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Another COBRA/ACA question.
Old 09-09-2015, 11:03 AM   #1
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Another COBRA/ACA question.

Hi all, I've searched the site but haven't found what I'm needing, so here goes.

I am on COBRA and my last day of coverage is Nov 30th. What would be the best way for me to handle this? I haven't went on the ACA site yet, I thought I'd like to have an idea of what to do before I went there. Any thoughts on this would be most helpful.

As a second question about ACA coverage. What do you do when you've had a major change in income, as far as estimating income for coverage. Will it send up any "red flags" if my estimate is much lower than my 2014 return?

Thanks for your time!
Murf
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Old 09-09-2015, 11:15 AM   #2
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Don't be in a hurry and I'd expect to have to go through it many times. Take screen shots so you can remember what you answered last time. The way it used to work, and probably still does, is that if you get "the wrong result" at the end, you need to delete the application and try again from scratch. Maybe even deleting the application won't work, and you'd need to create a new log in. They might have fixed that, but I wouldn't be surprised if that was still the case.

They ask you your income a few different ways, and sometimes the questions for a retired person don't make a heck of a lot of sense (Monthly? What's monthly? My income only comes from a once-a-year Roth conversion). I just divided by 12. They will require you to send in documentation to justify your drop in income. You might include your termination letter, or whatever.

There is an "Are you eligible for COBRA" question, and I answered that "No" because I did not plan to pay for it, lol! I don't think that answering that "Yes" would lock you out of the ACA, but you'd need to research that.
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Old 09-09-2015, 03:58 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Murf2 View Post
Hi all, I've searched the site but haven't found what I'm needing, so here goes.

I am on COBRA and my last day of coverage is Nov 30th. What would be the best way for me to handle this? I haven't went on the ACA site yet, I thought I'd like to have an idea of what to do before I went there. Any thoughts on this would be most helpful.

As a second question about ACA coverage. What do you do when you've had a major change in income, as far as estimating income for coverage. Will it send up any "red flags" if my estimate is much lower than my 2014 return?

Thanks for your time!
Murf
ACA open enrollment is for coverage starting 1/1/16, so you may need a special enrollment period to get coverage for December.

I didn't have a problem with the major change of income, YMMV.
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Old 09-09-2015, 04:33 PM   #4
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Thanks for the replies. I did some looking on the interweb and it looks like I could by short term insurance for December. I am not sure if that will foul up enrollment for 2016 tho.

Thanks again,
Murf
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Old 09-09-2015, 05:03 PM   #5
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I am pretty sure COBRA ending (not you choosing to leave the COBRA coverage but your coverage reaching its mandatory end of 18 or 36 months or whatever and kicking you off) is a qualified event that lets you obtain ACA coverage outside the normal open enrollment period. So you could have the ACA plan for December, and sign up for a different ACA plan starting 1/1, I believe.
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Old 09-10-2015, 12:06 AM   #6
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I agree that end of COBRA is a qualifying event....

Short term insurance should not affect your enrollment for next year... I had it when ACA first went into effect... I was waiting for the website to be fixed...

The other thing you should know is that it sometimes takes 30 days to get coverage... so you need to look more than a month before your COBRA runs out..


OH... on that ST insurance.... it can still be underwritten.... if you have a preexisting condition they can refuse you... that is what happened to me... they took DW and the kids, but rejected me...
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Old 09-10-2015, 04:04 AM   #7
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Texas Proud, In your opinion, is it worth signing up for ACA for Dec 2015 and then one month later going through it all again? Do you basically start the process from "square one" ever year, or is renewal less involved than enrollment?

Thanks, Murf
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Old 09-10-2015, 06:40 AM   #8
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Texas Proud, In your opinion, is it worth signing up for ACA for Dec 2015 and then one month later going through it all again? Do you basically start the process from "square one" ever year, or is renewal less involved than enrollment?

Thanks, Murf
I went through something like this: W*rk -> Cobra -> ACA -> W*rk Had subsidies and had to pay them all back when I did my taxes because, hey, I ended up w*rking the 2nd half of the year and made too much that year to qualify

Yes, Cobra ending is a qualifying event. Pretty sure that stopping Cobra on your own and going to ACA is a qualifying event. Yes, you can go on ACA for one month. Renewing is easier than the first time around, but only if you like your plan and it hasn't changed once the new year rolls around. Many plans change and you might not like the change. If that's the case, you start over (except you don't have to create a new account)

Unless your employer is footing the Cobra bill, I would take a look at ACA earlier, especially if you qualify for a subsidy. Cobra tends to be extremely expensive.

YMMV

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Old 09-10-2015, 09:15 AM   #9
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Texas Proud, In your opinion, is it worth signing up for ACA for Dec 2015 and then one month later going through it all again? Do you basically start the process from "square one" ever year, or is renewal less involved than enrollment?

Thanks, Murf
Renewal much less involved. If you keep your existing plan it pretty much just rolls over. They sent a link to reverify income but basically if nothing has changed it can auto renew. There is info on the healthcare.gov site

https://www.healthcare.gov/blog/we-a...age-next-year/
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Old 09-10-2015, 09:19 AM   #10
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ACA Medicaid has no open enrollment period so you can get in at any time provided your monthly income is under $1354. Some states will help you pay COBRA premiums if your income qualifies you for Medicaid.
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Old 09-10-2015, 09:30 AM   #11
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(snip)...Yes, Cobra ending is a qualifying event. Pretty sure that stopping Cobra on your own and going to ACA is a qualifying event. Yes, you can go on ACA for one month.
You can only voluntarily end COBRA during the annual ACA open enrollment period. Voluntarily ending COBRA any other time of the year is not a qualifying life event so it will not create an ACA special enrollment period.

Source: Health Reform FAQs | The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation
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Old 09-10-2015, 09:49 AM   #12
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Thanks a lot to all who have replied!

To be clear, COBRA will end Nov 30th, so it is a qualifying event. It sounds like I should try to get on ACA for Dec 2015 and them renew for 2016. I was unsure how complicated it would be and if it would be worth the trouble to get Dec covered. As it sounds like renewal isn't a big deal, I believe I will give it a shot.

Are there any tips or things I should be aware of before I venture into the unknown?
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Old 09-10-2015, 10:20 AM   #13
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You can only voluntarily end COBRA during the annual ACA open enrollment period. Voluntarily ending COBRA any other time of the year is not a qualifying life event so it will not create an ACA special enrollment period.

Source: Health Reform FAQs | The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation
Great quote - In my case, that's exactly what I did, but I wasn't thinking about it. I ended cobra at the end of the year and started ACA in January of the following year. For some reason my faulty memory recalled that it was only a nonqualifying event if your employer was paying for it.

Thanks for the clarification!
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Old 09-10-2015, 10:22 AM   #14
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Thanks a lot to all who have replied!

To be clear, COBRA will end Nov 30th, so it is a qualifying event. It sounds like I should try to get on ACA for Dec 2015 and them renew for 2016. I was unsure how complicated it would be and if it would be worth the trouble to get Dec covered. As it sounds like renewal isn't a big deal, I believe I will give it a shot.

Are there any tips or things I should be aware of before I venture into the unknown?
One thing you might want to think about is, because of your timing, you will be able to see both the 2015 and 2016 plans. So you'll know ahead of time if a 2015 plan is changing in 2016 and you have the possibility of choose a plan accordingly - if that suits you.

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Old 09-10-2015, 12:05 PM   #15
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One thing you might want to think about is, because of your timing, you will be able to see both the 2015 and 2016 plans. So you'll know ahead of time if a 2015 plan is changing in 2016 and you have the possibility of choose a plan accordingly - if that suits you.

big-papa
Exactly what I was going to say....

The account is out there once you get it up and running... signing up for the next year is pretty simple... just have to verify some info, but that is quick...


I went through having company insurance.... not getting on COBRA, getting ST insurance for everybody but me (I went without), getting on ACA, getting onto a different company insurance and now back on ACA....

The one thing that I will throw out is that you NEED to keep ACA website updated.... I failed to do that and they kept billing me... I thought that just not paying would end the policy, but I was wrong.... took me more than a year to get it fixed... and I had to because I went back to BCBS when I signed up again and they wanted their back billings....


As for income, I did not go through that... I was not sure if I would get a temp job or not so I just decided to wait for my tax return... I will probably do the same this coming year as I am going to a different firm to try and get some temp jobs... (as an FYI, I have 32 years of good salary and want to get rid of 3 small years of earnings when in high school to bump up the SS... oh, and to do a few things here and there)....
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Old 09-10-2015, 12:19 PM   #16
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Exactly what I was going to say....

The account is out there once you get it up and running... signing up for the next year is pretty simple... just have to verify some info, but that is quick...


I went through having company insurance.... not getting on COBRA, getting ST insurance for everybody but me (I went without), getting on ACA, getting onto a different company insurance and now back on ACA....

The one thing that I will throw out is that you NEED to keep ACA website updated.... I failed to do that and they kept billing me... I thought that just not paying would end the policy, but I was wrong.... took me more than a year to get it fixed... and I had to because I went back to BCBS when I signed up again and they wanted their back billings....


As for income, I did not go through that... I was not sure if I would get a temp job or not so I just decided to wait for my tax return... I will probably do the same this coming year as I am going to a different firm to try and get some temp jobs... (as an FYI, I have 32 years of good salary and want to get rid of 3 small years of earnings when in high school to bump up the SS... oh, and to do a few things here and there)....
Good point on cancellation. When I went back to w*rk, I called ACA directly then I called the insurance company directly. That was mid year and the bills stopped immediately. Then in January there was some sort of snafu at the insurance company and the bills started again - sort of. I got a bill every month for 3 months, but it never showed a previous amount owed. After a couple of phonecalls to the insurance company, it was resolved.

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Old 09-10-2015, 12:39 PM   #17
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As far as being able to see 2015 ans 2016 plans, that would only be if I was enrolling after Nov 1 correct? Would you recommend that if I'm needing insurance in force Dec 1. Shouldn't I allow more time than that for it to get through the system?

As far as the cancellation, I'm not sure what you are referring to. If I was on a plan for Dec 2015 and picked a different plan for 2016, would that require cancellation of one policy and enrolling in a new one.
Sorry, but I'm having a little trouble understanding.

Thanks, Murf
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Old 09-10-2015, 12:59 PM   #18
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On seeing both the 2015 and 2016 plans, yes. You can of course look at 2015 plans right now and start to get an idea of which ones(s) you might be interested in for the month of December. Come Nov 1st, you'll be able to see all of the 2016 plans as well as the 2015 plans. Then you can figure out if the ones from 2015 that made your short-list will carry over with few changes into 2016. Or perhaps, you might decide you want something altogether different for 2016 anyway.


The comments about cancellation were our examples for when you switch from, say, ACA to a w*rk provided plan. If that happens, you need to contact ACA as well as the insurance company to cancel the ACA Plan. In my case, employment happened really quickly and I was doubly covered for 2 weeks because of the lead time required to cancel my ACA plan.
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Old 09-10-2015, 01:31 PM   #19
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As far as the cancellation, I'm not sure what you are referring to. If I was on a plan for Dec 2015 and picked a different plan for 2016, would that require cancellation of one policy and enrolling in a new one.
Sorry, but I'm having a little trouble understanding.

Thanks, Murf
If you stay in the exchange it is not a problem, the old plan ends and the new one takes over.

When you get other coverage, like an employer, you are supposed to notify the exchange and cancel your plan. It is one of several changes that should be reported to the exchange when they occur

https://www.healthcare.gov/reporting...s/cancel-plan/
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Old 09-10-2015, 02:47 PM   #20
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Thanks again. If it were you, would you wait until November to try and get insurance for December? I'm a worrier and I have visions of ending up not getting covered. I have no experience with ACA, so maybe all my worrying is unfounded.

Thanks, Murf
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