January 1, 2010

Q: Our company offers a Health Reimbursement Arrangement in lieu of a traditional group plan. This means that everyone seeks out their own insurance plan. We have an H1B employee coming to the U.S. next month with his pregnant wife, to be located in Georgia. Insurance companies have generally required 6 months of residency in Georgia before considering. Any thoughts as to what we can do to get this person insurance coverage?

A: The two most likely choices are "Inbound Immigrant" and "Core Health Insurance". Both offer limited benefits without restricting eligibility due to the pregnancy, citizenship or residency issue. None of the individual health insurance plans are designed to pay for pre-existing pregnancy expenses for obvious reasons, so plan to cover these costs through the HRA. Only the state-mandate individual insurance plan, available later as you indicated, is designed to take over the costs associated with a pre-existing pregnancy. The state-mandate plans are designed with a built-in delays in coverage to ensure that people don't enroll just prior to a large expected medical expense. It is possible to minimize the effects of these coverage delays by having a "Certificate of Creditable Coverage" issued by another health insurance plan - usually a short term medical insurance policy issued about six weeks after the delivery date.



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