Health insurance is a very complex subject in the United States. With significant bureaucratic obstacles, high costs and sometimes limited coverage, people can easily become frustrated with their health care insurance. If you are dissatisfied with your health insurance policy, here are some tips on switching to get the policy that will most adequately suit you.
Inform your current carrier that you will be discontinuing their services. Most of the time, your employer will do this anyway, but it is a good idea to speak with the company yourself to find out exactly when your coverage will be terminated and if there are options to prolong it, if necessary.
Sign up for benefits from your new job as soon as possible. Sometimes you need to wait until your first day to enroll in benefits, but now that many companies do most of their transactions online, you may be able to set up your benefit package before you even get there. Contact human resources or the person who hired you and ask about this option.
Plan your end date/start date strategically. If your job start/end dates are flexible, try to leave your old job at the beginning of the month. Often, you are covered by your health insurance until the last day of the month in which you leave, so you can potentially avoid a lapse in coverage, unless your new job has a probation period during which you do not receive benefits.
If there is a lapse in coverage, pay COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act) to be sure you are covered during the interim period. It is more expensive than when your employer pays for it because you have to pay the full premium yourself, however for the short-term, it is often worth it to have this insurance coverage.
Investigate rates. If you were diagnosed with a condition requiring long-term, expensive care, and want to switch insurance policies, you might get stuck with much higher premiums than advertised, depending on the state you live in. This is especially important if you do not get your health insurance through an employer or school.
Speak with your current doctors. It is a good idea to make sure the people who are treating your condition will still accept the insurance to which you are switching. Doctors end their contracts with insurance companies all the time, so is important to know that you are switching to a plan that will allow you to get the coverage that you need, especially if you have a condition that requires consistent treatment.
Investigate the plan-year. Not all insurance plans renew in January. Depending each company, and sometimes on the date of activation, you may have to wait several months. If this is not an option for you, call your insurance company to discuss cancellation. Some insurance companies will charge fees, and others may not let you out of your plan.
Plan accordingly to have your new insurance activated on or before the date you current insurance plan is terminated.