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Cobra to HIPAA policy moving
Jun 28, 2012

I am 50 and live in South Caroilna on LTD from work due to fatigue and neuropathy. Because of my disability claim I can keep my group insurance for 24 months before18 months of Cobra is offered. I plan on taking Cobra when offered and then buy a Hippa policy. I would like to move to California . My question is should I move to California before Cobra runs out and if so how many months before? Financially I am able to not have to work. Thank you for any advice on how to make the move without insurance problems.

Response from Mr. Chambers

You are in a good position regarding your disability income and health insurance.

It sounds like you have insurance since leaving work for 24 months PLUS another 18 months for a total of 42 months. That is more than enough time to apply for Social Security Disability, go through the five calendar month waiting period and receive SSD payments for 24 months after which you will have Medicare and never need a HIPAA policy. Keep in mind that once you are eligible for Medicare, you lose your right to keep COBRA and then get a HIPAA policy.

In addition, virtually all employer-provided group disability policies require you to apply to Social Security Disability and they offset their payment by your SSD benefit.

Should, for some reason, you not get SSD and then Medicare, you will have the option to buy a HIPAA policy when COBRA finally ends. If you are planning on moving to California, you should be in California when you buy your HIPAA plan so you get coverage that will work in California. Hopefully, your COBRA coverage covers you wherever you live and isn't an HMO with a limited service area. If it is, you may need to time your move carefully.

Back to the Medicare issue, should you get SSD and eventually Medicare, I encourage you to be in California when your Medicare becomes effective. This is because the federal government does NOT provide an open enrollment period for people under 65 to buy a Medicare Supplement (Medigap) policy. Some states do require an open enrollment period. California has such a law; South Carolina only provides and expensive one under their pooled program.

Good luck, Jacques



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