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[at-l] Insurance on the trail

At 05:32 PM 12/20/96 -0500, Kahley wrote:

>Also..to hike the trail, most people have to quit their job which is
>usually the source of their hospitalization insurance.  Being self
>employed, I know the problems/cost of self-insuring and wondered how 
>this is handled during a thru. 

When you leave a job that has insurance benefits you may be eligible for 
COBRA coverage.  COBRA is an acronym for an employee benefits law that
among other things provides for continuation of coverage for 18 months
after termination AT THE EXPENSE OF THE TERMINATED EMPLOYEE.  Although it
is not the "free" coverage of an employee it is often cheaper than placing it
yourself since it is at the group rates of your former employer.  If you are
currently receiving benefits and plan to leave your job for a thru, speak 
to the person or department who administers employee benefits about your
rights under COBRA.  This also applies to other benefits such as dental and 
group life.

Although COBRA did not contemplate thru-hikers but was to keep people covered
between jobs, there is a big enough window to do the hike and (hopefully) find
a new job.

If you live in NJ, the current law provides for issuance of individual medical
coverage without consideration of pre-existing conditions if you are coming
off of a group.  The state mandates 5 (Plans A-E) one size fits all policies
to be offered by every insurer in the state.

While on the subject of insurance, be sure that your homeowners covers your
stuff and liability while you are on the trail.  If you are giving up a lease
and are in effect "homeless" during your thru, you may not have coverage
unless you establish residency with mom & dad before you leave.

Happy trails,

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