Changing Jobs: Impact On Existing Benefits
Benefits from a new employer go not generally start on day one. Health, dental, vision and prescription drug coverage usually start at the end of a probationary period. So does a life insurance benefit.
Long term disability and retirement plan benefits generally do not start until later.
To find out how to review a new employer's benefits, including when they start, without disclosing your health condition, see: Seeking New Employment.
Benefits From A New Employer Do Not Generally Start On Day One
Most employers do not offer benefits until new employees work through a probation period, usually one to three months.
Health, Dental, Vision and Prescription Drug Coverage
Health, dental, vision and prescription drug coverages automatically become effective once you pass the probation period and complete the appropriate enrollment forms.
Because of a federal law known as HIPAA, you may not be subjected to another pre-existing condition period waiting period if you have coverage, you've had it for a long enough period of time, and it hasn't been more than 62 days (two months) since your previous coverage ended.
Under the Americans With Disabilities Act and similar laws, you cannot be discriminated against with respect to an employer's health insurance because of your medical condition.
If there is a waiting period before the new employer's health insurance starts, you may be permitted to continue your current health coverage under COBRA and similar state laws -- though you'll have to pay the full premium.
If money is an issue and you don't want to, or can't afford to, continue your insurance:
- You will not have insurance for the months of the waiting period. This is not a good thing for anyone, much less a person with a medical history.
- At least you won't be penalized for those months with respect to a pre-existing condition exclusion period under the new employer's health plan. The waiting period counts for this purpose as if you were covered during those months.
- If you allow a gap without health insurance for more than 62 days (other than the waiting period) you can be subjected to a new pre-existing condition exclusion in your new health insurance.
Group Life Insurance
Group Life Insurance is almost always issued without health questions to new employees and starts at the end of a probationary period.
If higher amounts of life insurance are offered (“supplemental life”), there are usually health questions with respect to those supplemental amounts. Rather than be put off, take the time to read the literature. There may be no questions if you want life insurance up to a preset limit. If there are questions, you may be able to qualify without lying.
Some people have been known to move from employer to employer just to accumulate life insurance.
Long Term Disability
Long Term Disability Insurance is almost always issued without health questions. Still, it becomes important to find out when it starts, and whether there is an exclusion from coverage due to your pre-existing condition.
Retirement Plans often have waiting periods that last longer than the probation period for other benefits.
Check your Summary Plan Description to find out the details. For information about retirement plans, click here.
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