Every day, many people go from an individual health insurance plan to a group plan. That’s a good direction to be going, right? Most people worry (with good reason) about the opposite move: group to individual.
I did this once, back when I quit my corporate job, and I can tell you that it’s not much to worry about. See my post from last year on buying health insurance when self-employed.
With some jobs returning to the economy though, going from individual to group is likely a more popular move than ever.
In most cases, this move (individual to group) will mean better coverage and a portion of the costs to be absorbed by the employer. Praise the Lord, right?! But there are some other things to consider.
You should stay insured with your individual plan until you are certain you are on your new group plan (duh!). You don’t want to have a lapse of coverage and give your employer a reason to make you wait 12 months before they cover you, in case of any pre-existing conditions. Just be sure you haven’t ended your individual plan too soon.
Also, make sure that your new employer will allow you to include your spouse and dependents on the plan. Finally, don’t expect the two insurance plans to communicate, even if they are the same company. Group and individual are usually two completely different businesses, even within the same company.
I recently moved back to group health insurance and between the two separate Blue Cross Blue Shield plans, no one had a clue I had moved within the BCBS family. Odd, I thought.
Because they don’t necessarily communicate, even within the same company, make sure you call each plan and first understand your coverage. Then understand your stop/start dates so you’ll be exactly sure of when your coverage ends and begins. Finally, you should understand your payment options with each so that you can be prepared to make payment.
What has been your experience with going from individual to group?