Immediate health insurance/continuance of student health insurance in NY
August 11, 2021 4:26 PM   Subscribe

My wife finished her graduate program (yay!). Our insurance is ending on the 14th. It looks like the soonest I can get insurance through my employer or the marketplace is September 1st. How can we get a catastrophic (or otherwise) plan for two weeks?

New York State bans temporary insurance policies. As far as we can tell, she is ineligible for COBRA given that her university refuses to classify its grad students as workers. Is there anyway we can get coverage until then? Is there any law that would keep us on the books at her university for two weeks? Should I just start trying to shame them on twitter?

(We are taking a trip up to Boston and it looks like we can get some kind of catastrophic insurance plan as travel insurance for that trip, but I don't think we could swing that for living at home.)

The person on the phone with the New York State marketplace was not terribly helpful, telling me that I was stuck until September 1. We're old enough that being without insurance (including anything through the state) is rather scary.
posted by Hactar to Law & Government (7 answers total)
I would check and double-check with student health to make sure there isn’t an add-on plan that will extend coverage a bit longer. I have been at 2 institutions, NYU and U. Cincinnati, that had such a plan but didn’t advertise it.
posted by 8603 at 4:58 PM on August 11, 2021

Response by poster: We just double checked with the insurance office, they said our best bet was to retroactively cancel they plan back to July 31st and see if we child get something through the marketplace. Which will not happen, according to the person on the phone at the New York State marketplace.
posted by Hactar at 5:24 PM on August 11, 2021

I would also call NY State of Health again. We used to call it "the rule of three" -- if you get an answer from the call center person (either at an insurance company, Medicaid, whatever) that doesn't make sense, call back again and get someone different. If they say something totally different, then call a third time: best two out of three wins.

Honestly it's an unusual edge-case question I wouldn't be sure how to answer, and I was a health insurance navigator for five years -- but this was in a state and I don't know NY state exchange rules so I can't speak to it directly. I think it should be possible but that the system might just not handle it right, or the call center rep just isn't remembering that mid-month insurance with a prorated premium is actually possible in this situation because it's so uncommon.

Did you actually go to the NY State of Health site and just try to sign up? If you put in the date coverage is going to end, it might be smart enough to get it done.
posted by tivalasvegas at 5:31 PM on August 11, 2021 [2 favorites]

Call the Marketplace again. In my experience, the competence of people on the phone varies. One year I had complications and needed information for my taxes, called several times, ended up in tears of panic, frustration, rage, got a supervisor who understood the issue, provided the needed information and made everything so much more manageable.

Can she sign up for another term, then drop courses and pay a penalty?

Can new employer start insurance early for cost?

Call the state Insurance Commission; they may be able to help, should provide information at the very least. They'll likely be on the state Atty. Gen.'s page.
posted by theora55 at 7:00 PM on August 11, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Loss of your existing coverage (including from a student healthcare plan) should be a qualifying life event that triggers a "special enrollment period." This would allow you to enroll into your employer's plan effective as of the date your previous coverage ended, regardless of their normal open enrollment timing. In practice, you would do your special enrollment as soon as possible after the 14th and then have to go through the regular open enrollment a few weeks later.
posted by stopgap at 8:56 PM on August 11, 2021 [11 favorites]

Best answer: Agree with stopgap. If your employer offers health insurance, loss of other insurance is a qualifying event and they should be able to enroll you immediately. It's possible that they would need to backdate you to the first of the month but that shouldn't be an issue. Call your HR people. If you don't have HR people, call your company's insurance broker.
posted by dpx.mfx at 3:23 AM on August 12, 2021 [4 favorites]

Response by poster: Stopgap and dpx were right. I had just read the generic enrolment and didn't realize I could start immediately. I'm all set, thank you to everyone who replied.
posted by Hactar at 8:59 AM on August 13, 2021

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