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Author Topic: question about health insurance when changing jobs  (Read 4791 times)

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Offline aliveinla

  • Member
  • Posts: 247
question about health insurance when changing jobs
« on: August 19, 2011, 03:02:05 PM »
I tested poz after I joined my current company so have been with the same insurance plan all these years. Now I might have to change jobs, I have some questions about switching jobs and insurance hope someone can help. I am in California.

1. Do I have to tell my new insurance, at my next employer, that I am poz? If so, will they refuse taking me?
2. How do I keep my meds supply? By paying through Cobra? How does that usually cost?

Thanks!
4/24/07: Last tested Neg
1/22/08: First tested Poz
1/30/08: CD4 393; 28%; VL: 44k
3/18/08: CD4 218; 26%; VL: 222K
4/24/08: CD4 402; 26%; VL: lab forgot
7/22/08: CD4 405; 25%; VL: 6,780
10/15/08: CD4 340, 26%; VL: N/A
2/4/09: CD4 394, 26%; VL: N/A
Jun 09: CD4 300, 25%; VL: 4000
Oct 09: CD4 324, 23%, VL: 10K
11/22/09: started Atripla
11/20/11: CD4 405; VL: UD

Offline Assurbanipal

  • Member
  • Posts: 2,173
  • Taking a forums break, still see PM's
Re: question about health insurance when changing jobs
« Reply #1 on: August 19, 2011, 05:07:25 PM »
COBRA runs about $400-$500 a month for a single person (national 2010 average $429 - $449 per this study 
http://insurancenewsnet.com/article.aspx?id=220732&type=lifehealth
 --  California is probably somewhat higher than the national average)

Whether or not you will need it depends on the benefit program offered by your new employer.  Many employers will start coverage immediately and you will not need COBRA.  Generally larger and/or higher-wage employers are more likely to have good health benefits. 

You may be able to find out about a particular employer's programs before the interview if you google them, but if that doesn't work it is perfectly normal to ask for a description of the benefit programs as part of the process -- doing so will not out you to them as poz; many people want to know about the benefits (savings, healthcare, retirement...).   Typically, you ask about the benefits program after they have extended a job offer -- many employers will include a link to a benefit programs website as part of the job offer, but if not you should ask for it.

You do not have to tell your employer you are poz -- and your insurance enrollment forms won't ask about this. 

But there may be a questionnaire that comes with the enrollment forms that wants to know if you have chronic conditions which might include HIV.  Some insurers, recognizing that it is cheaper in the long run to keep people healthy, have set up special disease management programs to monitor whether people with certain health conditions are taking their meds.  Sometimes HIV is included in these programs.  And certainly the insurer will know you are poz when you submit claims.  But there are privacy laws (including HIPAA) that prevent the insurer from telling the employer exactly who is poz or has other health conditions.

Good luck with the job change

A
5/06 VL 1M+, CD4 22, 5% , pneumonia, thrush -- O2 support 2 months, 6/06 +Kaletra/Truvada
9/06 VL 3959 CD4 297 13.5% 12/06 VL <400 CD4 350 15.2% +Pravachol
2007 VL<400, 70, 50 CD4 408-729 16.0% -19.7%
2008 VL UD CD4 468 - 538 16.7% - 24.6% Osteoporosis 11/08 doubled Pravachol, +Calcium/D
02/09 VL 100 CD4 616 23.7% 03/09 VL 130 5/09 VL 100 CD4 540 28.4% +Actonel (osteoporosis) 7/09 VL 130
8/09  new regimen Isentress/Epzicom 9/09 VL UD CD4 621 32.7% 11/09 VL UD CD4 607 26.4% swap Isentress for Prezista/Norvir 12/09 (liver and muscle issues) VL 50
2010 VL UD CD4 573-680 26.1% - 30.9% 12/10 VL 20
2011 VL UD-20 CD4 568-673 24.7%-30.6%
2012 VL UD swap Prezista/Norvir for Reyataz drop statin CD4 768-828 26.7%-30.7%

Offline aliveinla

  • Member
  • Posts: 247
Re: question about health insurance when changing jobs
« Reply #2 on: August 19, 2011, 07:26:29 PM »
Thank you soooo much... This sounds not as frightening as I have thought.
4/24/07: Last tested Neg
1/22/08: First tested Poz
1/30/08: CD4 393; 28%; VL: 44k
3/18/08: CD4 218; 26%; VL: 222K
4/24/08: CD4 402; 26%; VL: lab forgot
7/22/08: CD4 405; 25%; VL: 6,780
10/15/08: CD4 340, 26%; VL: N/A
2/4/09: CD4 394, 26%; VL: N/A
Jun 09: CD4 300, 25%; VL: 4000
Oct 09: CD4 324, 23%, VL: 10K
11/22/09: started Atripla
11/20/11: CD4 405; VL: UD

Offline buginme2

  • Member
  • Posts: 3,312
Re: question about health insurance when changing jobs
« Reply #3 on: August 19, 2011, 07:33:20 PM »
The important thing is not to let your insurance coverage lapse.  If you go a period of time with no insurance (between jobs) the new insurance company can conisder your hiv a pre existing illness and wont cover it for a period of time.  You may need to pay for cobra during the time period you are not covered by your employer.
Don't be fancy, just get dancey

Offline bocker3

  • Member
  • Posts: 3,459
  • You gotta enjoy life......
Re: question about health insurance when changing jobs
« Reply #4 on: August 19, 2011, 07:57:59 PM »
COBRA runs about $400-$500 a month for a single person (national 2010 average $429 - $449 per this study 
http://insurancenewsnet.com/article.aspx?id=220732&type=lifehealth
 --  California is probably somewhat higher than the national average)

The cost is entirely dependent on your employer.  under COBRA you pay the group plan price (that is what you and your employer had been paying for you while employed) plus an administrative fee.  So, if you worked for a large company, you'd likely come in under the averages listed here, if you worked for a smaller company, you'd likely come in higher.

As others pointed out -- you need not mention any health issues and it is perfectly normal to ask about benefits -- I wouldn't ask specifically about Health -- just ask about all of them.  Of course, only ask after you are offered a job.

Good luck
Atripla - Started 12/05
Reyataz/Norvir - Added 6/06
Labs - Pre-Meds
Sep05 T=350/25% VL98,559
Nov05 288/18%  47,564
Current Labs
May2013 691/31% <20

Offline aliveinla

  • Member
  • Posts: 247
Re: question about health insurance when changing jobs
« Reply #5 on: August 19, 2011, 09:56:15 PM »
Thanks so much. That's actually is a follow up question i was going to ask: if i stock up on meds for a couple months to get me over the period, whether i even need Cobra.

You answered it for me, so I guess i will have to do Cobra. Have changed about 7 jobs, never paid Cobra before. In perfect health, just this HIV, damn it.

Current company actually wants me to relocate to China. They don't know I am poz. I thihnk I won't even get a long term work permit in China since I am poz...

The important thing is not to let your insurance coverage lapse.  If you go a period of time with no insurance (between jobs) the new insurance company can conisder your hiv a pre existing illness and wont cover it for a period of time.  You may need to pay for cobra during the time period you are not covered by your employer.
4/24/07: Last tested Neg
1/22/08: First tested Poz
1/30/08: CD4 393; 28%; VL: 44k
3/18/08: CD4 218; 26%; VL: 222K
4/24/08: CD4 402; 26%; VL: lab forgot
7/22/08: CD4 405; 25%; VL: 6,780
10/15/08: CD4 340, 26%; VL: N/A
2/4/09: CD4 394, 26%; VL: N/A
Jun 09: CD4 300, 25%; VL: 4000
Oct 09: CD4 324, 23%, VL: 10K
11/22/09: started Atripla
11/20/11: CD4 405; VL: UD

Offline aliveinla

  • Member
  • Posts: 247
Re: question about health insurance when changing jobs
« Reply #6 on: August 19, 2011, 09:58:36 PM »
I think you are right. Hopefully my new potential employer gets me into their program ASAP... It's voted as one of the top 10 gay friendly company in America. I can't say it's name so I won't Jinx it. :-)

Tired of my current job anyway, because it's so conservative that I have to pretend to go to be straight to go to strip bars with my boss, and I have to pretend to like it. I am gay.

The cost is entirely dependent on your employer.  under COBRA you pay the group plan price (that is what you and your employer had been paying for you while employed) plus an administrative fee.  So, if you worked for a large company, you'd likely come in under the averages listed here, if you worked for a smaller company, you'd likely come in higher.

As others pointed out -- you need not mention any health issues and it is perfectly normal to ask about benefits -- I wouldn't ask specifically about Health -- just ask about all of them.  Of course, only ask after you are offered a job.

Good luck
4/24/07: Last tested Neg
1/22/08: First tested Poz
1/30/08: CD4 393; 28%; VL: 44k
3/18/08: CD4 218; 26%; VL: 222K
4/24/08: CD4 402; 26%; VL: lab forgot
7/22/08: CD4 405; 25%; VL: 6,780
10/15/08: CD4 340, 26%; VL: N/A
2/4/09: CD4 394, 26%; VL: N/A
Jun 09: CD4 300, 25%; VL: 4000
Oct 09: CD4 324, 23%, VL: 10K
11/22/09: started Atripla
11/20/11: CD4 405; VL: UD

Offline Assurbanipal

  • Member
  • Posts: 2,173
  • Taking a forums break, still see PM's
Re: question about health insurance when changing jobs
« Reply #7 on: August 20, 2011, 07:31:38 AM »
Thanks so much. That's actually is a follow up question i was going to ask: if i stock up on meds for a couple months to get me over the period, whether i even need Cobra.

You answered it for me, so I guess i will have to do Cobra. Have changed about 7 jobs, never paid Cobra before. In perfect health, just this HIV, damn it.

Current company actually wants me to relocate to China. They don't know I am poz. I thihnk I won't even get a long term work permit in China since I am poz...


If the period you will be without coverage is less than 2 months stocking up on meds is a strategy that can work.  That's because there is a 2 month grace period to elect COBRA retroactively.  This gives you the ability to plan ahead for routine medical needs (like drugs) and only elect COBRA in arrears if you have a medical emergency.  Of course, for this to work out in practice, you need to make arrangements for someone to send in the check should you be incapacitated; and it is not a good idea to run out the clock to the last possible day, since if you miss the deadline for getting your check in you will not be able to get coverage.  Still, many people don't elect COBRA if the period without coverage is a month or so.

Alive, you should probably look carefully at the terms of your current coverage to find out exactly when it ends.  Some employers continue coverage through the end of the month, while others stop it the day you leave.  The information should be available on the summary plan description (SPD) for your plan.  You can probably find it in an electronic copy by searching the term "coverage ceases" or similar phrases.

Good luck

A

5/06 VL 1M+, CD4 22, 5% , pneumonia, thrush -- O2 support 2 months, 6/06 +Kaletra/Truvada
9/06 VL 3959 CD4 297 13.5% 12/06 VL <400 CD4 350 15.2% +Pravachol
2007 VL<400, 70, 50 CD4 408-729 16.0% -19.7%
2008 VL UD CD4 468 - 538 16.7% - 24.6% Osteoporosis 11/08 doubled Pravachol, +Calcium/D
02/09 VL 100 CD4 616 23.7% 03/09 VL 130 5/09 VL 100 CD4 540 28.4% +Actonel (osteoporosis) 7/09 VL 130
8/09  new regimen Isentress/Epzicom 9/09 VL UD CD4 621 32.7% 11/09 VL UD CD4 607 26.4% swap Isentress for Prezista/Norvir 12/09 (liver and muscle issues) VL 50
2010 VL UD CD4 573-680 26.1% - 30.9% 12/10 VL 20
2011 VL UD-20 CD4 568-673 24.7%-30.6%
2012 VL UD swap Prezista/Norvir for Reyataz drop statin CD4 768-828 26.7%-30.7%

Offline Jayforever

  • New Member
  • Posts: 2
Re: question about health insurance when changing jobs
« Reply #8 on: September 14, 2011, 11:48:00 PM »
I know that this can be pretty scary,  but here is the good news:

If you have a cobra premium, or other insurance premiums, many HDAP's pay for the premiums and the Rx.
 co-payments.  Many HDAP's pay for these premiums, because it is cheaper for the program to pay 1,000/ or more per month, v/s paying 100% for the med's which can run into many thousands of dollars..Call your HDAP and ask if they have this service...As far as a new job and the Insurance program they provide...I have found, that if this is a group program the Health Insurance  will not mind on preexisting conditions as HIV. 

Offline Jayforever

  • New Member
  • Posts: 2
Re: question about health insurance when changing jobs
« Reply #9 on: September 14, 2011, 11:55:11 PM »
I also forgot to add the following:

If you have an Insurance Gap, HDAP can cover your meds at 100% unitll your Insurance kicks in..The thing is not to be without your med's  "Ever".   So, also call HDAP if a medication or Insurance problem comes up..

HDAP is here to ensure that we can all have acess to these medications, If we qualify under their income guidelines. 

 


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