Meds, Mind, Body & Benefits > Insurance, Benefits Programs & HIV

Health Care Coverage while in College

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HARLEY_B:
 Hello all:
 I've been considering the possibility of going to school full time and leaving my place of employment. The probelm is finding health insurance coverage for this preexisting condition and finding coverage that won't leave me penniless while I get through school. The program I'm interested in taking is a 4 year program and the only opportunity to work would be part time on the weekends.  I have health insurance such as it is but I was already covered before I found out about my status. I live in SC and was wondering if anyone had any experience with this before? The thought of leaving my job of almost 20 years is an unpleasant thought but the possibility of doing something better that pays much better is at least something to consider. If anyone has any input, I would greatly appreciate it.   Thanks!

                                                                                      Tim

JR Gabbard:
Howdy Tim!

Most colleges and universities have a student health plan that you could sign up for (many 4-year schools require it).  They are usually bare-bones policies that cover visits to the campus clinic, maybe lab tests and maybe hospitalizations.  You would have to look at what each school offers and see if it meets your needs.  But if you're not sick and you can get your meds through ADAP it might be a workable solution.

Pre-existing condition exclusions are now a thing of the past (thanks to health care reform)  so you don't have to worry about that.   The exclusion wouldn't have applied to you anyway, since you are currently covered.  Pre-existing condition exclusions only applied (past-tense) when there was a break in coverage--meaning you were uninsured for 6 months or longer.  Again, insurance companies are no longer permitted to exclude you from coverage due to a pre-existing medical condition.  That is not likely to change.

If you leave your job, you could still keep your old policy under COBRA, but the premiums might be unmanageable without help.  Sometimes ADAP will pay the premiums for you, but I'm not sure about SC (my gut tells me they don't, but I don't know).  If you would be eligible for Medicaid if you weren't working, you might consider getting on it when you stop working.  Medicaid will usually pay for a private policy (that you already have) because it ends up being cheaper for them. 

Both Medicaid and ADAP are state-administered, so if you are going to stay in SC to go to school then you should apply there.  If you are going out of state, and you plan on establishing residency in the new state (to get the cheaper tuition rates) then you should apply for these programs in the state where you're going to school.

If you are not eligible for Medicaid (meaning you've never been sick or had a really low CD4 count) then you will be able to purchase an insurance policy on the exchange, in a few years when that portion of health reform kicks in.  And just maybe you'll be able to buy in to Medicare without being 65 or disabled one day.  Current premium:  about $97/month.

Let me know if you want anything more specific!

Hellraiser:

--- Quote from: JR Gabbard on October 11, 2010, 02:20:17 PM ---Pre-existing condition exclusions are now a thing of the past (thanks to health care reform)  so you don't have to worry about that.   The exclusion wouldn't have applied to you anyway, since you are currently covered.  Pre-existing condition exclusions only applied (past-tense) when there was a break in coverage--meaning you were uninsured for 6 months or longer.  Again, insurance companies are no longer permitted to exclude you from coverage due to a pre-existing medical condition.  That is not likely to change.

--- End quote ---

JR, is this already in effect?  I was under the impression this would not be part of the law until 2014.  With that said I was covered by my new health insurance within thirty days with no mention of a pre-existing condition exclusion.

HARLEY_B:
 Many thanks JR for your input. It is greatly appreciated. My CD4 count was really low (53) when I was first diagonosed 3 years ago but since I got on meds, it has climbed considerable and my VL has gone to undetectable. Hopefully my numbers will hold steady. So far so good..Have not decided on anything about education yet although I have been considering more and more my options. I've been going to school part time off and on for quite a while but what I want to really do hinges on what I can work out with my health insurance coverage.
                                                                                             Tim

Assurbanipal:

--- Quote from: Hellraiser on October 12, 2010, 01:44:44 AM ---...  I was under the impression this would not be part of the law until 2014.  With that said I was covered by my new health insurance within thirty days with no mention of a pre-existing condition exclusion.

--- End quote ---

I noticed that too, and you are right.  It went into effect for children this year and goes into effect for adults in 2014.

Here's a link to a summary of the law from my new faorite website:  http://www.healthcare.gov/law/about/order/byyear.html

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