not grow old in this world system, and the new world would come before the generation of 1914 passed away.

She is currently 66 years old and in poor health. She never married and does not have any children. Unfortunately, she is not eligible to receive much or any Social Security benefits, and because of her age and poor health, she can not get an affordable health insurance policy. Her family (2 siblings and their children) are not in a financial position to take care of her. In addition, her sibling made choices and decisions a long time ago (when they were young) to work full-time to support themselves and their families.

Would the Jehovah Witnesses consider setting up a retirement and health insurance plan for full-time Regular Pioneers who have severed for at least 10+ years? It seems like the fair and humane thing to do considering that these people (mostly women) have devoted most, and in some cases all, of their lives working on behalf of the WBTS.

I was told that the WBTS does offer some type of support and safety-net for Circuit Overseer & District Overseers once they get older, or are in poor health. But, all of these people are men. Most of the Regular Pioneers appear to be women, and there is not any kind of safety-net for them.
Thanks Zarnev & Lucy for your answers.
Thanks Zarnev & Lucy for your answers.

Sarah Fields answers:

This question does disturb me, since, my brother who died in 2005, was a Jehovah Witness. They had refused to attend our service due to their religious belief, and thus we had to attend theirs as our final respect to my brother.

But, my brother prior to joining, he had served the US army, worked and qualified for disability and received SSDI prior to his death.

Granted, this organization, like others, have very strong beliefs, and I don’t want to get into the religion.

I did a google search on complaints and lawsuits for the Jehovah Witness, and just like the Catholic organization, there have been many for sexual abuse.


Suggest you call Medicare and see if in fact she does not qualify. It only states that if she is over 65 and has been living in the US for over 5 years, which she has, she would have to purchase both Medicare part A and B. But,,,,,,,,,,there could be exceptions, since never paid.

Social Security, none.


Another option is to contact the ACLU. They pursue cases of wrongs, or where no other lawyer will touch. But in the past they have defended Jehovah Witness based on their religion, and now with this problem of many people who relied on the system that are older and w/out a safety net, is a different “beast” so to speak.

Good luck

Robert asks…

What are some affordable health insurance plans?

Besides medicare, what are some cheap, affordable insurance plans in the hudson valley, ny?

Sarah Fields answers:

None — Insurance isn’t cheap.

If you can qualify, Medicare and Medicaid would be the cheapest. If children are involved, look into CHIP.

Otherwise, shop around. Your best insurance option is probably going to be to get a high deductable, “catistrophic” coverage. (with a $5k or $10k deductable). That will cover you if the worst happens, and effectively give you their contracted rate on routine services. (You can then negotiate with some providers). UHC, Blue Cross, and Aetna are the major insurance companies, and have such policies. A local plan that accesses a major network (like UHC, PHCS, Beechstreet) may be a more affordable alternative.

I would not recommend the health coverage (discount card) suggested above. It may be helpful for dental /vision. But most healthcare providers have absolutely no obligation to take them, and will not. Unlike insurance, these plans don’t have a contract with the provider — they are basically appealing to the good nature of the provider. You can actually negotiate a better rate yourself by just asking the provider, and telling them you are paying for the visit yourself. I know hospitals that give as much as a 40% discount to self pay patients. They want your business, and this is still a better rate than they pay to many insurance companies.

Thomas asks…

HELP -My employer is considering dropping group health insurance for all employees?

When I was hired 2 years ago health insurance was specifically included in my compensation offer, now they are dropping the insurance for the entire company (or so they say.) I have a family and we can not afford to get private health insurance – what can I do? Do I have recourse against my employer if they cut out part of my compensation?

Sarah Fields answers:

Welcome to America, where free enterprise health insurance costs an average of $13,000/year per family. God forbid we should have free, universal health care like the Canadians, the British, the French, or the Cubans–all of whom have longer life expectancies than Americans. (We are 37th in the world, just after Costa Rica.)

Your boss is showing the way of the future. Our group premiums went up 23% in Jan. GROUP! They are now $1300/month for 2 people. Small businesses simply can’t afford to absorb these kinds of costs anymore. You can change jobs, or you can call your state insurance commissioner and see if your state has any laws against changing coverage as long as you’re employed. Unless you live in NY or Calif., I suspect not. Welcome to the real world, and think about supporting health insurance reform so everyone can have affordable health insurance.

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