Temporary health insurance in MA
August 5, 2014 8:54 AM   Subscribe

My girlfriend's insurance expires August 23rd and her new one does not kick in till November (she just got a job as a teacher after being in grad school full time). She is 35 and we live in Mass. She needs some form of temporary health insurance for those two months. She has been online and could not find anything like that for people over 30 in our zipcode.
posted by spacefire to Health & Fitness (17 answers total)
Could she buy a year's policy, then cancel it when her employer-sponsored insurance kicks in?

Has she tried talking to someone at Mass Health Connector?
posted by tckma at 8:57 AM on August 5, 2014 [1 favorite]

Has she looked into MA Health Connector? Losing your insurance means you can apply right away (ignore the stuff about Open Enrollment periods). I just did it last month and it was much less of a pain than I thought it would be. Definitely call them, though, most of the people I spoke with were really helpful and the website is a broken mess right now.
posted by sonmi at 9:00 AM on August 5, 2014 [2 favorites]

Losing her current health insurance would be a qualifying event - it should allow her to sign up outside of open enrollment periods.

I would strongly suggest that she either call the Connector hotline or find an application counselor to talk to. The process is confusing, but a competent counselor can streamline it.
posted by catalytics at 9:05 AM on August 5, 2014

Will she be eligible for COBRA coverage after the expiration of her current insurance? If so, in general (and verify this with whoever is currently managing her insurance), COBRA can be activated retroactively any time in the first 90 days. So she could just go without health insurance for the 2 months and not schedule anything routine, and should an emergency occur, she could activate COBRA retroactively. It is likely not the cheapest option for emergency coverage, but obviously not needing to activate it at all is cheaper than buying insurance upfront that is not used, so it's a calculated (but not insane like actually going completely without insurance) gamble.
posted by brainmouse at 9:27 AM on August 5, 2014 [1 favorite]

is there anything only for emergencies, with a higher deductible? Something for 50 dollars per month...mass health's cheapest plans are pretty expensive, and she will get better insurance from her employer in November, so this would be just a dire emergency insurance.
posted by spacefire at 9:28 AM on August 5, 2014

also, mass health would only kick in September, what about the few days between August 23rd and September 1st? Any form of short term insurance for just a week?
posted by spacefire at 9:31 AM on August 5, 2014

Grad students are in kind of a weird limbo state regarding whether they're employees or students for COBRA purposes. I wasn't eligible for COBRA after grad school.

I think the best option may be to just take a few minutes today and ring up the Connector folks and see if they can advise you -- the situation is such a mess lately and they probably know it best.
posted by dorque at 9:32 AM on August 5, 2014

You can get short term insurance. I did it for my kids, when they were going to have a break of 11 days between the end of COBRA and the beginning of their new individual plan. It was $100 a month for both of them, it had a maximum term of six months.
posted by KathrynT at 9:58 AM on August 5, 2014

Short Term Health Insurance in MA
posted by KathrynT at 9:59 AM on August 5, 2014

@KathrynT: already tried: "We currently do not offer Short-term Health Insurance in your zip code."
posted by spacefire at 10:01 AM on August 5, 2014

Oh boo. I'm sorry.
posted by KathrynT at 10:04 AM on August 5, 2014

Can she get COBRA for the insurance that's expiring? You can get COBRA retroactively - i.e. don't pay for it unless you have some incident come up that you need it.
posted by radioamy at 10:12 AM on August 5, 2014

she cannot get COBRA
posted by spacefire at 10:20 AM on August 5, 2014

It's been a year, but we needed something similar (not in Mass) and found it through Assurant. It definitely had its flaws if we ever actually needed it (like instantly becoming nonrenewable, because gosh you're sick now—but you have a finite period so that wouldn't be an issue), and I don't know if that has changed. Bottom line, it did the trick for us.
posted by AnOrigamiLife at 12:40 PM on August 5, 2014

is there anything only for emergencies, with a higher deductible? Something for 50 dollars per month...mass health's cheapest plans are pretty expensive

Those cheap policies have pretty much gone away with the new ACA regulations requiring minimum essential benefits.

She should look into the MA Health Connector plans. She may be eligible for a subsidy if her annual income is low enough, considering she may only have income for the final few months of the year.
posted by JackFlash at 1:28 PM on August 5, 2014

Still check out the Health Connector-- depending on her income, she could get it for free or very cheap ($5-25/month). Rumor is that right now they're having serious issues with the system and as of recently started automatically enrolling eligible people into MassHealth (Medicaid) until they can get it sorted out-- for me it was free. YMMV.
posted by sonmi at 1:36 PM on August 5, 2014

I got insurance like this through my alumni association last year, so, that's a possibility to look into. (I had to buy a $25ish unemployed-level membership to have access to the insurance, but that was worth it.) It was something like $60-80/mo for emergencies only, maybe a $5k deductible. I'm in my thirties.
posted by ktkt at 9:54 PM on August 5, 2014

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