How Can You Get Health Insurance after Losing Your Job?
When Your Job Disappears, So Does Your Health Insurance:
Being handed the proverbial pink slip is bad enough, but realizing that one of the things you are losing your health insurance as well as your paycheck can be even worse. Most full-time jobs offer health insurance as a benefit of employment, and while you might have chipped in on a portion of the premium, the majority of the cost was most likely covered by your employer. Everyone understands how critical it is to protect yourself and your family with health insurance, but what are your options after the job is gone?
• Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA). This law, passed in 1985, gives most employees the option to buy into their companies group insurance plan, usually for up to 18 months after the job ends. While having this option available is very helpful, you might find yourself have a bit of sticker shock when you see how much you have to pay. It can be expensive – particularly when you no longer have a job.
• Check Your Spouse’s Health Insurance Coverage. If you are married (or, in some states, in a domestic partnership), your might be able to receive health insurance through your spouse’s employer. Even if your spouse’s employer doesn’t offer full coverage to family members as a benefit of their job, you can usually buy into the plan they offer.
• Early Retirement Coverage. If your employment termination was part of an early retirement package, you might still lose your health insurance. Since you won’t be eligible for Medicare (the public health insurance plan available to retirees) until after age 65, you will need to find coverage to cover this gap.
• Organization Insurance. Do you belong to any clubs, fraternal organizations, or religious groups? A few of these organizations offer access to health insurance plans. Check your membership regulations to see what is available to you.
• Check out Individual Health Insurance Coverage. When the above options fail, it’s time to find out what kind of health insurance plan you can buy directly. You might find that your premium is lower with individual health insurance plans than with COBRA, but issues such as pre-existing conditions arise with individual health insurance policies, so it is important to do a thorough search to find the best plan for you.
Whatever choice you make, you know it’s important to keep your family covered with health insurance after the job is gone. Health insurance keeps you and your family healthy and safe, and even though it might be expensive, it is worth every penny.