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Originally Posted On: https://optimizedhealthplans.com/2023/02/08/laid-off-health-insurance-options/
Losing a job can be an incredibly stressful and difficult time. But the stresses and worries of finding new employment are only compounded if you’re also left without health insurance coverage. But here’s a dose of good news (you could probably use some, right?) There are lots of options for those who have been laid off or had to take time away from work. For ANY reason. Let’s look at your different options so that you can make an informed decision about which plan best fits your needs.
Special Enrollment Period
If you’ve lost insurance coverage through an employer, this counts as a qualifying event, which makes you eligible for a special enrollment period through the insurance marketplace that lasts for 60 days from the date your old policy ends.
Qualifying life events that can lead to you being eligible for the special enrollment period include marriage, divorce, birth/adoption of a child, and changes in employment status, such as losing a job or changing jobs altogether. If any of these scenarios apply, then make sure you contact your insurer directly in order to find out if this affects your eligibility status and what new options might be available to you, given your current circumstances.
Health Insurance After You’ve Been Laid Off
So, what are your options?
- COBRA: According to the U.S. Department of Labor, “The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) gives workers and their families who lose their health benefits the right to choose to continue group health benefits provided by their group health plan for limited periods of time under certain circumstances such as voluntary or involuntary job loss, reduction in the hours worked, transition between jobs, death, divorce, and other life events.” This type of plan allows you to keep your existing health insurance coverage for up to 18 months after leaving or reducing your employment. It can be a great way to maintain coverage without having to worry about finding a new policy right away; however, it is important to note that the premiums are usually higher than what they were before you left your job, as you must now cover 100% of the cost yourself.
- Retaining Coverage: Your employer’s or union’s insurance may have an option for you to retain coverage depending on the benefits package they offer. If this is available, then it could provide a seamless transition from one job to another while still maintaining health insurance coverage throughout the process. Just be sure to read all documentation provided by your employer so that there are no surprises when it comes time for renewal.
- The Health Insurance Marketplace: There are plans offered through the Marketplace that meet requirements set out in the Affordable Care Act (ACA). These plans generally provide comprehensive medical coverage with certain subsidies available based on income level and other factors such as family size etc. But make sure that you do adequate research before committing financially. Additionally, most states will have special programs designed specifically for those who have lost their jobs due to economic hardship. These should be looked into if applicable in order to take advantage of any discounts offered under such circumstances.
- Short-term Health Insurance: this might also be an option worth considering while you’re waiting to find permanent employment-related benefits. Generally speaking, these policies can provide basic protection against unexpected medical costs, but bear in mind that many don’t include coverage for pre-existing conditions and rarely last longer than 12 months. So do the proper research beforehand to make sure a short-term insurance plan will truly meet your needs.
- Government-Assisted Programs: If you’re having a hard time finding any viable insurance solutions that fit your unique situation or budget constraints, it might be worth looking into government options such as Medicaid and CHIP. HealthCare.gov explains that “Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) provide free or low-cost health coverage to millions of Americans, including some low-income people, families and children, pregnant women, the elderly, and people with disabilities.”
Comparing Insurance Plans
As you’re looking at various insurance options, it’s important to compare different types of plans to understand if and how you qualify. One of the most important criteria for qualifying for a health insurance plan is income. Additionally, you may be subject to other eligibility criteria such as age, residency status, and pre-existing conditions. It is important to note that different plans may have different requirements.
It’s always a good practice when looking around at potential health insurance plans that you take some time researching them properly first before committing yourself financially and legally. There are many resources online where you can compare different types of policies side-by-side in terms of their coverage, along with information about cost-sharing amounts and much more. But the truth is, these online tools can be complicated, and if you don’t know what to input or what to look for, the best options might be missed entirely. At OHP, we’ve done all of the extensive, hard, deep-dive work, so you don’t have to. It’s our goal to save you time and hassle.
Working with OHP means we can help you understand what each plan requires in terms of premiums, co-insurance, co-payments, and more. We’ll learn about and take into consideration your specific individual or family needs and discover options to best meet your unique medical, dental, and mental health care. We’ll walk you through all of the costs to make sure you get the maximum value out of your health insurance policy without ending up with unexpected bills due later on down the line.
We understand how finding the right health insurance during changing life situations can offer peace of mind knowing that you are covered in case of an emergency or illness. And that’s why insurance is our expertise. Helping give you peace of mind is what gets us out of bed in the morning. And the best news of all? It doesn’t cost you a thing.
(And in case you still don’t believe us, here’s a great article that explains, How Insurance Agents Get Paid.)
So, give your stress a day off and give us a call.
At Optimized Health Plans, we’ve got you covered.