Author Topic: about to FIRE and need health insurance in 2 weeks  (Read 4393 times)


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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about to FIRE and need health insurance in 2 weeks
« on: June 12, 2015, 07:31:50 AM »
I just put in notice at work and am going to go the FIRE route starting 7/1/15.

I've literally been plotting/planning/scheming for some time now and have almost everything in place... except health insurance.

Long story short can anyone point me to some good understandable info on how to get appropriate ACA compliant coverage for my family of 4 (husband, wife, and 2 kids under 10 yo)? We live in PA if it matters. route... ehealthinsurance route?

This stuff all seems so confusing and of course i am running out of time now. I keep seeing stuff on here about ehealthinsurance, but don't understand how to get a plan that is compliant with ACA.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.


  • Pencil Stache
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Re: about to FIRE and need health insurance in 2 weeks
« Reply #1 on: June 12, 2015, 07:39:49 AM »


I don't know how long it takes to complete enrollment or if coverage is retroactive to the date of a job separation.

A question: if you don't have health insurance dialed in, are you sure that you are ready to ER?

teen persuasion

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Re: about to FIRE and need health insurance in 2 weeks
« Reply #2 on: June 12, 2015, 07:53:30 AM »
I found out the hard way last year that it takes time to get insurance.  I believe it was: if you are approved before the 15th of the month, coverage will begin on the first of next month.  Otherwise it begins on the first of the following month (2 months out).

In NY the state website was impossible to navigate, so I'd suggest finding a healthcare navigator to help you with all the ins and outs of the system.  Our situation was complicated by the change in income due to DH leaving his job.  They are trying to evaluate whether you are eligible for Medicaid or subsidies.  Medicaid is assessed on current monthly income, but subsidies are assessed on annual income.  If you qualify for Medicaid due to low income, you are ineligible for any subsidies.  If I'd known this, I would have begun the application process while he was still technically receiving a paycheck (but had put in notice) both to be able to start coverage on time and to be eligible for subsidies rather than Medicaid.

Good luck!

ETA: I believe that if you purchase insurance thru einsurance you CANNOT get the subsidies.  You must go thru either the Fed website (if your state uses this) or your state site (if your state created one).
« Last Edit: June 12, 2015, 07:59:00 AM by teen persuasion »


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Re: about to FIRE and need health insurance in 2 weeks
« Reply #3 on: June 12, 2015, 08:19:05 AM »
It's extremely unlikely that you'll get insurance in 2 weeks.  Talk to your current benefits manager.  Your current employer is required by law to extend your current health insurance.  You will pay for it of course but it gives you time to choose a long term policy. The plan is known as COBRA insurance (consolidated omnibus budget yadda yadda yadda).
You can continue COBRA for something like 18 months if necessary.  But again, it'll cost you.


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Re: about to FIRE and need health insurance in 2 weeks
« Reply #4 on: June 12, 2015, 09:00:46 AM »
Another point you should research is the Election Period under COBRA, i.e. the amount of time you can 'think' about paying for coverage.  Should you elect to enroll in Cobra coverage it will be retroactive to your separation date.  In other words, you have two months to see if you need insurance / line up your new insurance.  If it turns out you actually need coverage during that period simply 'elect' to sign up for Cobra to bridge any gap you have.  If not you've saved a couple of months premiums.

I also found it much faster to stay with the same insurance company when signing up for my individual plan when I FIREd.  My company offered Blue Cross Blue Shield, I was pretty satisfied with them, and BCBS had a very competitive high deductible plan for me on  So I just stayed with them.  The enrollment process seemed to go a lot faster as they already had my details in their system.  Who knows, the same situation may apply to you.

Congrats on FIRE!!


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Re: about to FIRE and need health insurance in 2 weeks
« Reply #5 on: June 12, 2015, 03:28:09 PM »
For health insurance options you can go through eHealthinsurance or a similar site, get a plan directly through or continue on your existing plan through COBRA.

Since you're ending your current employment, you'll also be eligible for the "Special Enrollment Period" which permits you to enroll in any plan offered directly on the exchange. Depending on your household income this would also qualify you for subsidies that would lower your costs dramatically. For this you must enroll through The cap for subsidies on a family of 4 this year is around 95,400, below which you're likely to see some sort of tax credit. (Note: If your annual income after you leave your job is low enough, your family might actually be pushed into Medicaid instead of the subsidies which is also a viable option for coverage)

In terms of being ACA compliant all the major medical products you get through eHealth will now be complaint with the law. The plans will be practically the same as those on the exchange in many cases though you might have a few additional insurers that sell off exchange. Most of the insurance companies you see on the Pennsylvania exchange will have the same plans on and off. Going through eHealth will be more expensive however if you should be getting tax credits.

As some other posters have mentioned you'll also be offered COBRA to extend your existing benefits. The major drawback is this tends to be very expensive, especially if your employer was previously pitching in. One thing that is really important to note is that if you elect to use COBRA and not go through and decide to quit paying for COBRA later on, you will NOT be eligible for a special enrollment period. You will have to wait until the next Open Enrollment during this winter to choose an exchange plan.

From a cost perspective I would suggest looking at a plan through and see if you're eligible for any tax credits.


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Re: about to FIRE and need health insurance in 2 weeks
« Reply #6 on: June 12, 2015, 04:28:49 PM »
. . . If not you've saved a couple of months premiums.  . . .

I hope this would not be a problem

southern granny

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Re: about to FIRE and need health insurance in 2 weeks
« Reply #7 on: June 12, 2015, 06:03:46 PM »
Be careful with an ACA plans because of working half of the year.  The subsidies are based on yearly income,  so when you get the estimates make sure you input your total income for the year, not the monthly income you will be getting for the rest of the year or you will be making a big payback when you file taxes next year. 


Wow, a phone plan for fifteen bucks!