Short-Term Health Insurance / Affordable Care Act (Obamacare)?

Hello, friends! First-time user, first-timer to Costa Rica!

My name is Geoff, and my fiancee (Lisel) and I will be moving from Denver to Costa Rica at the end of February for three-to-six months. We're moving to Nosara for an intensive Spanish Language Immersion program, and we're very excited. But we'd like to be healthy, as well (our insurance will expire at the end of the month, as we've both quit our jobs).

We have two questions:

1. Does anyone know of a short-term health insurance program which provides decent coverage, but won't break the bank?

2. Has anyone figured out yet if these programs satisfy the mandates for the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare)?

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. We thank you for any information you can provide, and look forward to being members of this community!

Welcome to the forum! Unfortunately I can't answer your questions but I thought I'd at least say hi. I'm guessing no one has responded because no one has the answers you seek.

Here's an article on international health insurance that might be helpful:
http://american-european.net/article-in … a-316.html

I would think that one of these would be acceptable so as not to get dinged with an Obamacare penalty for not being insured. But who knows? I'm not sure the Obamacare experts would even know. The whole system seems to be kind of confused and confusing. You might try asking some O-care approved insurance agents in your area. If so I wouldn't take the word of just one, I'd check with several to see if they all answer the same way. It seems like there's a lot of misinformation out there when it comes to O-care.

Scrounge around over here and give them a call.They'll have some English speaking people. Obamacare is irrelevant if you'll be here. You can get a policy, very reasonable through INS that will cover you all over the world.
For about twice that amount(I'm serious) you can also include coverage in The Idiocracy you're traveling from.
http://www.ins-cr.com/index.html

You may be able to find an international health care policy that includes coverage in the USA to satisfy the Affordable Care Act (ACA), but it would likely be expensive - it will need to cover pre-existing conditions, which most international policies do not. 

If you maintain your residence in the USA and are not out of the country more than 330 days, I believe that you must still satisfy the ACA. You may want to maintain a policy in the USA under the ACA and "pay as you go" in Costa Rica.  You could also buy an extended Travel Insurance Policy for emergency coverage in Costa Rica. (Check www.azimuthrisk.com )

Arnold Ziffle :

Obamacare is irrelevant if you'll be here.

It certainly won't be "irrelevant" if they are returning to the States, as the original post implies. They did say they were only going to be in Costa Rica for 3 - 6 months.

Todd

Here's an article about  Costa Rica and Obamacare:
http://www.welovecostarica.com/public/O … Abroad.cfm

I was going to post that link, but the last time I posted a link to that site on here, I got banned.

toddcarnes :

I was going to post that link, but the last time I posted a link to that site on here, I got banned.

Well if it is not acceptable to post links to other sites, I hope the forum Admin will just delete the post and let me know. I've seen other links posted, though not to that site, so Who knows? I don't wish to break any rules but the article I linked to is absolutely relevant to  the question.

I agree. It's a good answer to the OP's question. :)

I have been researching this as well.

You say that both of you have quit your jobs.  If that is so, then your "official" income would most certainly be at or below poverty level?  If that is the case, you may qualify for the plan with the $12,000 deductible for free.  And that would at least satisfy them in the short-term.

I am NOT an expert, but when I was looking around the government website that runs the insurance programs, you are allowed to estimate your income for the upcoming year.  If you end up being way off, you would just have to compensate for the difference when you file taxes for the year.

Although the open enrollment period is over, a change of life circumstances, like quitting a job, allows you to enroll mid-year.

fgmom :

I have been researching this as well.

You say that both of you have quit your jobs.  If that is so, then your "official" income would most certainly be at or below poverty level?  If that is the case, you may qualify for the plan with the $12,000 deductible for free.  And that would at least satisfy them in the short-term.

I am NOT an expert, but when I was looking around the government website that runs the insurance programs, you are allowed to estimate your income for the upcoming year.  If you end up being way off, you would just have to compensate for the difference when you file taxes for the year.

Although the open enrollment period is over, a change of life circumstances, like quitting a job, allows you to enroll mid-year.

[Note to posters: If you use the QUOTE button when replying then it includes the post so people know who you are referring to. In this case I figured it out by reviewing the thread, fairly quickly.]

I know quite a bit about Obamacare and I believe you are correct in what you say above.

Anyway, yeah, if you make, say, only $24k a year for a married couple, then your Obamacare policy should be truly "affordable care". Once you get up around $50k it's not so affordable imho.

And yes, if you lose your job for example, you can quit your health policy and apply for an adjustment to your subsidy and you might get put on something like Medi-Cal if you live in California for example, which is free or very cheap care.

Here in CA the problem with applying for Obamacare if you have several part time jobs, is they do not allow you to enter your part time income, they ask how much you make at each job per week or month, then their software automatically multiplies it times 12 or 52, so it is totally screwy if you have several part time incomes or for example, incomes from several web sites.

Also estimating your next year's income is a real problem in these cases as it can change willy-nilly. You can easily lose a part time job or your independent contractor or independent business income can change from one month to the next. The problem then is this, for example: (these figures are not 100% accurate and it also varies from state to state as to where the cut-off point is for getting a subsidy for your Obamacare policy)

Let's say your projected income next year is $59k for you and your wife. Okay, so you sign up with Obamacare and you get a $450/month Silver policy and the government gives you a $480/month subsidy based on your reported income of $59k. So then you get your policy and when tax time comes next year you realize you made $62k which is slightly OVER the cut-off point for getting that $480 a month subsidy.

So then you get charged for that $480 x 12 months subsidy! (as I understand it - because you didn't really qualify for it though you thought you would). So you end up with a nearly $6,000 debt to the government for that year and in effect paid $930/month for your crappy Silver Obamacare policy instead of $450/month.

It works in reverse as well, so if you thought you were going to make $60k but in reality only ended up making $40k then you are supposed to get the difference back, between what you paid for month for the policy based on $60k a year vs what you would have paid if you'd applied based on a $40k/year income.

However that difference is not as great as in my example above, because the cut off point for subsidy is a cliff, not a hill. That is, over a certain amount the subsidy just disappears, it does not begin to become lower. The subsidy goes slightly lower bit by bit, as your income goes up, until you reach the cut off point. Then it just goes away completely.

So if the cut off is $60k for a couple to get a $490/month subsidy and they end up making $60,001 ($1 dollar over the cut off point) they would not get LESS subsidy, they would go from getting, say, a $489/month subsidy to getting $0 subsidy just because of that $1 dollar over.

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