Author Topic: Health insurance after layoff, with pregnancy  (Read 5024 times)

Christiana

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Health insurance after layoff, with pregnancy
« on: March 18, 2013, 12:50:40 PM »
My husband was just laid off; under COBRA, we'd be paying about $1200 per month for our current insurance.  We would like to find a less expensive option, but I am seven months pregnant, and all the family plans I am finding on ehealthinsurance.com for my state either:

1.  Don't cover labor and delivery at all, or have a one-year waiting period for it--we are planning a home birth with midwives, and have it mostly paid for, but there is always the possibility of needing to transfer to the hospital.

Or:

2.  Won't enroll children less than three (or six, depending on the plan) months of age.

So, I am thinking that we should keep our current insurance until the baby is born at the end of May or beginning of June, and then switch to a high-deductible plan without maternity coverage for the rest of the year, which would cost $400-$500 per month.  (I breastfeed, which spaces the babies at least two years apart.)  By then, my husband should be either employed again, or more fully self-employed.  We'll have to re-evaluate our insurance options again then anyway, because of the changes that Obamacare is bringing.

Our current insurance should reimburse us for prenatal care for this pregnancy, and most of the prenatal care appointments come near the end of the pregnancy, but I expect that they will "allow" much less for our midwives than we actually paid them.

I also looked at short-term plans.  The longest term is six months, they don't include well-child visits (as the regular plans are required to, by state law), and the cost is not any less than a high-deductible regular plan.

Is there anything that I'm missing?

bogart

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Re: Health insurance after layoff, with pregnancy
« Reply #1 on: March 18, 2013, 01:18:16 PM »
Congratulations on your growing family, and I'm sorry to hear about your husband's job loss.

It's been awhile since I needed to look into this, but as I recall, COBRA offers a 3-month retroactive "grace period" during which you can sign up (and pay the premiums due to that point) regardless of what happens (i.e. even if new problems have arisen since your coverage ended and the date you enroll through COBRA).  So, in principle, it might be possible for you to skip signing up for COBRA, go self-pay for the birth and any associated medical care (or other care needed during the same time interval), and then if that doesn't exceed the cost of COBRA, move to an individual plan after the birth.  Besides wanting to be quadruple-sure on the grace-period issue (word is that sometimes, people posting in online forums are wrong!), I'd have concerns about (a) what would be involved if heaven forbid things went really wrong and you were dealing with e.g. a high-risk baby in the NICU:  would you be able to sign up for COBRA during such a stressful time (I don't mean legally, I mean, as a practical matter), and/or (b) whether as someone eligible for decent coverage (through COBRA) you'd have ready access to the same extent and quality of medical care as someone with decent coverage.  The uninsured do not always have access to the same quality of care in the US as do the insured, and I'm not sure where the COBRA-eligible fall on that continuum.

brewer12345

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Re: Health insurance after layoff, with pregnancy
« Reply #2 on: March 18, 2013, 01:26:46 PM »
I don't think you have missed anything.  Stay away from the short term health insurance plans.  They have a well-deserved reputation for problems.  COBRA appears to be the way to go in your situation, and if it is only for a few months some exra premium is not the end of the world.

tooqk4u22

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Re: Health insurance after layoff, with pregnancy
« Reply #3 on: March 18, 2013, 01:34:09 PM »
I don't think you have missed anything.  Stay away from the short term health insurance plans.  They have a well-deserved reputation for problems.  COBRA appears to be the way to go in your situation, and if it is only for a few months some exra premium is not the end of the world.

I think it will be more like six months to get through the birth and until the baby is 3+ months old, either way cobra is the way to go. 

TheDude

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Re: Health insurance after layoff, with pregnancy
« Reply #4 on: March 18, 2013, 02:02:45 PM »
What do you live? I know here in CO we CHP+ which covers kids and pregnant women.

iamsoners

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Re: Health insurance after layoff, with pregnancy
« Reply #5 on: March 18, 2013, 02:22:23 PM »
We're in a somewhat similar situation, with me planning to quit working after the baby (and it really is a hard stop when I leave, not six weeks paid or anything).  It's very confusing to figure out and I'm just now sorting out what I think we'll do.  In our case, I'm planning to add baby to my husband's insurance at an exorbitant cost of something like $500/month. I'm due at the beginning of a month so my coverage should last through the end of the month and assuming everything is ok, I'll switch to a cheap high-deductible plan the next month (and plan to pay for the postpartum visit out of pocket).

Once we're sure baby is ok, we'll bring baby onto a similar independent insurance plan that includes coverage for several well-baby visits. (except now I'm wondering, will it be possible to drop baby from coverage before husband's new plan year in December? I guess I need to check the qualifying events--can I add and then drop within 30 days? that seems crazy but technically do-able, right?)

THEN when Obamacare comes out at the end of the year, we'll shop around for new insurance again--plans under that coverage are legally not allowed to exclude maternity care so, that's nice.

TheDude

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Re: Health insurance after layoff, with pregnancy
« Reply #6 on: March 18, 2013, 03:04:17 PM »
I've shopped for my son and kid only insurance is crazy expensive until they are 2. At least thats true here in CO.

Christiana

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Re: Health insurance after layoff, with pregnancy
« Reply #7 on: March 19, 2013, 05:58:32 AM »
We're in MN, which also has some state health insurance programs for children and pregnant women, but sometimes the support comes in the form of subsidies toward health insurance premiums, so we'd likely be shopping for new insurance anyway.  I am keeping this in mind as an option, but I'm not going to enjoy filling out the application.

TheDude

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Re: Health insurance after layoff, with pregnancy
« Reply #8 on: March 19, 2013, 09:44:18 AM »
Yeah the apps are a pain in the ass no doubt about it. I am guessing it will be you best option. I wouldn't think anyone else will write you when you are pregnant. I know here in CO the insurance is incredible. Blows the socks off anything you can buy on the private market. Plus we could use the same HMO we do now. Make me sad/angry how messed up health insurance is in this country.