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Covered California and Obamacare related questions from consumers, employers and agents are answered by Phil Daigle with the best information available at the time. Archived entries may no longer be accurate as the Covered California and Obamacare knowledge-base is evolving quickly. TO REQUEST A PERSONAL RESPONSE INCLUDE EMAIL ADDRESS.

Alternative to High-Cost Group Health Plan

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Question: I am currently covered by the VA. My benefits will stop in 2013 due to income. I have pre-existing conditions, high blood pressure and cholesterol. My spouse checked with her employer and can get me coverage for around $650/ mo. Will this be the best and most inexpensive choice for me with my conditions?

Answer: When your VA healthcare benefits end in 2013, you probably will not have any other health insurance options than your spouse’s group plan because of your preexisting conditions. Your wife’s employer-sponsored health plan is expensive because it’s probably very comprehensive coverage and that’s why the monthly premium is so high. If you had other coverage options, you would probably choose less comprehensive coverage - a high deductible plan with potentially more out-of-pocket expenses - for a lower monthly premium.

Fortunately, you will not have to pay such a high premium for very long. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, you will be able to purchase individual health insurance through your state health insurance exchange in January 2014 without being declined or rated-up for your preexisting conditions.

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