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From COBRA to another coverage ???
Jan 3, 2002

Dear Expert, I just found out that I have been HIV infected. There was one man (drug user/needles) I was with while my ex-husband divorced me and married another. I was not aware of the life style of the man who infected me - his secret was well kept from me. Anyway, my ex-husband (of 32 years) and I are now getting back together just and we JUST discoverd that I was infected sometime earlier this year. I recently quit my job and have been on COBRA for 6 months. When I remarry my husband, will his insurance company let me back on his policy now that I am HIV positive? What is your suggestion? Do I stay with COBRA until it runs out? I really appreciate your answer!

Response from Mr. Berg

You have two options. Under the Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), your husband's employer cannot exclude you from the group health plan due to your diagnosis. Until then, you can stay on COBRA. If you exhaust COBRA before joining your husband's group plan, again under the HIPAA law, you are entitled to obtain individual coverage once you exhaust COBRA if you have no other health coverage. You only have 63 days from the end of COBRA to buy this new policy. Unless your state has made other arrangements, you can go to any insurance company that sells individual policies and they must sell you a "HIPAA policy" and waive the pre-existing condition exclusion. Be warned, this "HIPAA policy" may not be cheap, so it is best to shop around for the best coverage at the best price.



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