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Thinking of Returning to College
Feb 18, 1999

I have been working for my current employer for the past 10 years and am thinking of returning to college to get an advanced degree. I am HIV positive and am covered under the company's group plan.

I will have to give up my job (and insurance coverage with my current employer) if I choose to go back to school. Thus I will be eligible for COBRA for the 18 month period. School will take approximately 3 years to complete.

If I understand some of the responses you've given correctly, I believe that (assuming the college has insurance for students) get coverage through the school's policy immediately (and avoid the COBRA route) and (assuming I get a job right after school and continue to be in good health) get insurace with my "new" employer at graduation.

Please provide any thoughts you have relative to my issue(s).

Response from Ms. Franzoi

You would have a few options: 1) take COBRA for 18 months and then apply for conversion or purchase an individual policy or take the college's plan; 2) purchase an individual policy (if you cannot provide "evidence of good health." the insurer could charge a higher premium but will have to sell you any individual plan they offer); or 3) if the college offers a plan to students, you would be eligible for that plan. However, you should carefully review the terms of such a plan to insure that it provides the coverage you need. Once you are employed by a new employer, assuming the new employer has a plan, you would be eligible for the new employer's plan without any preexisting condition period. (This assumes continuous coverage throughout your time in college.)

Lynn Franzoi



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