Q.- We just hired someone who has been out of work for a few weeks. She won’t be eligible for our health coverage until the first day of next month. She is concerned about a lapse of health coverage. I know the penalty for not having health coverage has been reduced to $0, but she is concerned. Is her concern legitimate?
A.- A less than three-month lapse in coverage will not cause her to be subject to an individual responsibility penalty (which is $0 now anyway). She should be reminded that if she has medical issues while she doesn’t have coverage, she will have to pay out of pocket with no insurance reimbursement or rates. This could be a concern. If she was entitled to continuation coverage (COBRA) under her prior employer’s health plan, she may wish to elect that coverage to bridge the gap until she is eligible for benefits under your plan.