Short term insurance for New York family

January 1, 2010

Q: My wife recently changed jobs and does not get health care coverage through her new employer due to the high cost (1000+ dollars a month for family coverage). I cannot enroll in my company health plan until April 1st. We are looking to insure myself 27 yrs old 6 ft 266 lbs, and my wife 25 yrs old 5 ft 2 in 120 lbs. We live in NY zip code 14072, and have no health conditions, and do not currently take any medication. I really don't know where to look or what to look for or really even what options I have for coverage.

A: Most Americans would simply switch to an easy, inexpensive high quality short term health insurance policy until your group coverage becomes available. The controlling issue in your case is that New York state does not allow that type of insurance to be issued within its borders. For New Yorkers to enjoy this benefit, they have to leave the state and enroll while travelling, at college or trade school, at a vacation house or relative's home, business trip, etc. that is located outside of New York state. It seems crazy but you may notice that most other states in the U.S. allow a range of high quality affordable short term health insurance policies available even to short term visitors who are not even permanent residents of that other state. (For example, see the wide range of choices for Connecticut listed at http://www.medsave.com/low-cost-health-insurance-listing/ct.htm). Once a policy is issued outside New York, the coverage is valid in all states, including New York, and may continue for up to a year or as long as coverage is needed.

Assuming that you are not planning any residence outside of New York in the near future, then the only easy and low cost options are the limited benefit hospitalization plans. See Core Health Insurance (available plans change from time tot time) at http://www.medsave.com/low-cost-health-insurance-listing/ny.htm. Ideally, these insurance plans are used as a supplement to your group insurance but in a pinch might have to serve as your only coverage until better options become available.

See "Short term insurance options in New York state" for more information. New York lawmakers need to realize that health insurance options that are not affordable to its residents are not really "options" at all.

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