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Quitting job With Private Insurance Coverage
May 20, 2013

Hello, I am employed full time with group health insurance through Cigna in the state of Iowa. With all the health care changes, I am worried about relocating and leaving my job and current insurance coverage to go into a different field. I know Cobra is an option to bridge the gap between jobs, but it is incredibly expensive. I was wondering what you would recommend I keep in mind as far as dropping insurance coverage and picking new coverage up in another state through a different employer. Getting insured is critical as my Atripla I am currently on is incredibly pricey. I am aware that in 2014 I cannot be denied health insurance for my pre-existing condition, but I would just like to know what other aspects of health insurance I should be aware of while being in between jobs or switching fields, and if moving from one state to another would have any potential negative consequences. I would like to know my rights as far as new policies are concerned, but this information is hard to come by. Thank you so much!

Response from Mr. Chambers

As far as moving out-of-state, the only issue that might arise is if your current CIGNA coverage is an HMO, in which case you may be moving of their service area and continuing it by COBRA will not be available. If, however, your employer offers a PPO alternate, you would be eligible to switch to that under COBRA if you move out of the HMO's service area, but the PPO premium is almost certainly higher than the HMO.

There are very few states that offer individual health insurance on a guarantee issue basis at the present time. You are correct in that health insurance will be available to everyone in every state in 2014 regardless of the medical condition.

If the new employer offers health insurance, you cannot be turned down for it. If your new health insurance starts within 63 days of losing your old insurance they cannot even impose a pre-existing conditions waiting period before HIV charges are covered. These are federal laws so they would apply in all states.

Without knowing the cost of your COBRA coverage or your budget, the safest way to transition is to take COBRA until January 1, 2014 and see if an individual policy would be cheaper or if you qualify for federal premium subsidies under the new law. The only other safe alternative is to postpone the termination and move until after January 1, 2014.

Good luck, Jacques



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