Medical Insurance - CNY

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by agreatheight, Feb 28, 2006.

  1. I am planning a move to CNY (likely outside of Syracuse) and I'm wondering about medical insurance. I currently run a multimedia business Phoenix AZ - I do all kinds of projects, from websites, to print work, to studio recording, to videography & DVD production, etc. Currently my wife is working full time so we use her benefits. When we move we would like to start a family and have her not work for a few years. So I am looking to get benefits for us, but all of the info I can find give insanely high rates ($1000+/mo, 3x what they are here in AZ) for non-group / individual insurance plans.

    Does anyone know anything about this? Are there loop holes for musicians? For graphic designers? Any groups to join? What about for students? Any ideas?

  2. MJ5150

    MJ5150 Terrific Twister

    Apr 12, 2001
    Lacey, WA
    Yep, nope, nope, yep, maybe, yep.

    Find employment with a large company that will provide you group coverage just like you're doing now. That would be the group to join. :D

    Students can often get cheaper insurance through the school they attend, but that varies everywhere. Typically the coverage is only for the student as well.

    Many times you can find small business organizations you can join that provide you group buying power on things like insurance. Call the chamber of commerce for the city you want to live in, and ask them what groups are there. Search the internet for these groups as well.

  3. I'll get a 'real job' if I must but I'm wondering how small businesses can afford to operate in CNY with insurance so expensive...

    Any other ideas?
  4. I'm in a similar business myself and just to the west of there. NY is not very friendly when it comes to small business. I've been on my own for 4 years now and I still can't afford any insurance. I don't mean to say it can't be done but NY is not great for any help whatsoever. Oh and forget getting any help being a musician, not a lot of that type of art support other than gigs.
    But if you find something let me know too. :)
    Also I hope the climate change won't be too shocking on your systems.
    Good luck,
  5. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD

    Feb 20, 2005
    Seweracuse, NY

    CNY is NOT the place to do a start-up and the insurance in the area isn't very progressive. There's decent coverage for children and that's about it.

    Today's paper had a front page article on the CNY cities:

    "Syracuse is among New York's most fiscally imperiled cities, and other Central New York cities aren't doing much better, according to a new report from state Comptroller Alan Hevesi.

    Syracuse's spending is outpacing its ability to raise tax revenues, and the city is heavily reliant on the state and federal governments to keep it going, Hevesi's report said.

    That puts it on a par with Buffalo, Niagara Falls and Yonkers. "
  6. rjny36


    Jan 29, 2006
    Syracuse, NY
    Syracuse and its economy is doing rather poorly, as these guys mentioned above. But, on the plus side, if you do move here, you may or may not eventually get the chance to live near the largest shopping mall in the known universe... if they build it.

    I get a kick out of driving by the Carousel mall (the already-large one they're thinking about expanding into an unreasonable monster), and seeing the steel yard that's been set up for a long while, now, and the big sign that says, "You see steel... We see jobs!"

    All I see is rust.
  7. Minger


    Mar 15, 2004
    Rochester, NY
    Wow, and I was going to go to Syracuse tonight because Mae was playing there...Never thought Syracuse was that bad.

    Then again, since I'm only 17, I know nothing of insurance and whatnot, and I'm in Rochester...

    Just another clueless teenager is I.

    But...have fun with the climate though. I know its an easier transition for people from cooler climates to warmer instead of the othe rway around...
  8. Well, my dilema is I am selling my house in Phoenix and I'm looking to make a nice profit, between $80,000 and $100,000. Houses in the CNY area, especially outside of Syracuse, are dirt cheap - I can likely buy in cash, no mortgage! I have to move to NY because my folks are their and they having some health issues; unfortunately they need to stay in NY due to their insurance.

    Are there better place to move in CNY or upsate? I grew up on Long Island and have no interest in moving back - want something much quieter, more rural. Weather is no issue. As for the insurance, well I guess I can get a full time thing if I have to to get coverage for the family (and can do my busniess on the side). I have a BA degree in graphic design - any ideas where a good place to move might be?

  9. The group I belong to for health insurance purposes is the National Association for the Self-Employed -

    You might check them and out and get a quote.
  10. zac2944

    zac2944 Supporting Member

    Dec 28, 2004
    Rochester, NY
  11. Thor

    Thor Moderator Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Here in RI I used an outfit called 'Good Neighbor Alliance'.

    Generally their function to take individuals and turn them into
    a group and do the administration for a fee. You will likely find something similar in CNY.

    Blue Cross only has open enrollment once a year up here.

    Some companies provide temporary health policies to bridge the gap. Check with an agent.

    The areas around New Paltz aand Kingston are pretty decent.
    I grew up in Westchester, I hear ya loud and clear. A lot of
    my friends have moved North, Mahopac, Cold Spring, Somers,
    Arlington, Rhinebeck. All pretty rural, but pricier that Seweracuse for sure.
  12. Any of you CNY types know about Auburn, NY? It's about 30 mile southwest of Syracuse and they are practically giving homes away! Any info / opinions?

  13. Thanks Zac, good info!

    I appreciate all of the info so far - it seems like there may be a few options for us! Looking into it now, will post back!
  14. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD

    Feb 20, 2005
    Seweracuse, NY

    I hate to be the guy who keeps sayin' the bad stuff...and there are some really nice parts of CNY...but Auburn is another long since faded once 'industrial' town. For a long time, it was known as a town where there was a healthy amount of white supremicist activity and lots o' skins. These days they're known for their annual 'crow hunt' to get rid of the large population of pesky birds.

    Yes, it's cheap to live here. Yes, you'll be able to buy a house for a fraction of the price you'd get a place in another area. But it's hard to find good jobs in the area (no real tech market, industry (GM, Carrier, etc.) have moved out of town). The largest employer in the Syracuse area is Syracuse University (it happens to be my meal ticket). So, you'll pay less to live in the area, but you'll also have a lower pay scale than in most cities.

    The comments about the mall are well placed. It's become the social/cultural center of Syracuse. :( Except you'll have to be careful there too, as there's fair amount of gang activity happening there. There's actually a 'youth curfew' at the mall due to the problems, and Thurs-Sun teens are not allowed at the mall without a parent. The BIG deal is that Pyramid development really wants to expand the mall into a HUGE place that they're hoping will make it a 'destination' attraction. Pyramid is famous for defaulting on its contracts and payments and is trying to leverage all sorts of special tax exemptions etc., out of the city (read:no help for the local city taxes/services problems). I know some of the original subcontractors for the mall right now are still waiting for payment (about 15 years). Beyond that, the locals are so hungry for jobs they're dying for part time minimum wage service sector jobs that the mall will provide.

    I personally would look to Ithaca. Smaller town, more high teck jobs and opportunities for skilled employment, better climate and...lots of beautiful lakes. Not to mention more cutural pursuits and a pretty decent wine production area surrounding the city. You'd be about an hour from Syracuse and an hour from Rochester. Good music scene there too.
  15. I'd have to echo the statements of BurningSkies, dead on description of Auburn. And yeah Ithaca might be a good match with your skills, and it is a nice area for sure when you get a little outside the city. Lot's of country all around and after all "Ithaca is Gorges". LOL
    Good luck on your decision,
  16. Hey, I appreciate all of the feedback, good and bad. We still have a lot to work out so all input is great...

    The wife and I will be headed out to CNY in the middle of April for a week - what areas should be we into? I think we will definitely hit the greater areas of Syracuse, Ithaca, Roschester & Binghampton. Are there any other cities or smaller outlying areas to look at? Any hidden gems? We are hoping to find a nice home for about $80K, but could go higher, maybe up to $100K. Any ideas?

  17. rjny36


    Jan 29, 2006
    Syracuse, NY
    Well, CNY is a pretty big place. Here's my take on the major spots in the area.

    Syracuse is the very center of CNY... and it has many problems, as everybody's saying. Ithaca's better for your situation than Syracuse. Rochester is typically considered Western NY, and it's better off than Syracuse. Rochester still has Kodak and Xerox as major employers. Binghamton is considered the Southern Tier... it's not too bad, IMO. Between Binghamton, Johnson City, Vestal, and Endicott (these four little cities combine into a medium-sized city), there may be some decent jobs in your field. I'm not sure of any major employers there, though. North of Syracuse is Watertown, and it has a major military base.

    East of Syracuse is Utica... and, well... the joke among many is "Syracuse: at least it's not Utica!"

    I don't know how Albany is these days. Of all the cities in Upstate New York, I have spent the least amount of time there... but last I was there, it didn't appear to be in much better shape than anyplace else.

    Upstate NY has beautiful hills, lakes, lush countryside, and as has been mentioned, great wine... but not a tremendous amount of economic opportunity.

    And to expand on this very important point, it should be noted that my father has four (!) college degrees, in engineering, chemistry, mathematics, and business... spent the last two years working at Media Play ... a music/movies/book store... as a salesfloor worker/cashier... and even they have gone out of business. :(
  18. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD

    Feb 20, 2005
    Seweracuse, NY
    I agree that the area CAN be very beautiful. The hills, fields and rural area outside of the built up areas are great. You're an hour or so from the great lakes, and the finger lakes are cool too. I always felt that God was playing a great joke on the students here. They come in around Sept. and the weather gets awful...and remains so until they leave @ the end of April. Then June, July and August are beautiful.... There's good mountain biking, outdoors activities etc., too.

    If you're dead set on the Syracuse area, I'd look at Cazenovia and Skaneateles as 'nice' places to live...Their both towns on lakes with nice village centers and have the victorian houses that speak of the true era of development in CNY (the area was around the Erie canal). The 'good' areas of greater Syracuse (ie. 'better off suburbs') are Fayetteville, Manlius, Jamesville...

    An option might be a town it's nothing too special, but is about half an hour from Syracuse and 20 minutes from Ithaca. You'd be able to find a nice place there and be within a good drive to either city.
  19. Thor

    Thor Moderator Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    I don't think 80k will get you into a house anywhere
    nowadays. Tell me I am wrong, I hope.
  20. zac2944

    zac2944 Supporting Member

    Dec 28, 2004
    Rochester, NY
    I grew up in Albany, lived in Rochester for 8 years, and plan to move back to upstate NY in a few years. My lady is from Rochester and her family lives there and in Utica. My family lives in Albany and Syracuse. We are moving back to be near our families. We both know upstate pretty well, and when deciding where to live it was a "no-brainer". Albany.

    When I say Albany I actually mean the Capital District, which includes Albany, Troy, Schenectady, and Saratoga. Syracuse and Utica are pretty much dead. Binghamton is in the middle of no where. Rochester is ok, but it is dying.

    Like most upstate cities, Rochester is not what it used to be. Kodak has basically left the city. When cameras changed from film to digital, Kodak in Rochester went down. Layoff after layoff they get smaller and smaller. Xerox in Rochester is only a fraction of what they used to be. Veleo is in the process of shutting down. Bausch & Lomb is the only large company that is doing ok. When all these big companies shut down, all the smaller support companies suffer too. I'm an engineer. It took me a year to find an engineering job in Rochester. It took me two weeks to get one in Boston that pays twice what I made in NY. Literally twice the amount! There are still jobs in Rochester, but there are not many of them and they don't pay that well.

    I personally like Ithaca a lot. I don't know what the job situation is down there, but it is a neat city.

    Compared to Buffalo, Rochester, and Syracuse, Albany seems to be doing a little better. There are more jobs there, and they pay better. The cost of living is slightly more in the Albany area, but a good job will offset the increase in cost. Another nice thing about the area, at least for me, is its proximity to everything in the North East. You're 3 hours from Boston and NYC, an hour from the Adirondacks, and close to the Berkshires and Green Mountains in VT. (I like to play in the snow)

    Here's some data I got from the Department of Labor Statistics (

    Location / Unemployment Rate / Median Annual Income
    NY State / 5.0% / $43.5k
    Albany / 3.9% / $38.4k
    Binghamton / 5.0% / $34.0k
    Buffalo / 5.3% / $35.6k
    Ithaca / 3.1% / N/A
    Rochester / 4.8% / $36.7k
    Syracuse / 4.9% / $35.8k
    Utica / 4.9% / $33.2k