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valliali

Switching Insurance?

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I am currently on an independent health insurance plan through Blue Shield in my state. Fortunately, I signed up for the health insurance plan right after returning from Africa, and before I got sick, so I had no pre-existing conditions. I am young, so I pay a low monthly cost and have a very good PPO insurance in return.

I want to move to another state in order to be closer to an ill parent. I would be eligible to transfer my Blue Shield of CA to the other state, however, instead of paying the $150 per month that I pay now, I would be paying around $600-700. This is unaffordable for me. I could probably find another job that offers insurance, but I worry a great deal that because my health is not so great on the east coast (much worse than here in CA), I would not be able to work and would lose my work's insurance. Also, I don't know that I can go the six months without seeking medical care or medications necessary to not be excluded for the 12 months from a group insurance policy.

I am very happy with my insurance here and it has allowed me to see many doctors and specialists. I do not make much money, and am in fact a student (not eligible for school's insurance), so paying more than what I do now per month isn't feasible for me either.

Has anyone else switched insurances??? Or moved out of state? Or went from an independent plan to a group plan? What about getting onto a spouse's insurance? I have a long-time boyfriend who I plan to marry. Are there restrictions about spouses with pre-existing conditions joining a group insurance? Could it potentially be a very expensive addition for me to be added to his policy?

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I think getting married might be your best option. Group plans don't usually exclude due to pr-existing condition. If you get insurance from an employer, and then lose your job because you get sick, you have no insurance.

I have basically decided I can't move closer to my mother because of my insurance.

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Insurance stuff gets very complicated quickly (even worse than a "tax question" usually does ;), but sometimes a plan from one state has a mirror plan in another (including affiliated docs, etc.) and your existing plan might remain quite usable even outside of CA. Happens to be what I do and I have a "designated general doc" and all that jazz even though I'm out of state. The flexibility and low cost of my insurance is a key to how I managed to reach a diagnosis and begin treatment so I know what you mean about appreciating what you've got. I will to keep my current insurance indefinitely even if I add another (if I find work, for example)... at least until it is banned by government regs (which is coming down the pike).

Unfortunately, it may be difficult to know ahead of time exactly how exercising your current plan will play out when out of state. I just know it works perfectly for me in a similar situation. To have an authoritative answer you'd probably have to ask a lawyer if there is some way they can kick you off your plan simply for being out-of-state... hasn't happened to me.

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What about COBRA? Is that the $6-700 per month your quoting? You're eligible for COBRA for 18 months, but would have to pay what your employer is paying now, which does make it more expensive, but usually well worth it. Also...applying for disability/Medicare is an option that would let you move wherever you wanted to within the US. I'm also planning on moving closer to my mother, and my Medicare would stay the same. You should be able to check out your options through your current insurance company. Just give them a call.

Cheers,

Jana

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Pre-existing conditions limitations have been something determined by state insurance regulations. IN NY as long as there is no gap in insurance you are deemed not to have a pre-exisiting conditions. In other words, you can change insurances without thinking about pre-existing conditions but there can be no gap in coverage.

Under the new law signed by President Obama - know in the law as the ??Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act?? pre-existing conditions are covered within 90 days of the laws signing. There is 5 billion dollars available to the states to help them help individuals get coverage - the law is a typical law and has to be but it makes it hard to read for a lot of people - I think for most of the legislators who aren't familiar with Public Health programs the federal and state governments already fund under law. I don't have the stamina to check the laws cited but they probably cite those dealing with establishing the FEderal Poverty Limit - many many programs are tied into this as a percentage.

If you have Democratic representation in Congress or there is Democratic representation in the district where you are thinking (make that forced to move to care for ailing parents for sake of discussion) - you could call their office and seek advice. Just a thought.

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