Health Insurance – leaving your group plan
No one ever told me that
Leaving one job for another is scary. Leaving your health insurance behind can be a nightmare. If your old employer offers COBRA they’re required to give you a COBRA Notice and give you the option to enroll into your old health plan. What nobody tells you is that you have 60 days to decide if you want to purchase an individual health insurance plan as well.
To read a little more follow this link to the healthcare.gov blog. 7 Things to know about reporting a life change
Panic comes in a phone call
I’ll usually get a phone call from someone who’s 60 day COBRA option is coming to a close and they’re looking for coverage. Now, the casual phone call then turns into a panic call. It goes like this.
Me: “When was the last time you had health insurance?”
Customer: “Well I quit my job two months ago.”
Me: “And when did the insurance coverage stop, date of termination or end of the month? Really we need to know, how many days ago did the insurance end exactly?”
Customer: “Well, haha, exactly 59 days ago.”
Me: “Did anyone mention that you have 60 days to enroll into a new individual health insurance plan after you lose your group coverage? And if you miss that window of opportunity you’ll have to wait for open enrollment in November?”
Customer: “What?! No! I can’t go without coverage! I have kids! I need my prescriptions! I’m going out of town! My in-laws already hate me!”
How do I spend my health care dollar?
After the initial panic wears off and we set an appointment, we can get down to business. That means, creating an account on healthcare.gov. Maybe applying for a Tax Credit that reduces the monthly premium. And remembering how you actually spend your health care dollars. Even those that “never go to the doctor” sometimes realize they’re spending more than they think. You don’t have to be someone with a condition or an injury to have medical expenses. Counseling, over the counter drugs and those unexpected stitches all add up. Once we can establish a realistic health care scenario we can take a look at networks, formularies and cost. You know, the fun stuff. And the last item, for your plan to go into effect you have to make that first month payment. No getting away from that one my friends.