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Confused about seeking new coverage
Sep 12, 2005

I currently live in Ohio and have an individual insurance plan with Kaiser that offers me great, affordable health and prescription coverage. I am self-employed now. I am considering moving to a state where Kaiser does not practice. Can you offer advice on my rights and options for seeking new coverage? Kaiser tells me if I move, I am done with them. How does someone with a pre-existing condition like HIV move on and make changes? I intend to work, wherever I end up, but I most likely will not be self-employed. Is leaving my excellent coverage foolish? Will I ever find similar coverage that I can afford? Should I seek individual coverage with a national healthcare organization? (If so, will it be affordable?) What can I expect to be offered from a new employer? I could not afford to pay for my meds myself. I am feeling very overwhelmed. Thank you in advance for your expertise.

Response from Ms. Franzoi

Unfortunately, many individual policies won't transfer from state to state even if the insurer offers coverage in both states. If you were covered under a group plan, you would have HIPAA protection. Unfortunately, there is one significant exception under HIPAA as it provides no protection if you switch from one individual plan to another. That's what makes purchasing an individual plan difficult for people living with a chronic illness. The insurance companies can simply turn them down for coverage. Although Kaiser offers coverage in many states - Ohio, Californa, DC, etc., they don't have to transfer your coverage and often won't. If you seek employment with a company that offers health coverage, you would be eligible, regardless of your health status, as long as you enroll in the initial enrollment period. You shold probably keep your current plan until you know you have employment with medical coverage.



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