Author Topic: Dealing with healthcare coverage during job transition  (Read 4959 times)

jeromedawg

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Dealing with healthcare coverage during job transition
« on: November 13, 2015, 09:02:37 PM »
Hey guys,

I'll be starting with a new company on 12/31 and health benefits won't kick in till February of next year because there's a month waiting period. I'm trying to see if I can negotiate an exception to this so where they can immediately start the benefits but I have doubts that they'll do it.

In this scenario, what are my best options for coverage? My current company's health benefits are pretty good - I think for the HDHP it's around $140 a month regardless of what I choose to contribute to the HSA. I'm assuming, if I make my last day 12/30 though, that the benefits won't spill over into January (at least, reading the info on my company's benefits site seems to indicate so). That leaves me with COBRA or alternatively going with coverage through my wife's company, which isn't nearly as good - they have an HSA but force you to go with PPO which ends up costing over $235 as a basis for the *cheapest* family plan too... :( COBRA seems like it would cost an arm and a leg more.

Are there any other alternatives or options? At this point it seems falling back on coverage through my wife's company would be the best bet...

thingamabobs

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Re: Dealing with healthcare coverage during job transition
« Reply #1 on: November 13, 2015, 09:38:57 PM »
Well, COBRA has a grace period for sign up of 60 days usually. So if anything happens between 12/31 and 1/31 just sign up for it then.

Tom Bri

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Re: Dealing with healthcare coverage during job transition
« Reply #2 on: November 13, 2015, 10:01:19 PM »
I work for an insurance company that sells short term health insurance. You wouldn't want these plans for anything longer than a few months, and they are useless if you have pre-existing conditions, but they are okay otherwise.
On the good side, they are really cheap. On the bad side, you get what you pay for! You can sign up today and coverage starts tomorrow, which is good. They won't cover any 'wellness', not so good.
Deductibles tend to be high, but for a little more per month you can get them down to $500 and an 80/20 plan. They are PPO, so you don't have to stay in network.
I wouldn't hesitate to buy one, if I knew I had an option later to get on a 'real' insurance plan. I won't mention the company by name, but you can find short term insurance on the e-healthinsurance website. We are there.

letired

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Re: Dealing with healthcare coverage during job transition
« Reply #3 on: November 14, 2015, 12:51:38 AM »
Well, COBRA has a grace period for sign up of 60 days usually. So if anything happens between 12/31 and 1/31 just sign up for it then.

This. I'm pretty sure this is one of the reasons COBRA exists.

mies

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Re: Dealing with healthcare coverage during job transition
« Reply #4 on: November 14, 2015, 07:47:32 AM »
I have no advice to give, but this is the one downside to ACA. The last two times I switched jobs, I just slid by a for a few months uninsured until I could join my employers plan because the COBRA rates were outrageous. I'm not an ACA hater, but it definitely forces you to think about more things before switching jobs.

Orvell

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Re: Dealing with healthcare coverage during job transition
« Reply #5 on: November 14, 2015, 08:00:03 AM »
Well, COBRA has a grace period for sign up of 60 days usually. So if anything happens between 12/31 and 1/31 just sign up for it then.

This. I'm pretty sure this is one of the reasons COBRA exists.
A couple of years ago when I got laid off, the benefits person talked this out for me. If you have COBRA, you don't need to sign up for it when you leave; you have a period of time where you can RETROACTIVELY sign up for it. Get hit by a bus? You can sign up, but you do have to back-pay your payments. Don't get hit by a bus? Don't sign up.
Obviously confirm this is accurate for you personally and that things haven't changed in the last 3 years regarding it, but it might be a good solution since you know you have insurance coming to you.
:)
Congrats on the new gig!

2Saving4Life

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Re: Dealing with healthcare coverage during job transition
« Reply #6 on: November 14, 2015, 11:03:25 AM »
I have been looking into a similar scenario and came up with this http://obamacarefacts.com/obamacare-coverage-gap-exemption/  And with the cobra grace period of 60 days you should be fine.  If anything happens during those 2 months just sign up then.  If not, you saved yourself 2 months worth of insurance premiums.  There's lots of info about retroactive cobra coverage out there just google it.  You might also want to confirm with an administrator that your coverage actually ends on Dec. 31.  When my wife quit at the end of September, she was actually covered through Oct. 31st.  Congrats on the new job...
« Last Edit: November 14, 2015, 11:11:12 AM by 2Saving4Life »

jeromedawg

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Re: Dealing with healthcare coverage during job transition
« Reply #7 on: November 14, 2015, 01:02:06 PM »
I have been looking into a similar scenario and came up with this http://obamacarefacts.com/obamacare-coverage-gap-exemption/  And with the cobra grace period of 60 days you should be fine.  If anything happens during those 2 months just sign up then.  If not, you saved yourself 2 months worth of insurance premiums.  There's lots of info about retroactive cobra coverage out there just google it.  You might also want to confirm with an administrator that your coverage actually ends on Dec. 31.  When my wife quit at the end of September, she was actually covered through Oct. 31st.  Congrats on the new job...

Thing is, we have an appointment for our kid in January, so we definitely will be going in for office visits at least for him. I'm just trying to figure out the cheapest option to take in the case that the new employer [likely] doesn't allow a benefits transition per the day I start.

I was reviewing my wife's benefits again and even with her plan it seems like there would be a pretty high cost to things. Of course, I wonder if she could just opt to take the employee + child plan (as opposed to the more expensive employee + spouse + child/family plan) to save

Otherwise it sounds like buying the insurance Tom Bri is recommending might be the best option for us in that case.
« Last Edit: November 14, 2015, 01:03:59 PM by jplee3 »

lhamo

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Re: Dealing with healthcare coverage during job transition
« Reply #8 on: November 14, 2015, 01:07:57 PM »
Check with your pediatrician and see if it is essential that the visit take place in January -- most likely pushing it back a few weeks will not hurt anything.  Then you can sign up for the Cobra coverage in retrospect only if you really need it, and any expenses related to the visit (now rescheduled for February) will apply to your deductible at the new place.

Alternatively, see if making your last day at the current company fall on January 4th will enable you to continue insurance coverage through them for January.  Tell your new company you may need to take that day off (or take it as an unpaid personal day, if necessary) to take care of some personal business.  Most likely you can get away with going in for a couple of hours to wrap up things at the old place, and then work the rest of the day at the new place.

jeromedawg

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Re: Dealing with healthcare coverage during job transition
« Reply #9 on: November 14, 2015, 01:14:42 PM »
Check with your pediatrician and see if it is essential that the visit take place in January -- most likely pushing it back a few weeks will not hurt anything.  Then you can sign up for the Cobra coverage in retrospect only if you really need it, and any expenses related to the visit (now rescheduled for February) will apply to your deductible at the new place.

Alternatively, see if making your last day at the current company fall on January 4th will enable you to continue insurance coverage through them for January.  Tell your new company you may need to take that day off (or take it as an unpaid personal day, if necessary) to take care of some personal business.  Most likely you can get away with going in for a couple of hours to wrap up things at the old place, and then work the rest of the day at the new place.

We'll consider pushing the appointment back to February but it's also his 4mth vaccination. The other idea is to just do all the vaccination stuff in December while I still have coverage, so we may opt to do that.

Unfortunately, I've already agreed to and accepted the offer with 12/31 being the expected start date. So I can't really backpedal on that with the new company. What I was thinking about earlier, which I don't think would be a great idea, would be to wait to give my notice after I've started at the new place. This is because I technically still have parental leave going into the first week of January. But this probably isn't a good idea just because I'd more likely than not end up burning bridges along the lines of abusing the parental leave policy. But if I really wanted to do this, I suppose I could tell my current place on Jan 8th (last day of parental leave) that I'm not coming back. I'm pretty sure that would put a bitter taste in my manager's mouth even though he'd "understand"

« Last Edit: November 14, 2015, 01:17:58 PM by jplee3 »

lhamo

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Re: Dealing with healthcare coverage during job transition
« Reply #10 on: November 14, 2015, 01:24:44 PM »
Check with your ped and see what they recommend.  Personally, I would push vaccinations back.  They already stress the system quite a bit, and better to have them be older/stronger/healthier.  The schedules are just a guideline.  I went way off schedule with my kids due to our international travel. 

You could also check with the local public health department and see if they offer free mandatory vaccinations. 

La Bibliotecaria Feroz

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Re: Dealing with healthcare coverage during job transition
« Reply #11 on: November 14, 2015, 01:33:34 PM »
If the kid is in daycare, they NEED those baby vaccinations. Sure, polio may not be super-urgent, but they vaccinate against baby diseases that kill babies, like HIB and rotavirus.

Employee plus child through wife is one option; another is to just pay the ped out of pocket. You might ask about a vaccination-only appointment and save the physical for later--vaccination-only may be cheaper as there is no need to see the actual doctor. Call the ped's office, ask for the business manager and see if you can find out what that would cost. Then you can make an informed decision.

catccc

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Re: Dealing with healthcare coverage during job transition
« Reply #12 on: November 14, 2015, 01:51:31 PM »
Another vote for putting off the 4 month vaccinations, it would just be a few weeks late, which isn't a huge difference.  I would consider getting something short-term to bridge the gap if you want to do then in Jan, but I wouldn't do them 2 months early.  For one because your LO will be that much smaller and fragile, and another is because he or she probably already had some 2 month vaccinations and I think there are recommendations around spacing these things, unless you are on some sort of alternative vax schedule.  (I will not go off on a vax/non-vax tangent here, and encourage others not to, either.  Because people get all touchy about it.  OP's decided the LO is getting them, the timing is just wacky.)

About 5 years ago, DH needed stitches after a glass carboy fell off a shelf in our basement and rebounding fragments of glass lacerated his hands quite badly.  The hospital and doctor bills were insane, and it was after he'd left his job over 60 days prior.  I was on an indemnity plan at the time, and was doing contract work, and DD was covered through state subsidized insurance.  We got insanely lucky that someone someplace screwed up, and the Cobra info/packet was never mailed after he left his job.  Apparently the 60 day election period starts on the later date of when your coverage ends, or when you are furnished the election notice.  So we called up, said we never got it, had them send it, signed up, got coverage retroactively, and saved thousands on the ER visit and doctor bills.  Phew.

Tom Bri

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Re: Dealing with healthcare coverage during job transition
« Reply #13 on: November 14, 2015, 08:09:24 PM »
Short term plans DO NOT cover vaccinations, nor do they cover well-child visits.
The only exceptions I know of are Maryland, Texas and (maybe) Georgia, which have state laws that require vaccinations be covered.
Give me some more info on your needs and I'll tell you what I know. For some people these plans are a godsend, for others a pure waste of money.
In short: NO WELL VISITS. NO Pre-existing conditions. And a long list of excluded conditions.
If you and your family are currently healthy, and just want catastrophic coverage for a few months (30 days minimum, 6 months maximum) these plans are fine.

bonjourliz

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Re: Dealing with healthcare coverage during job transition
« Reply #14 on: November 15, 2015, 08:30:08 AM »
A healthy baby's 4 month appt is no reason to incur the costs of cobra, etc.  There is no magic in the scheduling of those appts.... It's just to monitor the baby's overall development.  Naturally if anything concerning comes up, you will get help asap. 

As for the vax, if baby was sick on the say of that appt (a cold, a fever), they would push back the shots anyway.  So not a big deal. 

Also keep in mind that your wife's coverage likely has a grace/retroactive period just as your cobra does.  The loss of your insurance is a qualifying event, and that period will run from that event.  So if covg through her ER is less $$ than cobra, opt for it over cobra if circumstances require.

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jeromedawg

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Re: Dealing with healthcare coverage during job transition
« Reply #15 on: November 15, 2015, 10:22:39 AM »
Thanks all! My wife was wanting to push the vaccines up to December to "take advantage" of my benefits since they would presumably end. I'll need to double-check if they get extended but I'm pretty sure they won't.

I'll also have her call and double-check with the ped to see if they'd recommend just delaying the visit/vax until February instead of pushing it up to December. It's our first baby so I think we have the tendency to err on the side of paranoia...LOL

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Re: Dealing with healthcare coverage during job transition
« Reply #16 on: November 15, 2015, 10:45:28 AM »

Dumb question... and maybe you said and I just didn't see it.  But how much is that pediatrician visit anyway?  I wouldn't think it was that much (compared to the cost of COBRA anyway).

I tend to think insurance as something that handles cataclysmic disaster... not checkups and vaccinations.  I know employer benefits have really made us think otherwise.

jeromedawg

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Re: Dealing with healthcare coverage during job transition
« Reply #17 on: November 15, 2015, 10:57:30 AM »

Dumb question... and maybe you said and I just didn't see it.  But how much is that pediatrician visit anyway?  I wouldn't think it was that much (compared to the cost of COBRA anyway).

I tend to think insurance as something that handles cataclysmic disaster... not checkups and vaccinations.  I know employer benefits have really made us think otherwise.

That's actually a great question! And one that we should find out the answer to lol. I see your point - why waste money on paying for monthly coverage premiums when one office visit really may not cost much of anything.

StacheInAFlash

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Re: Dealing with healthcare coverage during job transition
« Reply #18 on: November 15, 2015, 03:33:39 PM »

Dumb question... and maybe you said and I just didn't see it.  But how much is that pediatrician visit anyway?  I wouldn't think it was that much (compared to the cost of COBRA anyway).

I tend to think insurance as something that handles cataclysmic disaster... not checkups and vaccinations.  I know employer benefits have really made us think otherwise.

That's actually a great question! And one that we should find out the answer to lol. I see your point - why waste money on paying for monthly coverage premiums when one office visit really may not cost much of anything.

If your kid's office visit, without insurance, sounds like a ton of money consider looking into the county health nurse or some other agency of similar fashion (community health services, county public health, etc.). These types of government agencies will provide vaccination at very low cost regardless of income, or free if you fall below income guidelines. Just an FYI for everyone, they can be an awesome resource if you ever need an expensive vaccine for international travel or any vaccine really. If you have an HDHP and just need vaccines without a needing an expensive office visit with a doctor, it is the way to go. I have a friend with wealthy parents (and crappy insurance) who had every childhood vaccine done there, ages 0 - 18, saving her parents a ton of money.

jeromedawg

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Re: Dealing with healthcare coverage during job transition
« Reply #19 on: November 15, 2015, 03:38:06 PM »

Dumb question... and maybe you said and I just didn't see it.  But how much is that pediatrician visit anyway?  I wouldn't think it was that much (compared to the cost of COBRA anyway).

I tend to think insurance as something that handles cataclysmic disaster... not checkups and vaccinations.  I know employer benefits have really made us think otherwise.

That's actually a great question! And one that we should find out the answer to lol. I see your point - why waste money on paying for monthly coverage premiums when one office visit really may not cost much of anything.

If your kid's office visit, without insurance, sounds like a ton of money consider looking into the county health nurse or some other agency of similar fashion (community health services, county public health, etc.). These types of government agencies will provide vaccination at very low cost regardless of income, or free if you fall below income guidelines. Just an FYI for everyone, they can be an awesome resource if you ever need an expensive vaccine for international travel or any vaccine really. If you have an HDHP and just need vaccines without a needing an expensive office visit with a doctor, it is the way to go. I have a friend with wealthy parents (and crappy insurance) who had every childhood vaccine done there, ages 0 - 18, saving her parents a ton of money.

I just checked and it looks like we have a similar type of resource (county public health) from the looks of it. I guess that can be the fallback option if nothing else. Thanks!

Tom Bri

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Re: Dealing with healthcare coverage during job transition
« Reply #20 on: November 15, 2015, 04:50:02 PM »
I have had to have a lot of vaccinations the last two years, for my school program. Used the County Health Dept. You just pay for the vaccine, no office visit charges. Save a bit of $!

bonjourliz

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Re: Dealing with healthcare coverage during job transition
« Reply #21 on: November 15, 2015, 06:34:15 PM »
If you have insurance, a well-child visit to get the immunization should be no cost to you.  So there is no worry that your new insurance might treat childhood vaccines differently. 

http://www.hhs.gov/healthcare/facts-and-features/fact-sheets/preventive-services-covered-under-aca/index.html

As for moving vaccines up -- from 4 mos to 3 mos, I guess ?  I have never heard of someone giving these sooner than standard .... Though plenty of folks delay (either because they choose to or B/C life happens - baby is sick at the time of the appt, etc). I encourage you to read up on what the vaccines do, their possible side effects, and how they have been studied.

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