How can I buy a health insurance plan that's not on sale?
January 31, 2016 12:52 AM   Subscribe

Friday, the State of Oregon said that it was forcing our health insurance company, Moda, to get out of the business of individual policies. It is not clear what will happen to the 67K people insured by Moda. I want to buy a new policy by Sunday night. Help.

In the articles I read, the state said that the most likely outcome for Moda policy holders is that our policies get transferred to different carriers, and that that they can't guarantee that our costs/coverage will remain the same. They are also saying that this may not be a "qualifying event" that will allow us a special enrollment period.

I am not comfortable with having my policy transferred and potentially changed, so want to buy a Regence Blue Cross policy by Sunday night. However, when I filled out the application on Regence's website, I got the message that that "you are applying outside of the enrollment period and will only be accepted if you have special enrollment status." To the best of my knowledge the general enrollment period is open nationally until Sunday night, but the message spooks me. Regence is out of the office until Monday morning so cannot be called on the phone for clarification. And their policies are not for sale on

I'm not sure what to do. One idea that I had was to buy both a Blue Cross policy and a policy with some other company, and then to cancel the second policy once Blue Cross verifies we're covered. I also wonder if some kind of a broker could help me, but despair of being able to get a hold of someone -- tomorrow being sort of the Black Friday of health insurance purchasing, and I bet Oregon's brokers are going to be hit extra hard by people fleeing the Moda situation.

If I bought two policies then immediately cancelled one, would I just have to pay one day of the other policy since it was only used a day? Do you know a broker or expert you can recommend who might be available? Or can you think of another way to go? Any help is appreciated.
posted by hungrytiger to Health & Fitness (3 answers total)
From here:
The state will be open Saturday, Jan. 30, and Sunday, Jan. 31, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. to answer questions before the end of open enrollment. Call 1-888-877-4894 (toll-free).
I recommend calling.
posted by telegraph at 5:14 AM on January 31, 2016 [4 favorites]

To answer your question, if in doubt there is nothing preventing you from signing up for two different insurance plans from different companies. Typically you have 21 to 30 days to make your first premium payment. If you do not, they simply cancel your coverage retroactively. They cannot force you to pay premiums. In other words, your contract does not become valid until you make a payment. If you don't make a payment, the contract becomes void.

Make sure that you get a print out a confirmation message and timestamp for the Regence plan to verify you applied before the deadline.

Also note that Bridgespan, which is available on your exchange, is a subsidiary of Regence. In most cases Regence and Bridgespan market the exact same plans. So, if you want to go through the exchange, you might compare the prices and coverage for Bridgespan vs Regence. If the same, then you can go through the exchange to get your plan.

Again, there is nothing preventing you from signing up for a Bridgespan plan on the exchange and a Regence plan on their website and then sorting things out next week and deciding which to keep.

Also note that your new insurance likely won't be effective until March 1, so make sure you keep any coverage you have now. You may be subject to a partial penalty if you are uncovered for at least three months.
posted by JackFlash at 11:58 AM on January 31, 2016 [1 favorite]

I'm not sure about anything else, but I can confirm that you have some time to pay the premium, and that if you don't pay they'll just automatically cancel your policy for whichever months you do not pay. I had a special enrollment thing this past year (lost my job), and I paid for one month of premiums, and then stopped paying (because I got insurance through a new job). When I got my tax form, they had the one month I paid for marked as "covered" and nothing for the months I did not pay. They have never tried to get me to pay for the months I didn't use (other than periodically sending me bills to tell me they would cancel my coverage if I didn't pay, which is in fact what I wanted them to do -- I did write "please cancel me!" on the bills and send them back, but I think maybe they are required to keep sending you the option to continue coverage in case you chance your mind.)
posted by rainbowbrite at 11:11 AM on February 1, 2016

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