Health Insurance for Partners: No Silver Bullet, but Options
As we all know, health insurance is a nightmare, and is compounded for those of us with limited options for our spouses, domestic partners, and family members. Since December, GLIFAA has been working with the American Foreign Service Protective Association (www.afspa.org) to find a health insurer that would work for our partners and our mobile lifestyle. Unfortunately, we haven’t found the perfect plan. However, we can tell you about a number of options that might work for certain Eligible Family Members and Members of Household defined as domestic partners, parents and children over age 26 who do not qualify for coverage under the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) Program. You may also wish to review previous articles of interest on health insurance posted on GLIFAA’s webpage at http://www.glifaa.org/content/health-articles.
The plans described below offer coverage for U.S. citizens and foreign nationals who accompany a Federal employee on overseas assignments. In the case of the Liaison Majestic, it also covers partners during assignments in the United States. Length of coverage is available from 5 days up to three years. After three years, if there are any problems with the renewal, please contact AFSPA at 202-833-4910. What we offer below is only a very brief description of plan features.
In short, Seven Corners (www.sevencorners.com) provides three choices which may be of interest. Reside offers limited coverage, Reside Prime is better, but only insures individuals for up to six months in the United States, Majestic Liaison is good both in the U.S. and overseas, and covers both Americans and foreign nationals, but not pre-existing conditions. ICOA’s Compass Platinum (not affiliated with AFSPA) would work for a J1 partner/spouse only while on assignment to the U.S. (http://www.isoa.org/Compass_Platinum.aspx). If your healthcare concerns include potential pregnancies, HIV/AIDS, or gender reassignment, be sure and read the small print on the exclusions page as some plans will not provide the coverage you need. As I said, no silver bullet, but hopefully some helpful options.
Reside might be good for non-U.S. citizens residing anywhere, or U.S. citizens residing outside the United States. U.S. citizens can’t be in the U.S. more than six months in a policy year, but foreign nationals who cannot get any other insurance in the U.S. could be issued a policy good for up to four years. It provides maternity coverage and no provider network is required. Americans must leave the country within 30 days from the effective date of the policy.
Reside Prime provides comprehensive major medical to anyone, anywhere in the world. It is good for foreign nationals in their home country (or elsewhere outside the U.S.), international citizens who travel often, and U.S. citizens working outside the U.S. & Canada. Policy holders can’t be in the U.S./Canada more than six months in a policy year. There are optional riders for hazardous sports, dental, AD&D upgrades, increased hospital indemnities, etc… Again, Americans must leave the U.S. within 30 days from the effective date.
Liaison Majestic offers a comprehensive major medical plan with a choice of deductibles and plan maximums. It offers additional coverage for hazardous sports and provides separate home country benefits. Coverage is worldwide (with a few exceptions, mostly unaccompanied posts) and includes emergency/political evacuation/repatriation and Accidental Death benefits. It also includes travel assistance services and identity theft services, a loss of checked luggage benefit, among others.
Finally, while not an AFSPA option, a number of officers with partners in the United States on the J1 visa program have been satisfied with the International Student Organization’s health plan Compass Platinum, however it is good only while stationed in the United States as the plan was developed with international students in mind. It is much more generous regarding the pre-existing condition issue, however, and seems quite good at paying for services required.
From my personal research, I can tell you that Reside would cost me about $1100/yr, Reside Prime about $1500/yr, Liaison Majestic about $1900/yr, and Compass Platinum about $2200/yr. Of course, every individual’s rates may vary, so you’ll need to do some research on your own. Good luck, and please keep Ken Kero-Mentz in the loop if anyone out there finds better coverage elsewhere!