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Can you have two health insurance plans at once?
Old 06-02-2007, 08:44 AM   #1
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Can you have two health insurance plans at once?

Simple question, can you have two plans going at once from two different companies?

Just curious about it, it may lead to another question.
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Old 06-02-2007, 08:59 AM   #2
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Sure. But it doesn't make sense since both won't pay for the same claim. And if you try to hide the fact you are filing claims with two separate insurance carriers, that's fraudulent...and subject to criminal prosecution.

Exception: It's OK to have supplemental insurance as many people do under Medicare.
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Old 06-02-2007, 09:06 AM   #3
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Sure. But it doesn't make sense since both won't pay for the same claim. And if you try to hide the fact you are filing claims with two separate insurance carriers, that's fraudulent...and subject to criminal prosecution.

Exception: It's OK to have supplemental insurance as many people do under Medicare.
Of course fraud isn't acceptable. Here's the idea. If you can have two at once, then would it make sense to apply for the lowest cost insurance you can find with the highest possible deductible, say a year or two before I quit my job to start early ret. The reason would be, if I had a terrible health condition that I would need to use my company policy on during that last year, that might cause me to not get personal insurance after I quit, then I would already have the other policy in place, but I would have applied for it before I had the bad health condition, therefore it would just carry through to the other policy after I quit. I would not use two at once, but would have been granted the other policy at a time of good health.
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Old 06-02-2007, 09:08 AM   #4
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I believe that this is what Dawg52 did a year or two before he retired.
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Old 06-02-2007, 09:11 AM   #5
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I believe that this is what Dawg52 did a year or two before he retired.
I would like to hear from him. It seems like it could be a smart idea, but I need other opinions on it.

Basically, I really wouldn't use the low cost policy at all until I quit, then I would change it to a little higher cost, better coverage plan after my company plan was terminated. Another question, if an ongoing problem is being treated under the company plan, then I quit and terminate that plan, how is the treatment continued, under the unused plan? Does it pick up the health issue? How does that work, considering I have had the "unused" plan for a year, and truthfully applied for it in good faith before the example health problem I am discussing here appeared? Seems like it would get complicated, but how does the industry deal with this scenario?
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Old 06-02-2007, 09:12 AM   #6
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Of course fraud isn't acceptable. Here's the idea. If you can have two at once, then would it make sense to apply for the lowest cost insurance you can find with the highest possible deductible, say a year or two before I quit my job to start early ret. The reason would be, if I had a terrible health condition that I would need to use my company policy on during that last year, that might cause me to not get personal insurance after I quit, then I would already have the other policy in place, but I would have applied for it before I had the bad health condition, therefore it would just carry through to the other policy after I quit. I would not use two at once, but would have been granted the other policy at a time of good health.

OK, now I understand. Makes perfect sense to me if you think the peace of mind you'll get is worth the extra cost of the second policy.
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Old 06-02-2007, 09:26 AM   #7
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I think I proposed the same thing the other day...picking up a decent backup policy while working so you have a lower cost option to cobra/hipaa.

It gets a little expensive if you dont prepare a bit. Cobra for us is $1340 a month. Regular family plan of similar stature is $890. That same plan if we do a Cobra->hipaa conversion after 18 months of cobra is $1250-1350 depending on rate zone.

The only thing I've heard about with regards to having multiple plans is having one insurer become aware of the other, and trying to force claims through the other insurer rather than through themselves. You'll need to read the fine print on both policies to see how their payment process works with regards to other available insurance, if any.

I took a shot at applying for a basic family plan through one of the large local insurers yesterday. I guess because I want to see exactly how fast it takes an insurer to scream "NO!". I'm fairly sure that among one of the 9000 pages I flipped through was a line that said that I certify that i'm not currently covered by any other policy.

By the way, I more or less had this when I initially ER'ed. I applied for and got an HMO coverage plan 3 months before I quit working and was still on the work group plan.
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Old 06-02-2007, 02:08 PM   #8
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my private policy specifically had me declare that i was covered by no other policy.

my previous policy was a group plan by the same insurance company (different carrier) as my private plan. i had to cancel (by then the cobra version of) the old group plan the day before the new private plan took effect.

my only ongoing treatment was for glaucoma, coverage of which was halted as soon as the new private plan took hold because then it was considered pre-existing, even though i stayed with the same company.

if you are concerned about developing a pre-existing condition while now employed before being with your new private company for at least 6 months (note: they often exclude coverage for a new illness for which you show symptoms within the first 6 months of the policy) then i would consider starting a private policy while employed and asking the employer to drop you from their group plan and perhaps offering you some compensation in place of the plan. i certainly wouldn't consider cobra for even a day if i could avoid it so as to get in with the private plan to start that 6 month exclusionary period asap.

at least that is how i would have played it had i known otherwise before i quit working.
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Old 06-02-2007, 04:07 PM   #9
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I'm not sure how it works under two different insurance companies, but I did have two Blue Cross policies: my regular one from work and the very high-deductible one I bought on my own a year before ER. For that year, I got penalized all the time for having two policies. BCBS admitted this was the case and even has a special term for it. Although the employer policy was in effect and paid more, it no longer paid for what it used to. Instead, I was always paying completely out of pocket due to the $10,000 deductible policy, which was the one BCBS used. I would give the employer card to the pharmacy or a doctor, but when the claim was submitted, BCBS wouldn't pay on the employer policy because they knew I had the individual policy that didn't pay for much except catastrophic. I didn't want the individual policy to be used until RE---I just wanted to buy it in plenty of time so that I had it, but BCBS didn't see it that way!
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Old 06-02-2007, 04:11 PM   #10
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Your specific plans aside, there is comething called "coordination of benefits." You won't receive any more benefits that those of the broader or better-paying plan.

They talk. They know. They don't pay.

I'd be surprised if there are many strategies where the duplicate premiums are worth it in the end.

Good luck with whatever strategy you choose. Keep us posted.
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As if you didn't know..If the above message contains medical content, it's NOT intended as advice, and may not be accurate, applicable or sufficient. Don't rely on it for any purpose. Consult your own doctor for all medical advice.
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Old 06-02-2007, 06:40 PM   #11
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Quote:
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I'm not sure how it works under two different insurance companies, but I did have two Blue Cross policies: my regular one from work and the very high-deductible one I bought on my own a year before ER. For that year, I got penalized all the time for having two policies. BCBS admitted this was the case and even has a special term for it. Although the employer policy was in effect and paid more, it no longer paid for what it used to. Instead, I was always paying completely out of pocket due to the $10,000 deductible policy, which was the one BCBS used. I would give the employer card to the pharmacy or a doctor, but when the claim was submitted, BCBS wouldn't pay on the employer policy because they knew I had the individual policy that didn't pay for much except catastrophic. I didn't want the individual policy to be used until RE---I just wanted to buy it in plenty of time so that I had it, but BCBS didn't see it that way!
I think you should appeal. My understanding (possibly wrong) is that you should get the benefits of the better policy. DW and I had two policies for a while (mine thru Government and hers thru her firm). We always got the better of the two but the coordination was a PITA. Eventually she dropped the (free) firm policy and got a little cash instead.
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Old 06-21-2007, 09:07 AM   #12
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I have two plans. I am on husbands for a low cost way to get dental benefits and a flexible benefit plan. I have my own Federal HMO to cover my medical (don't submit dupl benefits) and after 5 years of payment will carry into retirement. I am always concerned that a spouse can be dropped from a retirement plan so I am covering myself. Also, if husband loses his insurance, he can pick up my Federal policy. Gives us a lot of flexibility for a relatively low cost.
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Old 06-21-2007, 05:05 PM   #13
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In Colorado, when you purchase an individual policy, they make you sign a replacement form making you promise that you intend to replace your old coverage with your new coverage, and that you understand that the benefits on the new plan may or may not be the same as your old benefits. However, you don't have to show proof that your old policy is cancelled.

I had a client with a situation where her x-husband would put his kids on and off of employer sponsored with each new job he got or got fired from. Apparently, he couldn't hold a job. The mother got real tired of having to put her kids through re-underwriting each time the x lost a job (she was self-employed and didn't have employer sponsored coverage). I called the insurance carrier and asked if the child could keep her individual policy even if her dad put her on a group plan and explained the situation. The carrier said it would be OK to keep the child on the individual plan, even if it meant she had duplicate coverage. - One of the insurance's would be primary and the other would be secondary. I'm fairly certian that the individual policy automatically takes precedence as the "primary" policy over the group coverage. There are certain rules and regulations as to which policy becomes primary and which one becomes secondary when someone has double coverage. It's not necessarily the one that pays more that is going to be primary.

For example, if two spouses each have their own employer sponsored coverage, and they each carry each other on each other's plan, their own employer sponsored plans will be primary, and the one that they are the dependent on will be secondary. You can't just pick which one you want to use based on how it pays out.
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