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Cobra issue/Life Insurance Issue
Aug 12, 2005

I recently left my company and went on cobra in April. I have not been diagnosed as HIV+ but nor have I been tested over the last 2 years. I sent my payments for May, June, and July to Cobra. On July 15, I received a letter stating that my coverage was terminated for non-payment as of May 1, 2005. My old company does not have a cobra billing system, and as I use my banks bill pay, it looked as though my checks were getting to my company. What I found out is that the check for May and June were lost or missing somehow at my company, but that they did receive Julys payment. I panicked and quickly applied for my own independent policy (with Unicare) in which I was accepted the same day.

My questions are:

1. I was thinking of getting tested, but am now concerned that my new coverage might deny coverage or terminate me if I test positive. 2. My partner has domestic benefits, which I can enroll in, but again I am concerned that if I get tested before or after switching coverage I will again be denied. Secondly, if I switch and he leaves his company, I would be on COBRA again and be nervous about the same issue happening. 3. I also was going to apply for Life Insurance, but again I am nervous that should a blood test be done that I might risk my health insurance is that true?

Sorry for all the questions hope this made sense. I am extremely nervous now.

Response from Ms. Franzoi

First, did you appeal your COBRA cancellation by contacting your prior employer, explaining the problem and asking him to reinstate you retroactively due to the check delivery problem. If not, you might want to consider this. With respect to your questions:

1. Since you already have the coverage, as along as you answered all of the questions on the application honestly, the insurer would not be able to cancel your coverage.

2. Your partner should check how to add you to his plan as this might be the best coverage for you at this time. Even if he were to leave and his plan extended COBRA coverage to you (Note: Plans are not required to extend COBRA coverage to domestic partners although many do.), once COBRA coverage ends, you can always buy an individual policy as long as you don't have a 63-day break in coverage (either at a standard rate or as a HIPAA policy, depending on your health status).

3. Applying for life insurance should not impact your current health coverage.

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