Career Article 144:
Health Insurance Resources for Job Changers
By Tamara Dowling, CPRW
One of the comments I hear from job changers and new entrepreneurs is, "I don't know what to do about health insurance." Here are some common questions and tips or resources to help you.
I am leaving my current employer. What should I do about continuing or replacing health insurance?
Talk with your former or 'soon to be former' company's Human Resources representative. You may qualify for COBRA benefits or a similar program in which you can continue your benefits for a specified period. In most cases, you'll be responsible for the premiums (payment) and possibly an administrative fee. Also note that there is a time period in which you qualify, so act quickly.
I just got a job offer. The new benefits package includes health insurance. However, the plan has a 30 day Waiting Period. What should I do?
You can talk with the Human Resources representative at the hiring company about waiving the Waiting Period so that your coverage begins on the first day. This may not be possible, as it may be written in the policy. It doesn't hurt to ask. If it is not possible, check with your current employer about COBRA benefits. If that is not possible, you will want to ask an insurance agent about Short Term Medical Insurance.
I just quit my job and signed up for COBRA benefits. Now I am moving out of state and the HMO plan I am enrolled in is not available in my new area. What can I do?
First, consult the Human Resources manager at your former employer, ask if there is an option for your new state. If they cannot resolve it, talk directly to the Health Plan Member Services Representative about Out of Network benefits or other options available to you.
I'm leaving my job to return to school. How can I determine which type of health insurance is right for me.
We can give you an overview of the plan types.
If you are healthy, young, on a tight budget and want minimal coverage, consider a Catostrophic Medical Plan, or a Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) plan.
If you choose an HMO, you have some flexibility to select your copayments (amount you'll pay at time of your visit) and coverage levels (what and how much is covered by the plan). In exchange for lower premiums, you'll get higher co-payments and lower coverage levels.
You may also consider a Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) or an Indemnity plan. These types of plans give you much more freedom to select your physician specialist. However, the premiums are higher.
To navigate through the details of the plans, consult an insurance professional. They are trained to educate you about the various types of health insurance for individuals, families and small businesses. Visit http://www.healthinsurance.com for such information.
I've decided to quit my job and open my own clothing design firm. Initially, I'll be the only employee. I have a three year old daughter and we need continuous insurance coverage. What options do I have?
Check to see if group insurance is available for one person firms. Availability of this type of coverage varies by state and insurance company. Work with your insurance agents to learn about available plans. Compare group (if available) and individual plans. Compare premiums, benefits, and application requirements.
Individual plans are subject to medical underwriting, which means your health will be a factor in your acceptance and possibly your premium rates.
Group plans may require that your firm has been in business for a certain number of months. Eligibility requirements for these plans will vary.
To make an informed choice, visit your online insurance professional at healthinsurance.com. When starting a business you've got enough on your mind. Let them help with your health insurance planning.
We have given you a bit of information. We strongly recommend that you consult a licensed insurance agent before making any decisions.
The New Boss