Keeping health insurance when we really need it!

Hello, we have just learned that my spouse has a terminal illness. Even as we struggle to absorb this devastating news, we are worrying about how to make sure we can maintain health insurance coverage for what's to come. Currently, we are each covered by our own employers. However, my insurance coverage is better and we are concerned my spouse's employer will lay him off when they find out he is ill (based on who they tend to lay off). My open enrollment period is coming up. Seeking any advice on Do's and Don'ts. What's the deal with pre-existing conditions? Universal health care would be ideal but not confident it will work on our timeline. Thank you, BPN.  

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I'm so sorry to hear this news. No one should ever have to deal with navigating health insurance during an already challenging time.

You have a few choices. If you want your spouse to stay on his own plan for now, then you can both re-enroll in your respective plans. If he does get laid off it counts as a "life event" and you'll be able to enroll him in your insurance at that time. From my understanding, pre existing conditions are irrelevant for employer sponsored health plans so you shouldn't have to worry about that in order to add him and you shouldn't have to pay any extra.

It's also possible for him to enroll in his own insurance and enroll in yours as people are allowed to have secondary insurance. I don't know how useful it would be in your situation and yo would have to look into the specific coverage of the plans.

Another things to look into is Medicaid, some conditions automatically qualify you even if you don't meet the income requirements.

I'm also fairly certain his job can't lay him off for having a medical condition, but I imagine you may not want to fight that battle right now. He should consider applying for FMLA and disability though.

I hope this helps a little bit.

You should be able to sign him up on yours without issue depending on your company’s policies. If not look at either Medicaid or exchange offerings depending on your income level. If he loses his job you may be able to get very subsidized insurance on the exchange. 

I am so sorry to hear about your husband's terminal diagnosis!  This is a wild idea, or maybe not: Have you considered moving to France?  Reportedly non-residents can use their universal health insurance (I don't know, just suggesting).   Is there a way this could be arranged with your employer?  France's healthcare is outstanding!  All the best.

PS:  My husband spent 109 days in Summit Hospital, 2015, for stage IV non-hodgkins lymphoma. The hospital costs were over $3 MILLION.  But his Medicare plus BC/BS paid for everything.  Have you looked into your husband qualifying for Medicare?