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I'm leaving my job in a few days, and I have significant "in progress" dental expenses.

I haven't received any official COBRA information yet. I'm worried that any appointments after my last day at work will not be covered, and when I elect to continue my dental coverage under COBRA retroactively, the onus will be on me to somehow prove that those expenses were covered (X-rays and forms with doctor's signatures).

How can I avoid these headaches and assure real continuity of coverage? (Please don't say "call the insurer and ask them" -- I am not naive enough to think they are my friends and will give me advice on how to maximize my benefits at their expense)

Is there anything I can do preemptively, while I still have the job, to keep the same insurance plan without interruptions?

(I'm in California, if this is relevant)

  • Do you have a new job lined up that has insurance coverage? – mhoran_psprep Oct 20 '14 at 22:45
  • @mhoran_psprep nope – MaxB Oct 21 '14 at 5:02
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As long as you sign up for COBRA within 60 days of leaving work, it will retroactively cover you starting from the date you left work. (Yes, that means people can and often do "game the system" during a gap between jobs by waiting almost 60 days to see if they used coverage during that time, and sign up if they did, and not sign up if they didn't.)

If your doctor made you pay your costs in full, but you were really covered (either the system made a mistake or you were covered retroactively with COBRA), you can always have them run it through the insurance again later and refund you with the money they get.

  • "you can always have them run it through the insurance" -- Is this something they are obligated to do? Insurance-negotiated rates are usually lower, so the doctor loses money if you have insurance, and he has no incentive, since he already got paid. Is there anything I can do preemptively, while I still have the job? – MaxB Oct 22 '14 at 18:07
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    @MaxB: Well, I've done that many times (my insurance broker messed up, and it didn't show I was covered many months after I signed up, but they eventually fixed it), and the doctors have always run it again when I asked. Even if they don't run it for you, you can just file a claim to the insurance company directly. – user102008 Oct 22 '14 at 18:13
  • @MaxB, yes, it is something they are obligated to do under their provider agreement with the insurance carrier(s). – quid May 16 '16 at 21:44

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