I am asking this question on behalf of my sister, who was diagnosed with colon cancer about 2 weeks ago. She has already applied for Obamacare and is paying her premiums. In addition, she started a new job (Nurse) about 2 months ago, which also came with private insurance. Unfortunately, she told them she had cancer and they fired her this morning – which they can do within 90 days from the start of employment. My question is this: She is all by herself in Florida, and will not be able to go through surgery and chemo without assistance. We would like her to come up to New York where family can take care of her. What is the process for moving her Obamacare insurance to the New York exchange? Will there be a gap of insurance? She has been told that she needs surgery ASAP. She is feeling overwhelmed, because she will not be able to keep her apartment and nobody is going to hire a nurse who has cancer. No job, and no income. Please provide any information you can offer, thanks.


When you move with a chronic illness you'll need to apply for coverage before you move to avoid a coverage gap, this can be done via special enrollment. She should call the Marketplace immediately, then she can set stuff up so that her new plan starts as close to the day her old plan ends and she moves as possible. A person has 60 days after moving to enroll, but those who want coverage right away need to get the enrollment process moving at least 30 days in advance to ensure coverage starts on or around the move date.

It can be a little tricky coordinating things, and often there will be a small gap or overlap in coverage. Still this is the best move for someone who needs treatment close to or throughout the move. Glad that the Affordable Care Act provided the legislation that ensures she can get coverage no matter what, wouldn't want to see a world without it where she could be unable to move due to a preexisting condition.

A few extra notes, she needs to go on your family plan or Medicaid. If she goes on the family plan keep in mind that you'll need to claim her as a dependent at the end of the year and that her income will count toward your household income. If you can't claim here then know that you can still pay out of pocket for her coverage, you can also get Medicaid in NY as an adult with no income. One last thing to keep in mind, Silver plans offer cost sharing reduction subsidies. If the household income will qualify you, you should take advantage of this. The chances are high you'll hit the out-of-pocket maximum with cancer treatment.

Also for those who have a similar issue, remember multi-state plans are an option. This can help let someone move without having a gap in coverage.

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