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Help! Job and health insurance advice needed

September 12th, 2017 at 07:19 pm

I am facing a real dilemma here with health insurance and I welcome your feedback/gut feelings.

Today was my interview for the contract job that "could" go perm. It's with an agency that creates custom training materials for bio pharmaceutical salespeople, to help them improve their clinical knowledge of their employers' drugs, so they can speak more knowledgeably when talking to physicians. A specialized niche to be sure.

I learned today after I got home from the interview that I got the job. All that remains is to fill out all the recruiter agency paperwork and sign the contract. I should start in 2 weeks' time.

However, it's the recruiter agency that will be paying me. The agency offers what appears to be a cheap, sub-par health plan that covers only $600 maximum annually on prescriptions. The insurer is First Health and the pharmacy is thru Caremark (CVS). The medication I'm on for the MS costs well over $600 for just one month, so this clearly wouldn't work.

I know the company that makes my medication offers financial assistance, so I called them for details. They said that I would first have to enroll in the new plan and then they refer you to something called Assist RX. You apply and if approved they cover your meds 100%, 6 months at a time. You have to reapply every 6 months. They do look at your income but nothing else financial as far as I know. I have significant retirement savings I wouldn't want to touch and as far as I can see, they wouldn't look into that.

The whole thing looks very iffy to me becus there is no guarantee Assist RX would approve my application, and if they don't, I'm out of luck and it would be too late to go back to my Cigna COBRA health insurance which at least is good til January.

To complicate things further, when I got home from my interview today, there was a call from an employer about another job I applied for. This job is perm, with substantially lower pay, but it comes with full benefits. We had a good talk on the phone and HR will talk to the hiring manager to try to get me in for an interview ASAP.

I don't know what to do! If I take the pharma agency contract job and keep my current Cigna insurance which will last til January and if the new job ends around that time, I'll have very little time to try to find a new job with new health insurance. The hiring manager indicated there was a chance it could go perm, but didn't want to commit to that until he saw how things went with me for the first few months.

If I take the pharma agency job and switch to the new insurance plan and get approved by Assist RX for them to pick up the tab for my Copaxone, I would basically be resetting the clock as far as COBRA goes, giving my another 18 months of assured coverage, but that's assuming I'm approved by Assist RX for the Copaxone, which is my biggest concern.

And, much as I'd like to pursue the 2nd job I just learned about today, I don't know if I'm going to have time to even interview with them before I get the offer from the 1st job. It probably would not be wise to turn down job #1 without really knowing if I have a serious shot at job #2.

Any ideas??

8 Responses to “Help! Job and health insurance advice needed”

  1. Butterscotch Says:

    You can't not accept this job on the chance that you might get an interview for a better one. I would accept the job and keep my cobra.
    Meanwhile apply for the medication assistance because if you get it at least you will have that should you lose both the job and the cobra coverage in January.

    If you happen to get an interview with the 2nd company and actually receive an offer in the next two weeks that's great. But you can't count on it.

    Keep in mind that you are being offered a temp job. You can still interview for other perm jobs while you're temping/contracting. And if you get a job offer during the temp/contract you give them notice. Temping is a risk for both the employer and the contractor and they know that.

    Congrats!

  2. PatientSaver Says:

    Thanks, Butterscotch.

    I plan to start job #1 in 2 weeks time.

    I'm also researching plans on the healthcare exchange. They aren't ideal plans, since the lowest annual deductible I could find is $1,000, but i think these may be better plans than the agency offered. The monthly premium would be about $200 less monthly than I'm paying for the COBRA but i want to make sure my high-priced med will be covered mostly. It says max i would pay out of pocket for a 3 month supply would be $500 and I THINK the drug maker has a plan that will pick my cost up for me, but I have to call them back as well to make sure

  3. LuckyRobin Says:

    I don't have anything to offer other than my sympathy. Insurance is hard work to figure out and trying to cover necessary medications seems to be far harder than it should be. I wish they'd put a cap on how much can be charged for drugs. There is no reason your medicine should cost $600 other than pure greed. They can have a nice profit to cover their research and development without charging this much for things.

  4. My English Castle Says:

    Boy, that's a hard call. Butterscotch is right, the agency knows the temp nature of contract jobs, so I wouldn't hesitate to leave if the other one comes through. Can you do a bit more research on the coverage before you decide?

  5. PatientSaver Says:

    LuckyRobin, my med actually costs around $2,000 a month. Drug prices are a moving target...it was actually cheaper a decade ago but since the patent was running out soon, they raised prices to collect more profit, which really is a return on the millions spent on R&D.

    Butterscotch, I can't apply for the financial assistance until I enroll in the crappy agency's medical plan. I don't want to do that becus there's no guarantee I'd be approved. I imagine I would be, but I really don't know their criteria.

    More research definitely called for....

  6. CB in the City Says:

    What a dilemma. I think I would go for the bird in the hand, apply for the crappy insurance, hope that assistance is granted and that the position becomes permanent -- but follow up on the second opportunity, because I think full medical coverage would be golden for you.

  7. ceejay74 Says:

    One thing I would definitely do is accept the current offer and do an interview with the second place. It's a bit of a dirty trick, but you can then take the other job if you interview and get it and want it. I did that once and while I felt a bit guilty, it made total sense: I was waiting to hear from the second one but didn't want to risk not getting that and having already turned down my second choice.

    There are all manner of things employers can do to you, so in the grand scheme of things, it's not that bad a thing to do, if you need to.

    As for the insurance question: How much more per month would it be to cover your medication on the crappy plan? Could you afford it? The possible extension of COBRA for 18 more months seems like a pretty tempting thing.

  8. PatientSaver Says:

    Oh, Ceejay, my head is spinning. Part of me realizes much can change in the next few months, and it's kind of outside my control so maybe i shouldn't drive myself nuts trying to figure out all the scenarios.

    The agency crappy medical plan is one i can't even consider if I want to stay on my MS med. It covers a maximum of $600 a year for all meds. I don't have current pricing of my med right now (i'm sure it varies from one insurer to the next) but I believe it's around $2500 a month. So you can see why the agency plan is not an option.

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