I need health insurance (me and everyone else...)
August 5, 2009 12:10 PM   Subscribe

Ohshitfilter: Temporary health insurance options in NJ?

I just moved from NC to NJ five weeks ago, after finishing a Masters program. My student health insurance ends on August 14, and since I have not been successful in finding employment (as I had hoped) I need to come up with a plan.

I have heard of COBRA, but I also heard that the State of New York does not accept COBRA. This is a problem for me, because my residence in NJ is temporary and I plan on moving to Manhattan or Brooklyn in the next few months. Secondly, I can not prove residency in NJ as I am not on the lease and have no bills in my name (staying with a friend). Am I screwed? I cannot seem to find the information online that I need.

I need the the cheapest health insurance I can get that will also cover prescriptions in some form (I have allergy and asthma and BC meds I must take).

What are my options? Please point me in the right direction or to a place where I can at least get more information.

posted by greta simone to Health & Fitness (6 answers total)
It looks like there was a recent change regarding NY state and COBRA - maybe this is part of what you heard. They have a COBRA FAQ for NY.
posted by exogenous at 12:16 PM on August 5, 2009

If you can COBRA your program's insurance (which may or may not be possible - I don't know if insurance for students is like insurance for employees - you will need to speak to someone at your school about this) then yes, NYS will accept it. See here for more.
posted by rtha at 12:16 PM on August 5, 2009

posted by rtha at 12:17 PM on August 5, 2009

I don't know what you went to school for, but have you looked into Freelancers Union? I remember looking at it a while back when Mr. dancinglamb was doing freelancing and we were at an insurance, uh, crossroad. They had a decent amount of coverage, doctors, etc.

Good luck, congrats and welcome to the tri-state area!
posted by dancinglamb at 2:51 PM on August 5, 2009

ehealthinsurance.com will at least give you quotes painlessly.
posted by GPF at 7:33 AM on August 6, 2009

Your parents don't happen to live in Jersey, do they? Because NJ has one of the broadest definitions of "dependents" (up to age 31) of all the states--so if (one or both) your parents live in Jersey, you could potentially qualify to go back on their plan. If they don't live in Jersey though you're out of luck on that front.

In New Jersey, state regulations don't let insurers set prices based on anything other than age, gender, and geographic region, which may end up working well for you in terms of being not getting charged a lot more for having a chronic condition (asthma). The flip side is that insurance in NJ is notorious for being more expensive than in other states--in most states only the very healthy are even able to get insurance in the individual market, which keeps prices (relatively) lower than they would overwise be. So one thing to be aware of is that if you are planning to move to New York anyway it might be worth checking out whether insurance would be cheaper there for you--and (critically) whether you'd be able to get covered in NY.

You should spend some time looking around this site, which explains how to shop for health insurance in the individual market in NJ. They have rate sheets for every carrier, which should let you figure out which companies you want to apply to first: Basic and Essential plans here, Standard Benefit plans here. I wouldn't be surprised if it's cheaper to go with one of the basic plans and pay for your meds out of pocket. I know it sucks to have to monkey around with prescriptions but for the BC piece at least I know it can be substantially cheaper to flip over to the generic brand, and I'm sure the same is true for your other meds.

I'm not sure exactly what you're referring to with COBRA, or why New York regulations would matter. COBRA is just a law that says that when you are in certain types of health plans, you must be given the option to continue buying insurance through that plan for a certain amount of time. If you were in school in NC, and that's where your insurance was from, you'd have to check NC law to see if you qualify through COBRA to keep buying insurance from the same place (e.g., your university) at the same price as before. Even if you are eligible, it might not do you much good if the plan only covers providers in-network and the network is only in NC.
posted by iminurmefi at 10:27 AM on August 6, 2009

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