Had surgery, changed jobs — who pays?

I had outpatient surgery a week ago, but may be switching jobs in a couple weeks. How does this affect my insurance coverage? If i was insured when I had surgery, will my medical bills be covered? Or does it depend on when the bill is filed with insurance?   Thanks for your advice.

A Bit Confused in Illinois

Dear Confused,

Your surgery will be paid for by the insurance that you had at the time. In fact, most surgeries are paid for as a “global fee” which means that your follow-up visits after the surgery have already been paid for. So, if you have a post-surgery check-up 60 days later, it was paid for by your insurance at the time of the surgery – not by whatever insurance you have at the 60-day follow-up visit.

This won’t have any effect on your next insurance plan, as long as you don’t have a 63-day gap between plans. (I’m assuming you were on the previous plan for a year, or you haven’t had other gaps in your health insurance coverage.) Under health reform, there are no pre-existing conditions anymore; this means that plans cannot refuse to cover your bills for illnesses that you already have. However, you can’t just jump around between plans when you feel like it. You have to join during open enrollments or “special” enrollments, like when you lose one plan and gain another (like when you change jobs, in other words).

I hope that your surgery went well and that your new job is a dream come true!

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Linda Riddell

About Linda Riddell

A published author and health policy analyst with 25 years’ experience, Linda Riddell's goal is to alleviate the widespread ailment of not knowing what your health plan can do for you.