When you become out of work, it’s not just the paycheck you worry about. Your health insurance will also be one of your biggest concerns. To have a health insurance is essential. No one wants to be sick nor planned to be. But maintaining health insurance protects you from the unexpected.
Health insurance is expensive and hard to keep when you are unemployed. What many are not aware of is that there are options to have access to health insurance even when you are out of a job. Knowing those possibilities can allow you to acquire health insurance that works with your present situation.
COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985)
Even when you got laid off, you can still ask your employer regarding your eligibility to continue to stay on the company’s health plan. Your employer should review this for you are still entitled to be covered by your company’s health insurance even after leaving employment under federal law COBRA. It is stated in COBRA that a company with over 20 employees must offer health insurance coverage to employees who got terminated for a period of at least 18 months. This applies to employees who leave their jobs either voluntarily or involuntarily.
Under COBRA, you can stay on your current plan, which only means that you can continue seeing your present doctor. But there’s a drawback in this situation. You have to pay for the coverage plus the extra administrative fee. But in some cases, some employers still handles the coverage for a limited period as part of the severance package.
You got a 60-day window to enroll in COBRA the moment you leave your job, so don’t waste any time and inquire about this quickly.
Under the Affordable Care Act or what is more popularly known as Obamacare, an unemployed individual can still find health insurance through the Health Insurance Marketplace which the federal government operates. Its goal is to help people shop and enroll for health insurance which they can afford.
The moment you leave your job, you are given a 60-day enrollment window to look for and enroll in a healthcare plan by visiting the Marketplace (available at HealthCare.gov). Check with your state insurance department when deciding on the insurance plan. Some states have their rules and run their own marketplaces.
Medicaid Assistance (TANF)
Medicaid renders free or low-cost health plan to people based on their situations. Some people automatically qualify for Medicaid, especially those receiving TANF which stands for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, usually referred to as welfare. Other people who may be eligible are those with low income, pregnant women, people with disabilities, elderly, and more. You can check with Medicaid if you qualify.
Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)
CHIP can be given for free or at low cost if your child needs health care coverage. You can check if your child will be accepted based on the guidelines provided. Some states also cover pregnant women under CHIP.
There are just many options you can explore to have health care coverage even if you end up being unemployed. Another option if the above doesn’t work for you is trying to get in your parent’s insurance plan if you are still under 26 years of age.
Becoming unemployed should not deprive you or your family of your right to receiving medical care you need. Talk to your employer about your benefits before you leave your job. You just got to see if you qualify on some programs of the government and learn how to apply. Such details can guide you on what insurance you are going to need. Start shopping for insurance early to avoid the rush and unwise decisions. Be sure to report your income and the size of your household accurately to ensure that you got the right coverage cost. You have to be aware of what your exemptions from the penalty are if you are uninsured.
Health insurance is a concern most especially to the unemployed. And time is essential when talking about getting one, so you’ll end up with the best protection that fits you.
Health coverage options if you’re unemployed. (n.d.) Retrieved from https://www.healthcare.gov/unemployed/coverage/.