Question: I have been insured under COBRA for the last 12 months. I am not working full time but need new insurance by January 2014. My husband is insured under my insurance also. He had tonsil cancer in 2008. Finished treatment in December 2008. What will my options be? I do not know where to start. Our current monthly premium is $1,200. During my husband's illness our KHPE coverage was excellent. Can you help steer me in the right direction? Thank you.
Answer: If you have not already done so, you can find options for coverage by visiting the website for your state’s insurance exchange. If you live in Pennsylvania or New Jersey, that is healthcare.gov. The site includes a calculator that estimates the premiums you would have to pay for different plans, taking into account any subsidies you may be eligible to receive. Your husband’s health status will not affect either your eligibility for coverage or the cost. To purchase coverage that is effective during 2014, you must apply by March 31. After that, you will have to wait until the open enrollment period for coverage that is effective in 2015, which will begin next fall. You can also purchase coverage directly from an insurance company without going through an exchange. However, if you do, you will not be eligible for a subsidy to help with the cost.
Robert I. Field, Ph.D., J.D., M.P.H. is a professor of law at the Earle Mack School of Law and professor of health management and policy at the School of Public Health at Drexel University. He also writes for The Field Clinic blog. Ask Rob your questions about the new healthcare law.