Graduating College!!! Losing insurance...

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radian23
New Member


Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 7
   Posted 4/13/2008 4:13 PM (GMT -7)   

I am asking this question in regards to my girlfriend who was diagnosed with Crohn's Disease about 2 years ago.  We have had many ups and downs with this disease but have finally been able to get it under control with Remicade.  Since starting Remicade she has had only one flare up that lasted about 3 days.  She was able to get that flare up under control by using Rowasa and has since been in great shape.  Remicade has been the drug that has allowed her to get her life back to normal. 

 

The next interesting twist in our lives, and the reason why I am here, is because we will be graduating next month.  Though this is very exciting it is also worrisome because we will be losing our health insurance.  At this time she is on her parents insurance because she is a student.  I was wondering what she could do to keep her insurance.  Remicade infusions are rather expenses, to put it politely, and would probably be unaffordable without insurance.  I was wondering if anyone had any suggestions as to what to do in this chapter of our lives? 

 

I have looked into a program called COBRA which extends her current health insurance coverage.  This seems to be the answer to the puzzle but I was unsure if there were any other ideas.  I have also looked on the web for more information regarding COBRA but seem to end with a lot of articles referring readers to their employers’ Human Resource department. 

 

I also have some fears about her being able to get permanent health insurance after she gets a job.  Will she have problems getting health insurance because she has a cronic illness?  Will she have to pay absorbent amounts of money to get health insurance?  I have never had to deal with purchasing health insurance because I have always been on my parents insurance.

 

Thank you all in advance for this wonderful resource. 


crohns07
New Member


Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 12
   Posted 4/13/2008 4:47 PM (GMT -7)   
Your girlfriend should be offered 36 months of COBRA insurance from her parents employer because she is a dependent that is losing coverage due to "aging out" of the plan. Yes, she will have to pay out of pocket but at least she will be covered. As long as she has uninterrupted insurance coverage she should not be penalized for having a pre-existing medical condition. Have your girlfriend's parents check with their HR department regarding the COBRA insurance.

FallColors
Veteran Member


Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 1220
   Posted 4/13/2008 4:51 PM (GMT -7)   
Hello Radian 23. Welcome to the Forum! You are a great friend!

I am wondering what the education conditions are for keep the insurance. If she signs up for another degree program, even part-time or very part-time, can she keep her insurance?? If all she has to be is enrolled in a program, can she take a class at a local community college? Basket weaving or something similar?

As for jobs, I highly recommend the Federal Government. They are flexible as far as disabilities are concerned, and the benefits are good. Also, its very difficult to get laid off after you've worked for 3 years (actually, after 1 year its quite unlikely, and 3 years is nearly unheard of!). Check out www.USAjobs.gov. Fed Blue Cross is excellent! You can go to any Dr. you want without needing a referral from a primary care physian, and I have never had problems with them refusing to pay.

Aimee =)
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jun 2004
Total Posts : 1020
   Posted 4/13/2008 5:33 PM (GMT -7)   
COBRA will be available to her, but I won't lie - it's dang expensive.

I agree - is enrolling in a community college in the fall possible? I bet the classes there would be much cheaper than the COBRA cost. That is if she doesn't have a job lined up yet.

If I remember right, my ins stayed until the next fall since many college kids don't take classes in the summer. So she may have coverage until Augustish.

I have yet to have issues with insurance coverage because I've never let it lapse. As long as she has had ins coverage the entire time she has been dx with Crohns, she can't legally be denied by her new employers coverage.

sjkly
Veteran Member


Date Joined Dec 2007
Total Posts : 2113
   Posted 4/13/2008 5:57 PM (GMT -7)   
Students are only eligilble for their parents insurance until age 22 so signing up for another program probably won't help.
If she gets a job that offers health insurance she won't have trouble getting that insurance as group health plans cant make individual discriminations-HMOs and PP networks don't exclude preexisting conditions. I had a lapse in insurance when I was self employed and had RA my health insurance started the day my job started and covered all of my RA related expenses but again that really only applies to the HMO/PP networks.
COBRA will be quite expensive probably so getting a job that pays a little less but has great insurance may be worth it.
She can also marry someone who has a job with hmo/pp network insurance and be covered from day one of the marrage.

bektold
Regular Member


Date Joined Jul 2007
Total Posts : 456
   Posted 4/13/2008 7:07 PM (GMT -7)   
She should also check with the state.  I live in Texas, and I know we have a state sponsored insurance program specifically for people with health problems that prevent them from getting other insurance. 

FitzyK23
Veteran Member


Date Joined May 2005
Total Posts : 4219
   Posted 4/13/2008 7:41 PM (GMT -7)   
Just going to agree with the other posts:
- first, her coverage probably won't end the day she graduates. She should find out exactly when it does end.
- After it ends she has 60-90 days to elect Cobra. During this time if anything should happen she can just back pay the Cobra payments and be covered.
- If she doesn't elect Cobra in the 90 day period she risks being labeled as having a "pre-existing condition" when she tries to get other coverage.
- When electing Cobra, she or her parents would be responsible for the amount of money the employer pays for her insurance plus the amount her parents pay. This can be anywhere from $300-$1000 per month.
- Her best bet is to start job hunting now so that she has a job lined up that she can start before her coverage ends. Group insurers can not deny for pre-existing conditions if there was no lapse in coverage.

When I graduated my parents paid approx. $500/month for Cobra for 3 months until my health insurance at my new job started. It was well worth it.
26 Year old married female law student.  Diagnosed w/ CD 3 years ago, IBS for over 10 years before that, which was probably the CD.  I am sort of lactose intollerant too but can handle anything cultured and do well w/ lactose pills and lactaid.  For crohns I am currently on Pentasa 4 pills/4x day and hysociamine prn.  I also have bad acid reflux and have been on PPI's since age 13.  I have been through prilosec, prevacid, and nexium.  Currently I am on Protonix in the morning and Zantac at night.  I alos take a birth control pill to allow some fun in my life.
 
 


radian23
New Member


Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 7
   Posted 4/14/2008 5:21 AM (GMT -7)   
Thank you all so much for your replies.  I get the sense there are a lot of caring individuals here.  Signing up for another symester would be a good idea but we are moving out of the area right after graduation.  We are both planning to move from Wisconsin to Tennessee where she will hopefully get a job in teaching.  We are actually going to a career fair in Tennessee next week so hopefully she can secure a job before school comes to an end.  I will make sure to have her contact her fathers HR department and will also have her check the exact day her insurance coverage will come to an end.  I understand that Cobra is really expensive but I think in her situation it is the best option we have.  Thank you all for your support.

bektold
Regular Member


Date Joined Jul 2007
Total Posts : 456
   Posted 4/14/2008 6:32 AM (GMT -7)   
Cobra is definitely expensive.  But it's cheaper than trying to pay for your meds on your own.  My Remicade runs $9,000-$10,000 every other month!  I haven't added it up lately, but all my other meds would probably run me $800-$900/month without a prescription card.

onebloodonelife
Veteran Member


Date Joined Feb 2006
Total Posts : 842
   Posted 4/14/2008 6:56 AM (GMT -7)   
radian23 said...
Thank you all so much for your replies. I get the sense there are a lot of caring individuals here. Signing up for another symester would be a good idea but we are moving out of the area right after graduation. We are both planning to move from Wisconsin to Tennessee where she will hopefully get a job in teaching. We are actually going to a career fair in Tennessee next week so hopefully she can secure a job before school comes to an end. I will make sure to have her contact her fathers HR department and will also have her check the exact day her insurance coverage will come to an end. I understand that Cobra is really expensive but I think in her situation it is the best option we have. Thank you all for your support.


Depending on her insurance, she should be able to sign up for another semester, even in a different state and be covered. I know under my parents' plan, they just mark me down as a student, and I can go anywhere in the nation with full coverage, paying the same copays, as long as I'm a full-time student, and I'm under 25.

You mentioned that you're both from Wisconsin, is the plan by chance WEA? That's what my mom's plan is, so I know the most about that one.
Crohn's Disease for two years and counting (diagnosed March 8th, 2006)
Imuran: no more! Got the GI's okay to stop taking it :)
Humira: finally got approval on 9/21, done with loading doses, starting biweekly schedule on 10/10
Dicyclomine and hyoscamine for intestinal cramping and spasms
www.myspace.com/onebloodonelife


radian23
New Member


Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 7
   Posted 4/14/2008 8:01 AM (GMT -7)   
Her insurance is actually Blue Cross Blue Shield - Alabama.  I hope she is covered for a while after graduation.  I just called about my insurance (health partners) and found out I will be covered until December 31st.  I'll probably call again in a few days to ask the same question.  Its amazing how you will hear different things from different agents sometimes tongue
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