Health Insurance QuestionsQ. If I lose my job because my employer went out of business can I still get COBRA?
A. No. When your employer goes out of business, the group to which your insurance applied also is gone. For this reason there is no way to continue your group coverage. Some states have passed laws often called "mini-COBRA") to help employees of defunct businesses; however, this approach is not universal. Check availability in your state with your state's insurance department.
Q. I am not eligible for an employer-sponsored group health plan. What should I do?
A. Many Americans do not receive health insurance through their employer. If this is the case for you, first consider if there is another group from which you can purchase insurance. Certain organizations, civic clubs or even credit card companies may offer group coverage. If you cannot find a group to join, consider purchasing an individual or a short-term health insurance plan.
Q. My company recently switched my health insurance plan from a PPO to an HMO. What is the difference between the two?
A. There are many differences. However, the primary distinction is that coverage for an out-of-network provider is more restrictive under an HMO. An HMO also may require that you designate a primary-care physician from within the network.
Q. My son just turned 18 and is moving out of the house. I am not able to keep him on my insurance plan. What should he do?
A. Your son should first seek coverage under a group policy, preferably one offered by his employer or another organization. If he is not eligible for a group policy, he should consider an individual or short-term health policy. A short-term health policy is better for healthy people without pre-existing medical conditions. Your son will be able to get a high coverage limit to cover treatments such as surgery and emergency care for a relatively small premium. These policies are usually available for periods of one to three years and are paid monthly. So he will be able to drop the coverage as soon as he becomes eligible for a group health insurance plan.
Q. I've heard about pre-existing medical conditions. Do all health insurance plans exclude coverage for pre-existing conditions?
A. No. Most health plans have limitations on coverage for pre-existing medical conditions, such as a waiting period before pre-existing medical conditions are covered.