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Hi, advice on H4 visa and CA/Irvine life needed

Hi, advice on H4 visa and CA/Irvine life needed

Old Dec 5th 2010, 6:58 pm
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Default Re: Hi, advice on H4 visa and CA/Irvine life needed

Just to give you an idea re heath care, we have a very good plan through my husbands work, a few months ago I poured some hot liquid from the oven over my arm. One trip to the ER, a quick look by the Doctor, a dressing and some pain killers, total bill $1100.00 of that we had to pay about $400.
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Old Dec 5th 2010, 7:18 pm
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Default Re: Hi, advice on H4 visa and CA/Irvine life needed

Yes - even with good health insurance the out of pocket expenses are still likely to be significantly higher than they would be in the UK.
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Old Dec 5th 2010, 7:32 pm
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Default Re: Hi, advice on H4 visa and CA/Irvine life needed

Wow! That's not cheap! I think the insurance that are offering is 36 dollars a month for the family. Thats supposed to be pretty good apparently ?
But they didn't mention paying a premium?
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Old Dec 5th 2010, 7:37 pm
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Default Re: Hi, advice on H4 visa and CA/Irvine life needed

Originally Posted by Serene1 View Post
Wow! That's not cheap! I think the insurance that are offering is 36 dollars a month for the family. Thats supposed to be pretty good apparently ?
But they didn't mention paying a premium?
Ours is $300 a month, husband, son and me.
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Old Dec 5th 2010, 7:59 pm
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Default Re: Hi, advice on H4 visa and CA/Irvine life needed

Originally Posted by Serene1 View Post
Wow! That's not cheap! I think the insurance that are offering is 36 dollars a month for the family. Thats supposed to be pretty good apparently ?
But they didn't mention paying a premium?
You need to carefully check what cover you will get for that, it sounds too low to be true. Our premium is nearer the $300 mark too for 3 of us.

All healthcare out here only covers a % of the cost, you will always have co-pay and a % of the bill to pay. Usually the lower your monthly premium the higher % you will pay with each trip to the doctor/hospital.
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Old Dec 5th 2010, 8:06 pm
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Default Re: Hi, advice on H4 visa and CA/Irvine life needed

Originally Posted by Serene1 View Post
Wow! That's not cheap! I think the insurance that are offering is 36 dollars a month for the family. Thats supposed to be pretty good apparently ?
But they didn't mention paying a premium?
Generally there are annual deductibles and co-pay. If you see doctor in the network, many plans do not charge a deductible but only a co-pay but if you get treated out of network or have ER treatment, the deductible may apply.

Also many plans have a maximum annual out of pocket expense.

However, over the past 20 years as health care costs have skyrocketed, many employers have plans that increased premium that the employee pays, increased the annual deductible, and/or increased the co-pay.
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Old Dec 5th 2010, 9:14 pm
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Default Re: Hi, advice on H4 visa and CA/Irvine life needed

Another thing that I have assumed is that there is great community presence in the USA. Can anyone comment on whether there is opportunities to meet members of the community other than through kids schools?
Ie. Organised events and functions? It sounds as though people tend to keep to themselves - not much neighbourly - ness ... If there's such a word?
As I wouldn't be working straight away I have a worry that I could become quite isolated?
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Old Dec 5th 2010, 9:35 pm
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Default Re: Hi, advice on H4 visa and CA/Irvine life needed

Originally Posted by Serene1 View Post
Another thing that I have assumed is that there is great community presence in the USA. Can anyone comment on whether there is opportunities to meet members of the community other than through kids schools?
Ie. Organised events and functions? It sounds as though people tend to keep to themselves - not much neighbourly - ness ... If there's such a word?
As I wouldn't be working straight away I have a worry that I could become quite isolated?
The big one around here other than school is Church, and compared to some areas we are not that religious.
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Old Dec 5th 2010, 9:56 pm
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Default Re: Hi, advice on H4 visa and CA/Irvine life needed

Originally Posted by Serene1 View Post
Another thing that I have assumed is that there is great community presence in the USA. Can anyone comment on whether there is opportunities to meet members of the community other than through kids schools?
Ie. Organised events and functions? It sounds as though people tend to keep to themselves - not much neighbourly - ness ... If there's such a word?
As I wouldn't be working straight away I have a worry that I could become quite isolated?
Your neighborhood association meetings and functions is one place to start.

What leads you to that conclusion, that people only keep to themselves?
Or maybe I don't understand what sort of organized events you mean. Very often people will cluster around an area of shared interest.. reading groups, sports groups of various flavors, knitting.. whatever floats your boat, vs people on the same street being together by virtue of geography.
Although, my neighbors and I have several get togethers each year just for our block (15-30 houses).
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Old Dec 5th 2010, 10:07 pm
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Default Re: Hi, advice on H4 visa and CA/Irvine life needed

Originally Posted by Serene1 View Post
Another thing that I have assumed is that there is great community presence in the USA. Can anyone comment on whether there is opportunities to meet members of the community other than through kids schools?
Depends on where you are and what you mean by "community" ...

... if you mean groups of people who share some kind of interest or activity then, yes there are lots of possibilities - if you just mean "the community at large" then it will depend a lot on exactly where you are
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Old Dec 5th 2010, 10:20 pm
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Default Re: Hi, advice on H4 visa and CA/Irvine life needed

Originally Posted by Serene1 View Post
Wow! That's not cheap! I think the insurance that are offering is 36 dollars a month for the family. Thats supposed to be pretty good apparently ?
But they didn't mention paying a premium?
That does sound low - I have a very good health plan and an employer who picks up most of the cost but that works out at approximately $30 per person per pay period (which is 2 weeks) - so covering 4 people under that plan would be around $260 per month.

Typically plans cover some percentage of the cost of treatment plus some additional co-payment per visit. An HMO plan may cover 100% of the cost of treatment but you will be restricted to their network of service providers. Other plans may, for example, cover 90% of the cost of "in network" treatment and, perhaps, "80%" of "out of network" treatment.

Co-payments can be around $10 to $20 per visit. Prescription drug coverage will have yet another set of rules and co-payments.

There is usually an "out-of-pocket" maximum that you could end up paying in any given coverage year and once you reach that then the plan will pick up all of the rest of the costs - there may be separate amounts for "in network" and "out of network" - in my case I think that it is $3000 for each so that, in the worst case, my costs would be capped at a mere $6000 in any one year.

As you can see it is all very complicated and completely unlike anything that you will ever have seen before ...
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Old Dec 5th 2010, 10:56 pm
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Default Re: Hi, advice on H4 visa and CA/Irvine life needed

One other thought - I realize that some of the responses to your questions must seen to be a bit negative - that really isn't the intention - California is a great place to live and there are still lots of opportunities here for people who are well qualified which you and your husband both appear to be.

It is, however, important to go into these things with your eyes open and with a good understanding of how much things are going to cost. (Something that hasn't been mentioned yet are all of the one time costs of relocating, finding accommodation, furnishing it, buying cars etc - all of which can easily set you back several tens of thousands of dollars.)

If your husband can get a guarantee (in writing) that the company will apply for a green card for him after 12 months then it becomes a question of whether or not you can get by for 2 years or so until he gets the green card and you are able to work as well. If you can, and you really want to be in the US, then taking a cut in income for a few years could be worth it.
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Old Dec 5th 2010, 11:33 pm
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Default Re: Hi, advice on H4 visa and CA/Irvine life needed

Originally Posted by Serene1 View Post
Wow! That's not cheap! I think the insurance that are offering is 36 dollars a month for the family. Thats supposed to be pretty good apparently ?
But they didn't mention paying a premium?
$36 per *month* for the family is really cheap, which probably means that the coverage isn't that great (to put it mildly).

My contribution to the employer's health insurance was around that per pay period just for myself for a plan with a $3k deductible, I'm just in the process of adding my wife to this plan and that'll bump it up to about $100 per pay period and a $3k deductible for each one of us. And that's for a decent but not spectacular plan.

I'd check very carefully what sort of coverage you get, keeping in mind that health care bills tend to be one of the most common reasons for middle class bankruptcies over here.

Oh, and I'd have a rethink as to the salary and taking less because your husband was an IT contractor. So was I when I moved over here, and the offers I got were pretty much in the same ballpark than my UK Ltd Co's net profits. I know it's customary in the UK that on a per-day basis a permie gets paid less than a contractor but you should be in the same ballpark after factoring in benefits and the same goes for the US. That said, if your husband was at the upper end of the contractor payscale he might have to take a small pay cut.
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Old Dec 6th 2010, 2:26 am
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Default Re: Hi, advice on H4 visa and CA/Irvine life needed

Originally Posted by Serene1 View Post
Can I ask Sally what you found the hardest about the move? I have considered the obvious - new place , no family or close friends and honestly even though right now I think I'll be ok- theres no way of knowing what it will really be like? Is there other things you didn't realise before you went that made moving tougher than you had thought it would be?
Yes we didn't live near family and I didn't consider myself to be that sociable, so thought I would be fine in a place where I knew nobody. However that actually hit me very hard, I realised I did know a lot of people back home and it was hard to meet people here, eg dropping off kids at school is a drive-through, no chatting at the school gates, most people very self-absorbed and busy with their own lives.

In Solihull we lived really close to everything, suddenly here I seemed to spend the whole time in a car.

The heat can get on your nerves, hard to believe when you're in the West Midlands I know

Depending on your political views, you might find people rather closed-minded and religious.

I took on a lot of guilt over my son (I also have a daughter, who settled better).

Of course there are a lot of nice things here as well, but don't believe everything you hear in England about the US being cheaper or more advanced than us.
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Old Dec 6th 2010, 7:31 pm
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Default Re: Hi, advice on H4 visa and CA/Irvine life needed

Hi, thanks to all for your valuable advice. I need to have a re-look at the health care package that they have offered??!!! It seemed great as i knew insurance was expensive....but i will need to look at the fine print and all these hidden extras that we here in UK dont expect or know about!

Yes, i must admit i was feeling a bit doom and gloom and although i was trying to convince myself that a move would be great for us - this forum wasnt helping
But it's definately making me look at it in a different perspective.
I just got the impression from this and other threads that it was hard to make new friends? But, i suppose it depends what your interested in and what groups you can find and get involved in.

I dont have any idea what what to do. It is going to be tight financially and i know it doesnt make sense to take a drop in income.
I definately cant work as a pharmacist as i dont have US conversion...even when and if the GC comes through eventually?
The only option i have is the E2 route for me to work. I think i have to post visa questions on the visa/immigration page.
Im thinking if we do take the plunge, thats the only way to not struggle financially. But, sometrhing tells me its not going to be easy to convert from the H4, find and buy a bussiness either?

I love California and have wanted to begin a life there for years with the promise of a better quality of life for kids and for us. Beginning to wonder if that would really be the case?
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