I found out I need surgery and I have no health insurance.
July 31, 2008 12:31 PM   Subscribe

I found out I need surgery and I have no health insurance. Should I go back to my former employer and ask to be added for a couple of months more or would that take 3 months again like when I first started out? Has anyone done this before?
posted by likeapen to Health & Fitness (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I can't imagine why your former employer would subsidize your health insurance if you don't work there anymore. Plus, now you've got a pre-existing condition so I'm not sure how easy it will be for you to get insurance, anyway.
posted by amro at 12:38 PM on July 31, 2008

It does depend on when you left your prior position, but check out COBRA

(You have to pay employee deductions retroactively, but I did this once before as I found myself in an emergency room, in the end of October when I had quit in August.)
posted by Debaser626 at 12:41 PM on July 31, 2008

posted by Debaser626 at 12:45 PM on July 31, 2008 [1 favorite]

What Debaser said.

Qualified beneficiaries must be given at least 60 days for the election. This period is measured from the later of the coverage loss date or the date the COBRA election notice is provided by the employer or plan administrator.

If it has been longer than 60 days since your insurance coverage ended -- note, the day it ended, not the day your employment ended -- then you may be SOL with that option.

Unless you have blackmail or very positive relations with your former employer, yeah, not sure asking them is gonna work. But hey, maybe you left on really awesome terms?
posted by cavalier at 12:46 PM on July 31, 2008

Here's the DOL's COBRA FAQ.

posted by mr_roboto at 12:47 PM on July 31, 2008

How fast do you need surgery? If it is important but not critical I'd start looking for a boring desk job with a large company pronto, work there for six months then get the surgery.

If it is critical, you may have to take out a loan and go with COBRA or pay installments to your surgeon. Most physicians and all hospitals will work out a payment program with you, they'd much rather be paid slowly then not at all.
posted by arnicae at 1:08 PM on July 31, 2008

To get on COBRA after leaving (provided you are within the 60-day window from date of last coverage as noted above), you do it through the COBRA administrator, not your employer. You would have received a letter from this company.

I left a position and a month later got sick (the day after I sent in the COBRA check, which was of course before it arrived at their offices so I was not technically covered). I called the COBRA administration company and they were able to do everything with me via fax that day - they can probably do the same and send you a bill.

As I understand it, you will have to pay the monthly full coverage cost (my monthly cost was almost $400) for the time period beginning the first date of COBRA coverage, which is the day AFTER your regular coverage ended. So if you were covered until June 30 and you sign up tomorrow, you have to pay for July and August (i.e. $800).

Otherwise you're kind of screwed in terms of COBRA. Can anyone on here confirm if OP might be able to look into short-term coverage?
posted by ml98tu at 1:17 PM on July 31, 2008

If you are inside the COBRA window your employer has to reinstate your coverage: from the perspective of your benefits this will be exactly as if you had been covered the whole time (as noted you will have to pay the past amounts retroactively). If you are past the window for COBRA you are out of luck. Your employer is not going to reinstate your insurance and insurance companies are not obligated to give you insurance when you have a known existing condition.
posted by nanojath at 2:05 PM on July 31, 2008

Get alternate opinions about the surgery- maybe there is another option.
posted by gjc at 8:16 AM on August 1, 2008

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