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I am not sure if this belong here or on personal finance. I am leaving my current position and starting a new position with a different employer. There is a two day gap (Saturday, Sunday) between my last day in the job and first day in the new job. I am eligible for health insurance from the first day in the new job. What should I do to bridge such a small gap in coverage? I could ask my spouse's employer to add me but it seems like this is kind of a lot of effort to make everyone go through (all that paperwork) just so I can be on his policy for two days.

What do people in my situation typically do?

  • Maybe edit the title to indicate you're asking about health insurance. Me? I'd wing it but I'm sure you can buy low-cost cover for 2 days. – TheMathemagician Aug 6 '14 at 17:32
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    Might want to add which country you are in, in the U.S. for example if the (old) employer has more than 20 employees, you could get up to 18 months of insurance via COBRA – user2813274 Aug 6 '14 at 17:36
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    Don't do anything risky over the weekend -- no skiing, skydiving, etc. :) If you have to, say, go to an urgent care clinic to get an Rx for antibiotics, just eat the cost (it was only $100 or so last time I did this during a short interval of no coverage). If you get hit by a truck and end up in the hospital, you can elect COBRA retroactively. – James Adam Oct 8 '14 at 13:44
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    Are you sure your health coverage expires the final day of work? You may have paid a month in advance. – user8365 Oct 24 '14 at 19:49
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The best part of COBRA for these small gaps is that it takes them weeks to send you the paperwork to register; but it is retroactive to the day the old coverage ended.

So if you don't get sick during that weekend, you can ignore the application. If you do get seriously ill use the same doctor's and hospital you would have with the old plan; then purchase the COBRA coverage knowing that you needed it.

The COBRA coverage sill keeps the continuous coverage going. The two day gap you are worried about is less than the 63 gap that will cause a break in continuous coverage.

Note: make sure you understand any deadlines for submitting bills to the FSA or HSA, or insurance company.

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    I was going to post this point exactly. I recently used COBRA and it was nearly two months before they finally processed my first payment! – Jared Aug 7 '14 at 20:02
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Are you sure that your current coverage stops the day you leave your current position? Most health insurance runs monthly so if you're leaving in the middle of the month, it's pretty common that your current company would already have paid for you through the end of the month.

If you are sure that you'll actually have a gap, your options for covering a 2-day gap are pretty much the same as they would be for a 30-day gap. If you're in the US, you would generally have the option of using COBRA to continue your current coverage. You can potentially get added to your spouse's plan. You can go purchase an individual policy for a short period of time. Or you can elect to go uncovered for 2 days.

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    Be very careful about going uncovered for any period of time, especially if you have pre-existing conditions. While there are tons of legal measures to protect you, they aren't perfect. (You're "probably" fine, but "probably" just isn't good enough when we're talking about your well being and financial security) – RualStorge Aug 6 '14 at 18:59
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First thing is to take care of any known expenses (such as prescription refills) before the old coverage expires if you might need them over the two days.

Most of us, I suspect, just hope to not get get sick those two days. Some employers pay premiums at the beginning of the month and you may be covered until the end of the month which would cover those days. Check with your current HR.

There is also COBRA coverage which your HR should explain to you . It is meant for covering gaps but I believe you would have to pay a whole month's premium. If you have a serious illness or are pregnant where you know you have a strong possibility of ending up in the hospital over the weekend, it is probably worth it to get this coverage if your old insurance doesn't go to the end of the month. You have 60 days to get Cobra, so check with your HR, it is possible you could sign up on MOnday if you had a problem over the weekend and have continuous coverage.

You could also consider taking your spouse's coverage now and then changing it to your own when open season comes up in a couple of months. Some places charge extra for spouses who could get their own insurance.

  • I know this is really pedantic, but if the new job starts on the 3rd of the month then it may not matter that the previous employer’s health care lasted until the end of the previous month. – bdesham Oct 24 '14 at 20:08
  • In that case, take out your own policy to cover the time. – HLGEM Oct 24 '14 at 20:25
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As others have said, your current insurance may not actually end on your last day. If it does, have you talked to your new employer about starting your covereage early?

Several years back I worked on a fairly large contract which was given to a new company. The termination date for the old company was the end of the month, which happened to fall on a Friday. In order to make sure we would all have health care coverage, the new company started everyone's health care on the 1st of the month, even though (nearly) all of us started work on the 3rd. I mention this just to point out that if the employer wants to make it happen they can.

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