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View Poll Results: So what do YOU do?
Buy cobra 9 45.00%
Buy a policy just to cover our son and eat our own medical costs out of pocket 3 15.00%
Try to apply for a policy on our own, using hippa and our certificate of creditable coverage 1 5.00%
Issue an ultimatum to the employer to assure that they'll cover her by 6/1 3 15.00%
Stop worrying about it and let the corporate wheels continue to grind to their inevitable conclusion 4 20.00%
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So what do YOU do?
Old 05-25-2007, 11:33 AM   #1
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So what do YOU do?

EDIT: okay, that was weird...post wanted me to fill in the poll AFTER I finished typing the text and submitting, but I wanted the options I had in the text for the poll items and clicked the back button...then it wouldnt let me repost for 30 seconds, then wouldnt let me add the poll...so second post I guess... :P BLAH!

Wow, I think this is my first new thread on the new board software. How exciting!!!

So back to our ongoing and seemingly never ending health care issue...

For those who need the "Previously on...CFB...." (dramatic music): Wife is changing jobs, her old health care stopped 4/1, we have a cobra offer for ~$1340 a month, our new health care should start on 6/1, and the new health care provider doesnt care about preexisting conditions. Presuming the new policy actually starts on 6/1, we'd also have no gaps in continuous coverage since the gap is less than 63 days.

So here's the new pickle. Wife was sent home with a sack of books, papers and other odds and ends. I read through it all. Seemed very confusing as to which medical policies they had and with whom...three choices, separate books for each, some seemingly specific to her company, some generic, no prices, no forms.

Set that aside, since they already said she wouldnt be eligible until 6/1. Based on our prior job experiences, companies enrolled you to your benefits or sat down with you to fill out the forms.

Well, of course she mentions it a few weeks ago to the benefits guy and he tells her she was supposed to find a form in that pile o' stuff (which wasnt there), pick her care (without IMO any decent information or pricing), and submit it by 5/1. It was 5/3.

So she is then told that she's too late to submit, will have to wait for open enrollment in October, but they can have the CEO write a letter to resolve the matter.

To make a long story short, said letter has been written and sent twice, she'd been bugging the HR guy daily, he assures all will be well, but whenever she talks to the insurer she gets the same "sorry, but you were late and cant enroll until October".

This smacks of my recollections of corporate shenanigans where everyone screws around and consumes 20 hours of time and at the last moment, a diving catch makes someone a hero, everyones worked up, and nothing changes to the process to make it work better. Seems like a lot of people at this company are having the same 'problem'.

So we have some choices.

1) buy cobra, eat the huge cost (2700 right now to assure we're covered to 6/1 and 1340 a month thereafter)
2) buy a policy just to cover our son and eat our own medical costs out of pocket
3) try to apply for a policy on our own, using hippa and our certificate of creditable coverage, which of course expires on 6/1...and I dont know if we just have to APPLY by then or have been accepted by then.
4) Issue an ultimatum to the employer to assure that they'll cover her by 6/1 or she walks for a company that will cover her by 6/1
5) Stop worrying about it and let the corporate wheels continue to grind to their inevitable conclusion.

At this point, 3 months of Cobra costs more than buying our own meds out of pocket for a year.

One other interesting tidbit was the HR guy telling my wife that they HAVE to get her health care because its illegal in california to have an employee and not offer them healthcare benefits. Which sounds great but is something I never heard of before.
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Old 05-25-2007, 12:06 PM   #2
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Price out a high ded policy and go that route till settled? Hopefully a lot less than $1340 a month.
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Old 05-25-2007, 12:10 PM   #3
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We looked at that as an option...it'd run around $350 a month and might not be considered as continuous coverage because the coverage would be significantly different from the coverage we had up until 4/1. Debatable item it seems.
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Look into temporary health insurance
Old 05-25-2007, 12:16 PM   #4
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Look into temporary health insurance

Have you investigated temporary policies? Typically premiums are lower than for normal insurance, because the insurance company's exposure has a definite cutoff date.

I think all the big companies have such policies ... I just got an online quote from BS of CA.

Of course this only helps if there are no significant current medical issues.

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Old 05-25-2007, 12:20 PM   #5
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You suggest there are job alternatives, she has marketable skills. You say this is their fault, no form, no clear communication of enrolment deadline.
If no result by 5/31, then pay Cobra and either suck it up or walk.
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Old 05-25-2007, 12:45 PM   #6
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With your millions, surely you can afford to pay for regular visits should the need arise until the insurance kicks in?

Oh, and give up the cigarettes, cut back on red meat, and get regular exercise.
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Old 05-25-2007, 01:07 PM   #7
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I might be mistaken on this, but it's something to ask the HR guy. In CO, even on large groups there is a 30 day GRACE PERIOD from the date of eligibility (6/1) to turn in the application. I don't understand why Kaiser won't accept the app right now. It shouldn't have to be turned in 30 days early....technically, Federal Law allows you to have a 30 day GRACE PERIOD after the DATE OF ELIGIBILITY (the qualifying event) to get the application in. Hmmm....I don't understand what the big problem is here between Kaiser and HR.

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Old 05-25-2007, 01:13 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by cute fuzzy bunny View Post
. . .So we have some choices.

1) buy cobra, eat the huge cost (2700 right now to assure we're covered to 6/1 and 1340 a month thereafter)
2) buy a policy just to cover our son and eat our own medical costs out of pocket
3) try to apply for a policy on our own, using hippa and our certificate of creditable coverage, which of course expires on 6/1...and I dont know if we just have to APPLY by then or have been accepted by then.
4) Issue an ultimatum to the employer to assure that they'll cover her by 6/1 or she walks for a company that will cover her by 6/1
5) Stop worrying about it and let the corporate wheels continue to grind to their inevitable conclusion.

. . .
At this point, you may find it is already too late to do 2) or 3). My own experience buying health insurance indicates that underwriters need months to do their thing.

My own inclination would be to force the company to cover me starting June 1. I would never issue an ultimatum, though. That puts you in a corner you don't want to negotiate from. I'm fairly confident that if I were working for a company like this, I could make enough people miserable for long enough that it would be easier to deal with me and my problem than it would be to ignore me. But that's an approach that most people are not really comfortable with. If you aren't willing to devote significant energy to making other people uncomfortable, you will fail. And, of course, it has negative consequences that you have to live with later.

So assuming your wife wants to be nicer than I would be, I would say you are stuck with 1) and 5). Do both.
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Old 05-25-2007, 04:12 PM   #9
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To make a long story short, said letter has been written and sent twice, she'd been bugging the HR guy daily, he assures all will be well, but whenever she talks to the insurer she gets the same "sorry, but you were late and cant enroll until October".

The HR person who is responsible for medical coverage has an assigned contact at the insurer and is likely working through the issue with that contact -- hence the assurances that all will be well. When your DW calls the insurer, she is likely talking to a customer service rep who can only give her the standard spiel.

At least this was my experience from my previous employers...and in several instances, we did have to go to the insurer and have the paperwork expedited to make sure that a new employee was included despite missing some deadline. FWIW, in every case the insurer cooperated.
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Old 05-26-2007, 08:36 AM   #10
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You might have yet another possibility. I would elect COBRA within the 60 day time period for election. You don't want to risk a gap in coverage. However, you should have 45 days thereafter to pay the premium. Look at your COBRA notice to be sure, but I am pretty sure that is the case. If all works out with insurance at the new company you could simply fail to submit the premium.
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Old 05-26-2007, 10:07 AM   #11
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Martha - I did that. Payment is due 6/1...two months worth...which would then extend the whole mess by a month.

But I keep looking at that $2700 and thinking of all the other things I'd much rather do with it than try to spackle over some corporate bureaucracy.
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Old 05-26-2007, 10:13 AM   #12
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Besides, i'd spend the money and then the HR bozo's would tell her on 6/2 that she was now covered.

Then I'd have to kill someone.
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Old 05-26-2007, 12:40 PM   #13
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CFB --

Sounds like a real PITA situation, but I'd vote for what Martha said. EVEN if it means you're out $2700 dollars for nothing. The flip side can be pretty devastating... Bear in mind that I'm coming from years in ICU, but I've seen way too many families hit by the totally unexpected.

My own healthy little family (honest!) has had one case of pneumonia (4 days in ICU - 16 yr. old daughter 2003), 1 brain tumor (14 yr. old -other daughter 2004) and one hot appy (me - emergency surgery instead of work that day 2006) in the last 5 years. I could have predicted NONE of those situations even 2 days before their occurrence/diagnosis. All were fairly big ticket items after years of practically NO medical bills.

Hopefully your situation will be resolved before 6/1.

If not and things go well, you can be ticked off about wasting money on Cobra.

OTOH, if you happen to need it, you'll be patting yourself on the back for keeping other parts of your anatomy covered during that gap!

kj

BTW, your wife's insurance story reminds me of things I hear about the TE*ET operation here in Texas...
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Old 05-26-2007, 12:58 PM   #14
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I'd do COBRA simply because I never want to have an uninsured period. Once you are uninsured, new companies can claim you have a pre-existing condition.
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Old 05-29-2007, 08:42 PM   #15
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Well, this is getting stupider by the minute.

Wife's been putting pressure on everyone at work about getting the benefits in place by 6/1, as the local benefits guy promised.

Finally, her manager comes back today and says that "the computer just CANT do it", and that their proposed solution is to basically unemploy her, have her do per diem work for a couple of weeks, then reemploy her, and then she'll be eligible again after a full calendar month + one day. So in short, we wouldnt get benefits until 8/1 at the earliest, and we're going to have to pay cobra for the past 2 months and 2-3 more months...net cost to us due to the apparently implacable bureaucracy will be about 7k.

Since we're going to be paying our own way healthcare wise for apparently some time, and another job would probably start her benefits in 30 days, it seems we're going to tell them to go take a hike.

So next fun question: for a company tripping all over itself and making unkept promises about benefits, do you give them two weeks notice or two minutes?
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Old 05-29-2007, 08:56 PM   #16
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So next fun question: for a company tripping all over itself and making unkept promises about benefits, do you give them two weeks notice or two minutes?
I guess it would depend on how much trouble they can cause her with references, etc. Certainly you don't owe them anything.

Ha
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Old 05-29-2007, 09:02 PM   #17
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Absolutely zero. Her old boss (for 11 years) will give her all the references she needs. All of her former peers, many of which do per diem work at the other hospitals she's applying to, will all offer positive peer references.

I'm just a little stuck on whether to keep with the professionalism of giving the usual standard 2 weeks, or telling them she'd love to but her computer just wont allow it!

Wondering also if she should be upfront with prospective employers about this little screw up, or just pretend they never existed...we just moved, she left her old job in our old town 2 months ago, and now she's looking for a new job...

Here's the other twist...she was scheduled to be the 'extra person' tomorrow, not really needed...and her boss had one of the other employees call her after the boss left for the day to tell her that they didnt need the extra person anymore, so she didnt have to come in...

Either its just a cigar or she pushed too many people a little too hard...
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Old 05-30-2007, 06:18 AM   #18
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That DID escalate, didn't it?

I think I'd give an immediate two weeks notice and be quite verbal about why... "I must have health insurance for my family. I simply cannot afford to work here without it." Make sure they all know that is the reason she's leaving.

They've had an opportunity to get to know your wife a bit, and invested in her orientation so MAYBE someone there will figure out how to get the job done when they realize she's going to walk. If not, it's their loss.

In the meantime, she looks for a new position. If the new place INSISTED she start immediately (most won't), well that could be worked out.

Do you guys have any hospitals around that offer "Day 1 benefits"? We have at least 2 organizations here that do (I worked for one of them - also carrying the insurance for my gang for years). They often will mention benefits on their website if they are worth bragging about.

I know she doesn't need the references BUT I usually advise younger nurses not to p*ss anyone off too terribly when they depart if they can avoid it. I can't tell you how small the world of nursing becomes over the years - lots of mobile folks - and that can serve you in either direction. (I can't go to a hospital in my area of town without knowing someone that works in -or runs- the unit. If I wanted/needed a job there, I'd want them sharing positives.) Just a thought...
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Old 05-30-2007, 06:31 AM   #19
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Forgot this part:

Here's the other twist...she was scheduled to be the 'extra person' tomorrow, not really needed...and her boss had one of the other employees call her after the boss left for the day to tell her that they didnt need the extra person anymore, so she didnt have to come in...

Can't speak to her circumstance but that's been pretty routine at the hospitals where I've worked -- staff is adjusted for census. Usually done in rotation so that the same person isn't called off over and over (being new, your wife might be at the top of the list). The charge nurse typically makes the calls, but if she's swamped, it might be another nurse or the unit secretary.
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Old 05-30-2007, 04:33 PM   #20
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Thanks for the info.

So I threw in the towel and overnighted our check for two months of cobra today...$2700 for past coverage we didnt use. Another $1330 due at the end of this month.

My wife put her resume in at every hospital in the area, and at a couple of per diem staffing places.

We're just going to tell the current employer to put her on per diem and leave her there. Between the extra pay per diem workers get over regular workers and not having to make payroll contributions for insurance, the two will practically cover our cobra payments.
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