Author Topic: What are my options for health insurance during career break?  (Read 928 times)

new_immigrant

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Hello, comrade mustachians.

I only have been in the US for 4 years, always had health coverage through employers.
In 6 month, I am planning to do a career break for 1 year. During that year I am planning to go to my home country for 5 month, and spent remaining 7 month(Aug 2021-Feb 2022) here in the US, in Colorado or Washington state, self-studying.

I am sure there are enough people on this forum who are familiar with health-insurance.
So, could you please point me in right direction: how do I estimate cost of self-insuring for 7 month? Where do I go to actually buy it?

About us:
M, 30 y.o
F, 34 y.o. (it is possible my wife will become pregnant during my carrer break when I will be self-insuring)
Child, 1 y.o.

Thanks!

new_immigrant

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Re: What are my options for health insurance during career break?
« Reply #1 on: July 10, 2020, 02:48:45 PM »
Ok, I just read the post
https://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2017/11/05/when-your-shitty-health-insurance-doubles-in-price/

and found kaiser cost comparing tool:
https://individual-family.kaiserpermanente.org/healthinsurance/plan/compare
Doesn't seem good at all)

But If I voluntary choose not to work for some time, and so I won't have any income, can I still qualify for "federal financial assistance" ?

plog

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Re: What are my options for health insurance during career break?
« Reply #2 on: July 10, 2020, 11:40:25 PM »
Google 'ACA ' + [StateName] to find the health insurance exchange which will help you find a plan and explain costs and walk you through purchasing it all online. If you have a choice of where to live that helps because each exchange is different and some states will cut off their nose to spite their Obamacare.

For federal subsidies you should be concerned with MAGI, modified adjusted gross income, it's more than just W-2 wages.  Capital gains, dividends, traditional to Roth IRA conversions are part of MAGI as well as wages.  Google 'ACA MAGI limits' to find out the minimum and maximum you need for your situation. 

I would time your break so that it spans 2 different tax years ( e.g July - July). That way you can meet the minimum MAGI limits' for both years and get maximum subsidies.  As for childbirth, I am certain every ACA policy covers it to so extent, you'll just have to read plans to find the best option.


Cranky

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Re: What are my options for health insurance during career break?
« Reply #3 on: July 11, 2020, 05:08:04 AM »
You are a US citizen?

new_immigrant

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Re: What are my options for health insurance during career break?
« Reply #4 on: July 11, 2020, 07:59:58 PM »
Plog, thank you, that helps!

You are a US citizen?

No, green card holder.

Paul der Krake

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Re: What are my options for health insurance during career break?
« Reply #5 on: July 11, 2020, 09:05:50 PM »
I would time your break so that it spans 2 different tax years ( e.g July - July). That way you can meet the minimum MAGI limits' for both years and get maximum subsidies.  As for childbirth, I am certain every ACA policy covers it to so extent, you'll just have to read plans to find the best option.
That's only true if OP isn't a high income earner. If OP's household makes, I don't know 150k/year, by the time July rolls around he'll already be well into the subsidy phase out zone, or even past it, and same thing the following year. He could very well end up paying full freight for the whole 12 months of ACA premiums straddled on both calendar years.

ysette9

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Re: What are my options for health insurance during career break?
« Reply #6 on: July 11, 2020, 10:59:29 PM »
If you will be in Washington then check out their state exchange website here: https://www.wahbexchange.org.

Green card holders are “US persons” and can buy health insurance on the exchanges. Just do some shopping online by playing around with different MAGIs to get a feel for what kind of subsidies you would qualify for.

mitchm

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Re: What are my options for health insurance during career break?
« Reply #7 on: July 12, 2020, 12:54:48 PM »
Just here to point out that if your income during this time-off is low enough to qualify for Medi-caid, as a non-citizen, be careful about the Trump Administration's regrettable "public charge" rule. I am not familiar with the details and a quick google search seems to suggest that it comes into play when trying to BECOME a legal permanent resident (which you already are), so it may not be relevant here. But better safe than sorry :/ 

More info here: https://www.chcf.org/blog/final-public-charge-rule-is-out/#:~:text=The%20rule%20redefines%20%E2%80%9Cpublic%20charge,means%20that%20an%20immigrant%20receiving

travel2020

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Re: What are my options for health insurance during career break?
« Reply #8 on: July 14, 2020, 09:45:56 PM »
You may also have the option to stay on your employer program under COBRA coverage that’s typically available for up to a year.

It’s not always the cheapest option but can be convenient as you can keep the same coverage and continue seeing the same doctors etc. We’ve used it a couple of times and aside from having to write monthly checks to the administrator, it was pretty straightforward.

The WA health exchange has decent options when I looked at it last. In WA, Costco also has (at least did last time I looked) health insurance for individuals that had decent plans.

More about COBRA:
https://www.insurance.com/health-insurance/health-insurance-basics/what-you-need-to-know-about-cobra.html

Cranky

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Re: What are my options for health insurance during career break?
« Reply #9 on: July 15, 2020, 06:46:09 AM »
Plog, thank you, that helps!

You are a US citizen?

No, green card holder.

You have spoken with an immigration lawyer? Leaving the US and returning without a job may complicate your situation.

travel2020

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Re: What are my options for health insurance during career break?
« Reply #10 on: July 16, 2020, 11:58:59 PM »
Plog, thank you, that helps!

You are a US citizen?

No, green card holder.

You have spoken with an immigration lawyer? Leaving the US and returning without a job may complicate your situation.

Green card holders are permanent residents and not having a job shouldn’t impact re-entry. There are some limitations around how long you can stay out of the country without losing status.