Author Topic: Affordable care act and changing jobs  (Read 6018 times)

rugorak

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Affordable care act and changing jobs
« on: August 13, 2013, 05:36:18 PM »
So I work for a medical network so hear a lot about this. But with the recent talk of penalties I had a question. Since you pretty much can only get affordable health insurance through your employer and most have a waiting period do you have to pay a penalty if you change jobs and the new job doesn't have insurance right away? Can you even get insurance for 1 week/month?

I am considering changing jobs and this could sting. I already wish they would decouple it from your job so you could change jobs easier but this seems to make it worse, not better than it is today. Or maybe there is an exemption for that? Anyone know?

mpbaker22

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Re: Affordable care act and changing jobs
« Reply #1 on: August 13, 2013, 06:02:36 PM »
I don't see the original pamphlet anywhere, but this article covers your question.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/04/01/readers-have-questions-about-obamacares-penalties-we-have-answers/

Quote
Even in a situation like that, she would most likely not pay a fine. The health law’s mandate makes an exception for short lapses in coverage, which are defined as a period of less than three months. “Thus, the penalty does not apply until a taxpayer goes three consecutive months without adequate coverage,” the CCH guide to the Affordable Care Act explains.

geekette

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Re: Affordable care act and changing jobs
« Reply #2 on: August 13, 2013, 08:36:09 PM »
You generally have the option of up to 18 months of COBRA benefits from your old job once you leave.  Expensive, but available if your employer is big enough to offer it (I think it's 20 full time employees).

iamsoners

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Re: Affordable care act and changing jobs
« Reply #3 on: August 13, 2013, 11:49:06 PM »
Quote
You generally have the option of up to 18 months of COBRA benefits from your old job once you leave.  Expensive, but available if your employer is big enough to offer it (I think it's 20 full time employees).

That's my understanding--you could COBRA the insurance for a month which is probably easiest. I haven't seen the rules but you might be able to get an ACA plan for a month if your job ends as well. Or you could probably go without and pay the penalty--which isn't very steep--but that's not a risk I like taking.

Also of note, as I understand it, you can get an ACA plan apart from your job, even if your employer provides an "affordable" one--you just won't get subsidies.  That's what I've been told by a local Blue Cross rep but I'd still verify before acting on that...

bUU

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Re: Affordable care act and changing jobs
« Reply #4 on: August 14, 2013, 05:04:38 AM »
Since you're referring to ACA, I assume you're talking about 2014, because the provisions you're referring to (paying a penalty) doesn't go into effect until then. The individual mandate allows for a gap of three months. Courtesy of BCBS:
Quote
Beginning January 1, 2014, all U.S. residents are required to maintain minimum essential
coverage unless the individual falls into one of the following exceptions:
 individuals with a religious conscience exemption (applies only to certain faiths);
 incarcerated individuals;
 undocumented aliens;
 individuals who cannot afford coverage (i.e. required contribution exceeds 8% of
household income);
individuals with a coverage gap of less than 3 months;
 individuals in a hardship situation (as defined by the Secretary of Dept. of Health &
Human Services (HHS));
 individuals with income below the tax filing threshold; and
 members of Indian tribes.
(PPACA §§1501 and 10106 adding IRC §§ 5000A(d) and (e); §1002 of Reconciliation Bill)

Of course, be aware that you're not covered during that gap (except by COBRA, implicitly, but only for the latency period.)
« Last Edit: August 14, 2013, 05:08:00 AM by bUU »

rugorak

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Re: Affordable care act and changing jobs
« Reply #5 on: August 14, 2013, 09:36:06 AM »
That gap exception is exactly what I was looking for. Thanks!

I am not worried about the gap for me since I almost never go in for anything other than my annual. I was more concerned about the potential for financial punishment for taking a potentially better job.

bUU

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Re: Affordable care act and changing jobs
« Reply #6 on: August 15, 2013, 04:40:44 AM »
The big worry with a gap isn't routine or non-essential healthcare services, but rather with regard to coverage in case of unforeseen accidents or afflictions. It is generally those things that you cannot anticipate that end up compromising your financial situation.

It is often only the second and third months of a three month gap that are of-concern (since during the first month many folks have the option to retroactively filed for COBRA coverage).