Short Term / Interim Health Insurance in New York
March 11, 2014 1:31 PM   Subscribe

I've just moved back to New York from Europe. My European health plan (which covers me for emergencies while I'm in the US) is going to run out in ten days. I am starting a US job with health insurance coverage within the next month or so. Where can I buy coverage for the next month or two to bridge the gap?

Lots of past questions about short-term health insurance but they're all pre-ACA and it seems like such a state-specific thing, so please forgive one more.

From my googling is sounds like New York is one of a few states that make normal short-term health insurance very difficult to get, in some regulatory way. Indeed, at ehealth and similar websites, when you put in a NY zip code they come back with "nothing available" for short term insurance.

I'm a healthy 32-year-old male with no preexisting conditions and for these purposes I'm only concerned about catastrophic coverage, like if I was hit by a bus tomorrow. So a high deductible is fine. Some overlap with my employer coverage is fine, especially given that I don't know exactly when it would start. I guess my ideal coverage period would be today through the end of April. I'm not that price-sensitive in terms of premium but I can't even find what I want to get a quote.

It looks like I can get "accident" coverage but those sites seem extremely spammy and not like a company I would actually trust to pay a claim. And their payouts are capped pretty low which kind of defeats the purpose doesn't it? And what's an "accident" anyway? Would a sudden severe illness count?

Can anyone recommend a plan, or a company, or a broker? Would a broker even bother with this? Just not sure where to start. Thanks in advance for any suggestions.

(Also, do I have any reason to worry about 'continuity' in this situation? Like if I don't get interim coverage and my employer based health plan sees that my Euro plan expired a couple weeks before theirs kicks in, will that cause me any problems with them?)
posted by pete_22 to Work & Money (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
If you know the plan that you're going to be using with your employer, perhaps they can arrange for you to get on early, if you pay the full price for your first month (still a bargain compared to a temporary plan.)

Since ACA became the law of the land, continuity shouldn't have anything to do with your ability to get coverage.

But I'd call my future employer to see if they can help you out.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 1:34 PM on March 11, 2014

I agree with Ruthless Bunny - call your new employer and see if they can help you out.
posted by radioamy at 1:50 PM on March 11, 2014

Freelancers' Union medical insurance?
posted by Bentobox Humperdinck at 1:52 PM on March 11, 2014

I think you may be focusing on the wrong problem.

I've always found health insurance plans insanely easy to drop at any point. Several times I've missed a payment and found myself booted unwilling! Health insurance isn't like cell-phone or cable service; I've never heard of minimum periods (this may change under Affordable Care Act, but I think not).

The real trouble is that ten days isn't enough lead time to get into a program. So I'd hustle to get into something absolutely ASAP. You can always migrate later to something more carefully selected.
posted by Quisp Lover at 1:53 PM on March 11, 2014

IN the ACA you need to be enrolled by the 15th of the month before you start. So March 15th to have April 1 coverage.

I would call an insurance broker.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 2:11 PM on March 11, 2014

You may be able to get on medicaid for a month as your currently unemployed. In this state if your approved they will back date to the date of application and sometimes even before. However you may be over the yearly income limits.
posted by AlexiaSky at 3:04 PM on March 11, 2014

Once upon a time, I had a 6 month, non-renewable policy to get me through a gap in coverage.

Google Empire, Aetna, Cigna, Golden Rule, and any other companies you can think of and look for short term policies.
posted by SemiSalt at 3:16 PM on March 11, 2014

Empire BC/BS used to sell a catastrophic-only plan; it was a good deal. I'd give them a call and see what they can offer you.

You may be able to get on medicaid for a month as your currently unemployed. - there is almost no point in trying to pursue this just for catastrophic coverage. Particularly since it might kick in automatically were some catastrophe to hit.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 4:37 PM on March 11, 2014

posted by stillmoving at 4:43 PM on March 11, 2014

Try Oscar. They are an NYC company offering a user friendly health insurance experience and (I think) a monthly rather than long term commitment.
posted by superfem at 11:03 PM on March 11, 2014

I am not sure what you could do in terms of coverage that starts today. However, if you go through the Marketplace, you should be able to get coverage that would start 4/1 IF you enroll in a plan by 3/15 (so, tomorrow!).

The NY State Marketplace is here.
posted by tivalasvegas at 2:50 PM on March 14, 2014

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