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Health Insurance Continuation & Moving
Old 07-30-2007, 07:30 PM   #1
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Health Insurance Continuation & Moving

One of the few things good about NY laws is that I can continue my employer group health insurance after I retire and after the COBRA runs out- preexisting conditions will not be an issue.
BUT I don't want to stay in NY. However, if I move to another State, will I be able to maintain my NY State based health insurance, both while still covered by COBRA & after it expires? The States I am thinking of are PA, VT, Fla or NC.

Thanks
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Old 07-30-2007, 08:00 PM   #2
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I think it is a contract-specific question, so a call to your benefits person (anonymously if necessary) may be in order.

My Blue Cross insurance covers me elsewhere.
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Old 07-30-2007, 09:51 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LIPhotoMan View Post
One of the few things good about NY laws is that I can continue my employer group health insurance after I retire and after the COBRA runs out- preexisting conditions will not be an issue.
BUT I don't want to stay in NY. However, if I move to another State, will I be able to maintain my NY State based health insurance, both while still covered by COBRA & after it expires? The States I am thinking of are PA, VT, Fla or NC.

Thanks
If the Cobra is Blue Cross you can live anywhere in the US and use their network of doctors. If it's an HMO and you move while on Cobra you may be able to keep it but the doctors will be in NY only so it really wont work.

After the Cobra expires in order to maintain a NY policy you need to be a NY resident. And the premiums are very high since it is a guarantee issue state. So if you have a NY address to use, file a NY state income tax and pay over $1200 a month for one person it would be possible to live in another state with a NY policy. Not a very good option.

The way to go is move and stay on Cobra until it expires. Then apply in you new state for coverage in the open market. If their are pre existing condition apply under the Hippa law which will still be costly.
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Old 07-31-2007, 12:03 AM   #4
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Also, if you reapply in the individual market, keep in mind that many of those policies are not portable (without undergoing underwriting). You have to ask. I know that Assurant Health and Aetna are portable (it is actually in my Aetna contract). BCBS individual coverage is rarely, if ever, portable across state lines. Although their group policies usually are portable.

I recently got good private individual health insurance after I semi-retired. Portability was a must-have for me. This limited my choices to, perhaps, half the available individual policies that were otherwise price competitive. I also made sure that the portable policies that I was considering operated in the states that I was considering moving to. When you move, you pay the corresponding prevailing rates in your new zip code.

Personally, I would never stay with company group insurance if I could get individual insurance on my own that was less expensive by a fair margin. If I could not get something better, though, then I would stay with the group plan, of course.

Kramer
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Old 07-31-2007, 08:27 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rich_in_Tampa View Post
My Blue Cross insurance covers me elsewhere.
It may cover you traveling elsewhere, but when you move
to another state, you have to re-apply to a new BCBS,
its not like one big company, but more like 50+ small ones
with the same name.
TJ
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Old 07-31-2007, 08:39 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by teejayevans View Post
It may cover you traveling elsewhere, but when you move
to another state, you have to re-apply to a new BCBS,
its not like one big company, but more like 50+ small ones
with the same name.
That's incorrect. Mine covers me if I move. There's a network of BCBS providers that I can use indefinitely and regardless of state of residence.
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Old 07-31-2007, 09:00 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rich_in_Tampa View Post
That's incorrect. Mine covers me if I move. There's a network of BCBS providers that I can use indefinitely and regardless of state of residence.
Thats interesting, because when I contacted my NC BCBS about moving to
PA, that's not what they told me. Yes, I can use the network of providers,
HOWEVER, if I change state of residence, I would have to reapply to the
new state BCBS.
See Kramer's append as well about this policy, its important to
distinguish between visiting another state and actually changing
residency.
TJ
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Old 07-31-2007, 10:39 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by teejayevans View Post
Thats interesting, because when I contacted my NC BCBS about moving to
PA, that's not what they told me. Yes, I can use the network of providers,
HOWEVER, if I change state of residence, I would have to reapply to the
new state BCBS.
See Kramer's append as well about this policy, its important to
distinguish between visiting another state and actually changing
residency.
TJ
I received the same information. Each BCBS is a seperate entity.
Each state has different guidelines and rates.

Rich maybe your BCBS is a retirement policy offered through your place of employment with a custom made policy for employees.
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Old 07-31-2007, 10:51 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Florida View Post
I received the same information. Each BCBS is a Rich maybe your BCBS is a retirement policy offered through your place of employment with a custom made policy for employees.
It's a "continuation policy" covering state employees after retirement (on our personal nickel, alas).
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Old 07-31-2007, 01:02 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Rich_in_Tampa View Post
It's a "continuation policy" covering state employees after retirement (on our personal nickel, alas).
Rich, yes as I stated in my post BCBS group plans are different and are usually portable (one needs to read the fine print on their particular group policy). But BCBS individual private market policies are generally not portable for state of residence. Although one is free to travel and is covered while traveling out-of-state, etc., one can't change state of residence without going through underwriting again as if you are a new customer. This is a huge disadvantage to BCBS insurance unless you are sure you are not going to move.

And sometimes even group plans don't offer the desired portability, so it is important to research the details. I have a 55 year old friend who retired from Kaiser due to medical problems, gets free lifetime health coverage, and wants to move from Southern California to Carolina (I forget North or South). But Kaiser does not operate there, or in most places in the US, so her options are limited in that respect. She is deciding whether it is worth traveling 200+ miles to Atlanta, the location of Kaiser's closest facility, for medical if she relocates (something I would not recommend).

Kramer
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Old 07-31-2007, 06:56 PM   #11
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So I guess it is pretty unclear - and will vary in accordance with my Group policy & the State I move to.
The problem I have (I think?) in getting an individual policy is that I have a couple of preexisting conditions (unfortunately something I share with the VP) & I am sure that will affect my insurability. And in NY they cannot turn me down because of that (But I suppose they can make the premium prohibitive? ). But if I move to PA, for example I would think they'd look for any excuse to not insure me due to that.
And getting a copy of the policy from my employer has not proven easy - although I suppose that now that I am going to be paying on my own under COBRA, I think they'll have to give me a copy of the entire policy (they've only provided a summary). Then I can spend about 100 hours trying to read & understand that.

Thanks
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Old 07-31-2007, 08:23 PM   #12
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But if I move to PA, for example I would think they'd look for any excuse to not insure me due to that.
In PA, there is no limit to how much the insurance company can charge,
I believe BCBS must offer you some coverage (I get confused between
all the different states when I was doing research), but the sky is the
limit when it comes to the premium.
TJ
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Old 07-31-2007, 08:26 PM   #13
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You say you are thinking about NC? I'll tell you what I was quoted here by BCBS. I have a preexisting condition so take that for what it is worth.

over $10,000/year with a $5,000 deductible. Might wanna look at another state.
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Old 07-31-2007, 09:48 PM   #14
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OUCH!
I assume NY is even higher priced than NC though.

I wish I qualified for residence in Canada.
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Old 08-01-2007, 12:50 AM   #15
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So I guess it is pretty unclear - and will vary in accordance with my Group policy & the State I move to.
The problem I have (I think?) in getting an individual policy is that I have a couple of preexisting conditions (unfortunately something I share with the VP) & I am sure that will affect my insurability. And in NY they cannot turn me down because of that (But I suppose they can make the premium prohibitive? ). But if I move to PA, for example I would think they'd look for any excuse to not insure me due to that.
And getting a copy of the policy from my employer has not proven easy - although I suppose that now that I am going to be paying on my own under COBRA, I think they'll have to give me a copy of the entire policy (they've only provided a summary). Then I can spend about 100 hours trying to read & understand that.

Thanks
I recently got a detailed copy of my entire insurance contract. It only took me about two hours to go over in detail, and it was quite easy to understand. Personally, I would not tolerate not being able to get the information from your employer and would escalate it if you have problems. I am guessing that your group policy will be portable -- other BCBS group policy holders on this forum seem to have portability -- but you will have to verify.

Also, you will want to understand the insurance rules for the state to which you want to move, particularly if you will try to go with an individual policy (the link to the rules for each state has been posted many times in this forum). Also, if you really are uninsurable (are you really sure about that?), you will want to find out more about the high risk pool of your destination state. And you will want to understand the HIPAA rules well. For instance, I think (?) the Florida state high risk pool is in pretty bad shape.

Also, if you try for private coverage, you can work with an insurance broker to help you out before you even move. I got health insurance at my new address a month and half before I actually moved there.

Best wishes. Unfortunately, it requires a lot of work and research to handle this situation properly. I hope that health insurance coverage does not become a barrier to moving to where you would like to live.

Kramer
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Old 08-01-2007, 02:11 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by LIPhotoMan View Post
So I guess it is pretty unclear - and will vary in accordance with my Group policy & the State I move to.
The problem I have (I think?) in getting an individual policy is that I have a couple of preexisting conditions (unfortunately something I share with the VP) & I am sure that will affect my insurability. And in NY they cannot turn me down because of that (But I suppose they can make the premium prohibitive? ). But if I move to PA, for example I would think they'd look for any excuse to not insure me due to that.
And getting a copy of the policy from my employer has not proven easy - although I suppose that now that I am going to be paying on my own under COBRA, I think they'll have to give me a copy of the entire policy (they've only provided a summary). Then I can spend about 100 hours trying to read & understand that.

Thanks

LIphoto, you HAVE to get a policy in all 50 states, some will cost more than others.

If you stay in NY use Cobra for 18 months and then take one of the plans in the open market. NY is guarantee issue, you have to get in but its expensive.
If you move to another guarantee issue state its the same they have to take you even before Cobra runs out if you choose.

If you move to a state that underwrites and would reject you because of pre existing conditions you still can get a policy. Wait until Cobra expires and then apply under the Hippa law (its a Federal law). Insurance companies in that state must offer you a choice of 2 plans under Hippa. Costs will be about 200% of the open market price. Maybe $700 - $800 for a middle aged guy.
North Carolina is more expensive not sure why. Dont move there. Consider Florida or Pa.

And there are about 30 other states that have health risk pools for those who can not get insurance. If you are Hippa eligible they will take you. If you are not Hippa eligible and you can not get insurance in the open market they will take you anyway. Show them a rejection letter from the insurance company that turned you down. Premiums are about 200% of standard rate. Some states Minnesota and New Mexico have minimal premiums.
Ensure you do not let 63 days pass from the day your Cobra ends to get a new policy. That will create problems.

Excluding NC which I have not much knowledge of NY will be the most expensive. BCBS PPO over $1200 a month.

Underwritng states apply under Hippa maybe $800. Risk pools about the same.
Some states are cheaper.
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Old 08-01-2007, 07:26 AM   #17
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You say you are thinking about NC? I'll tell you what I was quoted here by BCBS. I have a preexisting condition so take that for what it is worth.

over $10,000/year with a $5,000 deductible. Might wanna look at another state.
That's not bad actually, depending on your age and pc.
TJ
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Old 08-01-2007, 08:10 AM   #18
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Sorry, I should have added this info. I'm female and 40. That seems pretty bad to me. I think NC is one of the highest states.
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Old 08-01-2007, 12:47 PM   #19
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Sorry, I should have added this info. I'm female and 40. That seems pretty bad to me. I think NC is one of the highest states.
That seems horribly high. I am one year older, male, and just got a similar policy in California for about $1000/year. You might want to shop around, if that is even possible with your condition.

Kramer
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Old 08-01-2007, 01:28 PM   #20
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BCBS is the guaranteed company in NC. The one that has to offer insurance. I was not able to get it from any other company. From what I understand NC has the highest rates in the US.
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