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  • Personal health insurance

    I am still in the rat race chasing $$ all over the place but my wife and I want to break free.
    Presently I pay about $800 per month and my company pays about $1000 per month for my dental, vision and health insurances.
    if I quit my job, I expect my income to reduce by about 75%. I am looking to insurance as one of the places I can reduce spending.
    What are our options if we live in our cabin in rural Alaska? Obviously COBRA is out. Also, doing totally without is out. Neither of us qualifies for military and we are both in our mid 50’s.
    Without going into too many personal details, what works for you?
    Nick Clegg
    Husband, Father, Hunter,
    Usually in that order
    http://nixoutdoorpursuits.blogspot.com/

  • #2
    Do keep in mind the option to use COBRA to buy you time to find and enroll in a new plan.

    Until recently, COBRA timelines have been:

    The employer has 30 days to notify their Plan Administrator (PA) of the employee’s change of status. If the plan is administered inhouse (by the employer) this timeline does not apply.

    The Plan Administrator (PA) then has 14 day to notify previous employee (PE) of the right to COBRA

    The PE then has 60 days from date of that notice to notify the PA that he/she is electing COBRA. But this does not commit the PE to anything, as below.

    The PE then has another 45 days from the date they elected, as above, to pay the first month’s premium.

    It was my practice as an employer to provide our departing employees as much time as possible under the above timelines to find their new insurance plan. Our plan was administered by an external/contracted Plan Administrator. We would wait to notify the PA of the employee’s change of status until the 25th day after loss of employer coverage, give or take a weekend.

    The PA would then take a week or more to provide the former employee notice of their COBRA rights.

    The PE then had 60 days after the date of that notice to elect COBRA by notifying the PA in writing.

    Then the former employee then had another 45 days to make the first payment of premium.

    These typical timelines thus gave the PE as much as 140 + days of potential (meaning still optional) COBRA coverage without paying anything. If a need arose during that period, the PE could immediately pay the first month’s premium and obtain benefit.

    A caveat, however: that premium, even if paid late into the timelines, is only for the first month of COBRA coverage beginning the date of loss of the previous coverage (termination of employment), so if the need arose later into the timelines the PE would need to pay multiple premiums as needed to be covered at the time of the need.

    But that never happened. In many, many cases over nearly 20 years, using the timelines was a fallback plan if needed, but it was never needed. It just gave the PE an extension of time to enroll in a new plan. This extension of time ironically was of most benefit to employees who were involuntarily terminated, because they did not anticipate a need for new insurance like employees who are planning to terminate.

    If you as a PE who elects COBRA fail to pay the first month’s premium within the timeline allowed, you simply lose your right to continued coverage with no penalty. You were covered if needed and if you paid the premium(s), but if it was not needed – no harm, no foul, no cost.

    Now something new and important: all the above timelines were before COVID. The Department of Labor recently issued new timelines applicable while COVID remains a declared national health emergency.

    Here are two URL.s that discuss what is known to be greatly loosened, and what questions remain. I have not studied these in detail but the thrust seems to be that during COVID the timelines above are set aside or greatly extended. The downside of course is that also extends the time you would have to pay multiple premiums for coverage, when and if needed. So you still would want to move to a new plan asap.

    https://www.simplicityhr.com/benefit...bra-deadlines/

    https://www.lathropgpm.com/newsletter-72553.html

    The upshot here is don’t be afraid to use COBRA timelines to your own benefit. Talk to your employer Human Resources office or your PA to be sure all the above is still accurate. You should have access to this info in an employee handbook, as well. A few thousand dollars in premiums may well be a bargain if you encounter a catastrophic need before your new plan becomes effective.

    Comment


    • #3
      Excellent answer and packed with information. My take away is that I can utilize the system to give myself time to find another option. Thanks.
      now I just need to figure out what those options are. Thanks again.
      Nick Clegg
      Husband, Father, Hunter,
      Usually in that order
      http://nixoutdoorpursuits.blogspot.com/

      Comment


      • #4
        I have never used this type of insurance but know several families that have and are satisfied.
        And there are others.
        Catholic Healthcare Ministry

        Comment


        • #5
          I'm pretty much in the same boat as you. Unfortunately, I have yet to identify an insurance provider that is comparably priced and offer comparable coverage to work provided plans. So much so, that my wife's retirement date (she still works) has been put on hold until my cancer situation gets resolved. However, I am following this thread with interest.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by the nikster View Post
            I am still in the rat race chasing $$ all over the place but my wife and I want to break free.
            Presently I pay about $800 per month and my company pays about $1000 per month for my dental, vision and health insurances.
            if I quit my job, I expect my income to reduce by about 75%. I am looking to insurance as one of the places I can reduce spending.
            What are our options if we live in our cabin in rural Alaska? Obviously COBRA is out. Also, doing totally without is out. Neither of us qualifies for military and we are both in our mid 50’s.
            Without going into too many personal details, what works for you?
            You are looking to move to the state with the highest health care costs in a country with some of the highest health care costs in the world. It's one of the reasons I'll be working into my sixties.

            But to your question, isn't this what the ACA is for? If your income is going to drop by 75% you may qualify for subsidies.

            Comment


            • #7
              Affordable policies have extremely high deductibles, and for many folks has basically become catastrophic insurance. Read carefully before signing up for anything- many programs sound good but are not what they seem. Many found the “affordable” care act was not. As suggested, use Cobra to buy time if needed, but be ready to pay through the nose. Look at your needs (realistic, not hoped for), medical conditions, aging body and eyes, etc. there are many providers here who are excellent, but there is a reason that Providence (largest employer in the state) prefers employees to go out of state for major procedures as the costs here are so high.

              Comment

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