Author Topic: Temporary Health Insurance During Work Hiatus  (Read 5123 times)

Libertea

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Temporary Health Insurance During Work Hiatus
« on: August 13, 2016, 11:01:30 PM »
In this age of ever-growing big nanny government and Obamacare, I was hoping one of you could help point me in the right direction regarding finding temporary health insurance while I'm in between jobs.  Basically, I will be covered by my current job until I quit in March.  I will then be out of the country for two months in April and May, and I will also need some kind of plan for the month of June until my work coverage from the new job starts in July. 

Info about me:
- 41F, US citizen, single, no kids, no pre-existing medical conditions, not on any meds
- primarily need/want catastrophic health coverage and otherwise want to pay the minimum amount necessary for the minimum amount of insurance I can get away with buying

My questions are these:
1) Is there some kind of catastrophic short term plan that can be used by international travelers during a two month stint abroad?
2) What about the last month back in the US before job coverage kicks in?

CarrieWillard

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Re: Temporary Health Insurance During Work Hiatus
« Reply #1 on: August 14, 2016, 05:51:31 AM »
I can't answer your questions, but hubby and I use temporary health insurance through United. It renews every 3 months. It was recommended to us by an insurance ELP we found through Dave Ramsey's website. Obamacare made our premiums out of control, over $600/month just for the two of us with an insane deductible. With this, we pay $225 a month with a $10K deductible.

Hth

Bliss

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Re: Temporary Health Insurance During Work Hiatus
« Reply #2 on: August 14, 2016, 06:18:07 AM »
I used both of these companies for health insurance over the past few years while living abroad and then transitioning back to the US.

1) Travel insurance policy:  http://www.imglobal.com/en/index.aspx
2) https://www.uhc.com/individual-and-family/short-term-health-insurance

Libertea

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Re: Temporary Health Insurance During Work Hiatus
« Reply #3 on: August 14, 2016, 02:31:16 PM »
Sincere thanks for the leads, guys.  I'll check them out.

Libertea

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Re: Temporary Health Insurance During Work Hiatus
« Reply #4 on: November 29, 2016, 06:30:52 AM »
2) https://www.uhc.com/individual-and-family/short-term-health-insurance
As an update in case anyone else is also trying to navigate the confusing cluster that is Obamacare while between jobs, here are some salient points:

1) the above link ST HD plan does NOT meet Obamacare guidelines to avoid the penalty fee.  Why, I have no idea.  But the brochure explicitly states this fact on the very first page, which means the insurance is not completely useful for my purposes (since one of the main reasons I'd be wanting it is to avoid the penalty).
https://www.uhone.com/FileHandler.ashx?FileName=43853C1-G201605.pdf

2) you can go a maximum of 2 months and 29 days consecutively without insurance in a calendar year without triggering the penalty.  The exclusion code for this is B.
http://obamacarefacts.com/obamacare-coverage-gap-exemption/

3) this doesn't apply in my case since I'll only be out of the country for eight weeks, but for those who are primarily living abroad (47+ weeks out of the year), you are exempted from buying insurance.

I will have a five month total gap in coverage.  What I actually want during that time is catastrophic coverage only.  I also want to avoid paying the penalty fees for not having "approved" coverage.  Still need to figure out if retroactive COBRA would avoid the penalty and if international insurance for my trip abroad would also avoid the penalty.  If so, I am looking at using COBRA for the first two months (but not actually paying for it or using it unless I have a catastrophic event), then paying for travel insurance while I'm abroad in case of a catastrophic event, then going bare one month (likely actually using that non-ACA approved ST coverage linked above in case of a catastrophic event) for the last month until my new employer insurance kicks in.  I would claim the ST exception (B) for the last month.  Will post further once I talk to my benefits dept about COBRA coverage....would love to hear about anyone else's jerry rigging of the system as well.

Spork

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Re: Temporary Health Insurance During Work Hiatus
« Reply #5 on: November 29, 2016, 06:51:22 AM »
What about just going through the ACA exchange via healthcare.gov?  If you have a change in status, you can sign up mid year. (I.e., you no longer have a job in March).  When your new job health care kicks in, you again have a status change and you cancel.

use2betrix

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Re: Temporary Health Insurance During Work Hiatus
« Reply #6 on: November 29, 2016, 04:38:27 PM »
I am doing something similar right now.

I am spending my first two months unemployed abroad, maybe longer. You have 60 days after being unemployed to elect coverage for COBRA, and its retroactive if needed. Won't help you overseas likely, but to keep in mind for coverage for an emergency if you return within 60 days.

For my overseas travel (currently in thailand) my wife and I picked up a world travelers insurance through world nomads. We got their upgraded plan which was $460 for two people for two months.

High deductible plans in the US for catastrophic incidents no longer meet ACA requirements, period. So if you want to meet that guideline, you'll need a higher level plan.

Libertea

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Re: Temporary Health Insurance During Work Hiatus
« Reply #7 on: November 30, 2016, 06:29:40 AM »
Yeah, after talking with a health care plan benefits person, I definitely got that.  So here is what I'm now planning to do.

For Feb/March/first week of April, I will have an official, shiny, Obama-sanctioned plan.  The ones I was looking at through my current workplace insurer run like $300/month, but I may be able to find cheaper on the exchange website.  For rest of April/May, I will have an international catastrophic plan, and who cares if it's approved.  For June, I will have a US plan, and who cares if it's approved. 

So basically I can then claim the B exception on my 2017 taxes since I'll not be covered by an approved plan for less than three months (part of April and all of May/June, with new employer coverage starting July 1).

The other thing is, I can't register now, because I haven't actually left my job or moved yet.  If I want sanctioned coverage to start February 1, I think I need to complete my application in January or after December 15 at the earliest.  Right now, the Obamacare website won't let me input future moves/job changes that will occur after January 28....

Spork

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Re: Temporary Health Insurance During Work Hiatus
« Reply #8 on: November 30, 2016, 08:58:04 AM »
FWIW:  If you have coverage by some plan for part of April, you likely have coverage for ALL of April.  After ACA, most plans seem to all officially start/end on the month boundaries.  Don't believe me without double checking, but if you're working April 1, you likely have coverage until April 30.

Libertea

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Re: Temporary Health Insurance During Work Hiatus
« Reply #9 on: November 30, 2016, 09:40:45 AM »
FWIW:  If you have coverage by some plan for part of April, you likely have coverage for ALL of April.  After ACA, most plans seem to all officially start/end on the month boundaries.  Don't believe me without double checking, but if you're working April 1, you likely have coverage until April 30.
I'm not.  I'm covered by my current employer through January 31 since I'm leaving in January.  That would be the Obamacare plan covering me in Feb/March/first week of April.  If I have to pay for the entire month of April even though I'll be out of the country for most of it, that will be supremely annoying....

honeybbq

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Re: Temporary Health Insurance During Work Hiatus
« Reply #10 on: November 30, 2016, 10:55:44 AM »
Can you use COBRA?

Libertea

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Re: Temporary Health Insurance During Work Hiatus
« Reply #11 on: November 30, 2016, 03:14:25 PM »
Can you use COBRA?
I could for the first two months, but to avoid the penalty, I need to have Obama-approved coverage for at least two months since I'm going to be between jobs for five months.

Libertea

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Re: Temporary Health Insurance During Work Hiatus
« Reply #12 on: January 04, 2017, 09:08:42 AM »
Updating in case anyone else is trying to navigate the morass of Obamacare with an unconventional work schedule including a hiatus > 3 months:

  • It is indeed possible to enroll in Obamacare for part of a month.  So in my case, I'm doing it for all of February, all of March, and the first week of April.  In order to stop coverage partway through the month, you must call at least two weeks in advance to cancel your coverage.  The marketplace person recommended that I call in early March to cancel in mid-April just to be safe.
  • Coverage for me (single female, early 40s, no health issues, nonsmoker) wound up being $270 per month for the cheapest bronze plan.  I have a deductible of $6650 and a total out of pocket of $7150.  This option is clearly only feasible for someone who can afford the $7150 out of pocket should disaster strike (i.e., someone with an HSA, emergency fund, or other savings that could be tapped quickly).
  • There is no coverage for international travel under Obamacare.  So you must obtain separate catastrophic travel insurance, which is what I was expecting to have to do anyway.  (It's not like our gov can mandate what care is provided in other countries!)
  • Regarding subsidies, it is still not entirely clear to me whether subsidies are based upon AGI or total gross.  The marketplace person I spoke to was not sure and advised me to contact a tax attorney.  However, given that I still expect my 2017 AGI to be above $47,500 even with taking five months off, it winds up not mattering because I wouldn't qualify for a subsidy anyway.  So I did not consult an attorney.  But for those of you whose AGI falls below $47,500 while total gross does not (say, if you're contributing $18,000 to a retirement account and that's what gets you below the $47,500 AGI level), it is probably worth looking more into this issue.

Hope this info is helpful to someone else, and I will post more once I obtain my travel and short term catastrophic plans for April-May and June.

Spork

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Re: Temporary Health Insurance During Work Hiatus
« Reply #13 on: January 04, 2017, 09:43:15 AM »

Coverage for me (single female, early 40s, no health issues, nonsmoker) wound up being $270 per month for the cheapest bronze plan.  I have a deductible of $6650 and a total out of pocket of $7150.  This option is clearly only feasible for someone who can afford the $7150 out of pocket should disaster strike (i.e., someone with an HSA, emergency fund, or other savings that could be tapped quickly).

I think most people (surely not all) could dig up a credit card to put that on.  And every medical institution I've ever seen will let you make payments of almost nothing for pretty much forever.  This easily works for one emergency.  Now, if you're having that max out of pocket every year, then that's another problem entirely.


Regarding subsidies, it is still not entirely clear to me whether subsidies are based upon AGI or total gross.  The marketplace person I spoke to was not sure and advised me to contact a tax attorney.  However, given that I still expect my 2017 AGI to be above $47,500 even with taking five months off, it winds up not mattering because I wouldn't qualify for a subsidy anyway.  So I did not consult an attorney.  But for those of you whose AGI falls below $47,500 while total gross does not (say, if you're contributing $18,000 to a retirement account and that's what gets you below the $47,500 AGI level), it is probably worth looking more into this issue.


It's AGI (or more correctly modified AGI, modified in "the ACA way").  HSAs, IRAs, etc work in your favor.  On the other hand, where the system is usually heavily tipped to prefer dividends/cap gains, these DO count in your AGI (even if you're paying 0% on them).

Libertea

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Re: Temporary Health Insurance During Work Hiatus
« Reply #14 on: January 04, 2017, 10:49:28 AM »
Thanks, good to know.  The other important thing to know is that, even if you screw up your AGI estimate at the beginning of the year, it's not the end of the world.  When you file your taxes, if you turn out to be eligible for the subsidy after all, you'll get the money then.  Conversely, if you got a subsidy you weren't eligible for after all, you'll have to pay that money back.

HipGnosis

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Re: Temporary Health Insurance During Work Hiatus
« Reply #15 on: January 04, 2017, 02:33:45 PM »
It's AGI (or more correctly modified AGI, modified in "the ACA way").  HSAs, IRAs, etc work in your favor.  On the other hand, where the system is usually heavily tipped to prefer dividends/cap gains, these DO count in your AGI (even if you're paying 0% on them).
Pardon my ignorance, but isn't it AGI of the previous year, ie, off your last tax form submitted?

Spork

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Re: Temporary Health Insurance During Work Hiatus
« Reply #16 on: January 04, 2017, 07:08:01 PM »
It's AGI (or more correctly modified AGI, modified in "the ACA way").  HSAs, IRAs, etc work in your favor.  On the other hand, where the system is usually heavily tipped to prefer dividends/cap gains, these DO count in your AGI (even if you're paying 0% on them).
Pardon my ignorance, but isn't it AGI of the previous year, ie, off your last tax form submitted?

No... errr.... yes... Oh, it's just so messed up.  Technically you're buying 2017 insurance based on your 2017 AGI that you haven't earned yet.  You prove that by showing them your 2016 AGI -- which doesn't really work for retirees or anyone with non-linear income.  In other words, the first year after FIRE was difficult for me and ACA, but it finally worked out.  I'm just starting my second year and haven't gotten any threats of pulling my insurance, so I guess it's working with less friction this time.

Libertea

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Re: Temporary Health Insurance During Work Hiatus
« Reply #17 on: January 04, 2017, 10:02:06 PM »
It's AGI (or more correctly modified AGI, modified in "the ACA way").  HSAs, IRAs, etc work in your favor.  On the other hand, where the system is usually heavily tipped to prefer dividends/cap gains, these DO count in your AGI (even if you're paying 0% on them).
Pardon my ignorance, but isn't it AGI of the previous year, ie, off your last tax form submitted?
I was told to estimate what my 2017 income would be since I expect it to be significantly different than my 2016 income.  But again, even if you get it wrong, worst case scenario, they either give you the subsidy or take the subsidy back from you when you file your taxes for 2017.  So I am not taking a subsidy now because I expect even my AGI to be above the limit (which is 400% of the poverty level).  But if I'm wrong and end up earning less, I will get credited next year when I file my 2017 taxes.