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This Web site contains a compilation of more than a thousand consumer finance  columns written by Tony Novak from the 1980s through 2006, updated and reformatted for maximum usefulness today.  New material was added after 2010.

Content is the opinion of the author and does not represent the position of any other person or entity. Information is from sources believed to be reliable but cannot be guaranteed.

The author is paid for product endorsements and has an ownership or other financial interest in the businesses related to the topics covered.

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originally posted: 11/22/2006  reposted: 2/18/2011 This post has not been recently reviewed or revised by the author and may be out of date. If you notice an error or are in doubt, please send a new question by email or ask for an update. Email

Q: How fast does Basic Health Insurance start?

A: Basic Health Insurance is group insurance and is not designed as an "immediate issue" coverage. Group insurance starts on the first of the month following eligibility and receipt of completed application with premium. Since there are no medical eligibility requirements, the important thing is to make sure that your payment is received if you did not make a credit card payment when you enrolled online. If you need insurance issued immediately before the 1st of the month, select any of the plans listed as "short term medical" at These can be effective within hours (at midnight) after you enroll online


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