Health insurance ended 12/31. Japan job with insurance starts 3/12. Help
January 3, 2019 6:15 PM   Subscribe

So my US health insurance in CA ended on Dec 31st. And I start a new job in Japan on March 12th that comes with health insurance. I just need something between then and now. I won't be in the US - I'll be mostly traveling in Indonesia for Feb - and won't have an official address in Japan til March. So...what do I do here?
posted by rileyray3000 to Health & Fitness (7 answers total)
Can you buy travel health insurance for the trip part?
posted by warriorqueen at 6:22 PM on January 3, 2019 [1 favorite]

Many travel insurance policies have health insurance as Secondary insurance and not as primary. Choose your plan carefully, but it can be done.
posted by bilabial at 6:34 PM on January 3, 2019 [2 favorites]

Are you mostly young and basically healthy and don't depend on any prescription medications that you can't stock up on? If so, I personally would just take a chance and concentrate on other priorities for a few months, then breathe a sigh of relief in a few months when my new health insurance kicked in.

If not, my calculus would probably be different.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 6:37 PM on January 3, 2019 [2 favorites]

Travel health insurance is a thing. (That's not necessarily an endorsement of either company, though the names were recognizable enough to me that I'd consider them a good starting place for reputable.) In further searches, make sure you're searching specifically for "travel health insurance" or "travel medical insurance" rather than just "travel insurance," which is a different thing, though you can often bundle one with the other.

If for some reason that doesn't work for you... Is COBRA or state continuation an option from your previous insurance? If it is, you could consider enrolling in that. It would not give you anything but emergency (threat to life or limb) coverage internationally, and it would be rather expensive just for that emergency stuff, but that emergency coverage would be there. (Just to be safe, check your plan details for their international emergency coverage policy before doing this.)

You've got 60 days from notification to enroll in COBRA/continuation, and many people choose to wait until they need the insurance to enroll, as it will cover you retroactive to the day after your coverage ended. I often recommend this tactic, but I don't feel comfortable recommending it for someone who's going to be traveling during that 60-day period. Far too much hassle to deal with enrollment and payment while you're traveling internationally, and to submit claims for international emergency care.

"Short-term health insurance" or "gap health insurance" is also a thing. I don't have any particular provider to recommend--it may be worth asking your previous insurance carrier if they offer it. Again, if you got this in the US, it would really only give you emergency coverage while you're out of the country.
posted by rhiannonstone at 7:11 PM on January 3, 2019

Travel insurance. I did this when my job in Hong Kong ended, and then took a 4 month long backpacking trip before returning stateside (at the time I was readded to my parents' insurance but then went over to ACA when I aged out).

I got mine through World Nomads. Ended up using it because I developed tonsillitis at the end of my trip. Paid upfront for care and then was reimbursed with no trouble a week or two after I submitted the claim.
posted by astapasta24 at 6:21 AM on January 4, 2019 [1 favorite]

I have bought travel insurance for the same reason (between jobs and traveling). I didn't end up using it, but it can be purchased at least!
posted by quaking fajita at 7:09 AM on January 4, 2019

When I was unemployed and traveling I bought insurance through Travel Guard. Some travel insurance companies do offer a primary insurance plan. I would look into that. I've also heard good things about World Nomads.
posted by Penguin48 at 7:10 AM on January 4, 2019

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