Sep 7, 2012
Hello and thanks in advance. It is so hard to find info about this stuff. So here's my situation- I have decent insurance through my employer but unfortunately they are in bankruptcy and may liquidate. When I first suspected I had HIV I went and bought private insurance just in case I lost my other insurance. I waited a month then tested positive. So now I have two insurances and I'm afraid to end my work ins just in case the policy I bought drops me. I have been using my work insurance for all doc appts so my new policy doesn't know that I have been diagnosed. Now my partner got a great new job in another state. My work policy is nationwide so that will follow me but my other policy is not. I have been paying 150 a month for the last few months to hold that policy as a back up plan. My questions are if I drop my work policy can I transfer my individual policy to another state/company? Also should I call them and tell them about my diagnosis even though I haven't used the policy yet? I'm just worried I'll do the wrong thing and be screwed financially, I cannot afford 1500 a month for meds. or maybe should i just keep both for now? I have been insured for the last two years continuously.
Response from Mr. Chambers
It sounds as if you may have several choices.
Don't drop your work coverage yet. If the employer goes bankrupt while there you are still covered you have an option. Although there will be no COBRA you will have a guaranteed right to purchase a fairly broad plan under HIPAA provided you have had continuous coverage for 18 months, your last coverage was through an employer AND you buy the plan within 63 days of your work coverage ending. Wait and exercise your HIPAA right in the new state as each state handles HIPAA conversions differently.
Ask the carrier of your individual coverage if it can be "transferred" to the state you are moving to. You do not need to mention your medical condition, just ask about the move. I say "transfer" because you don't want to be considered a new enrollee and go through medical underwriting again. However, be sure to look at any coverages as some interstate conversions have very limited benefits.
Another possibility would be with your partner's plan if his employer plan offers domestic partner coverage. If so, you can join that without medical underwriting.
You don't say where you live, but in many places, $150 is a very low price for health insurance, so make sure your current individual plan is broad enough to be worth transferring.
As far as medications go, every state has an AIDS Drug Assistance Plan (ADAP). However, some states have broad coverage,others don't,some have waiting lists. You can learn more by searching ADAP and the state you are moving to.
Good luck, Jacques
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