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How to File for Health Insurance If You’ve Lost Your Job

The coronavirus pandemic is a black swan that nobody predicted would float into the business world. It is here and is causing some dramatic changes for people in their working lives. Employees are being laid off and some are going to be losing their health insurance coverage. It is possible to file for health insurance even if you lost your job.

What Do You Need?

You would not go to an auto dealership and buy any car on the lot without checking it first. It sounds crazy, but some people will purchase health insurance without stopping to look at the coverage in detail. You must know what it is you need before you start looking around.

If your employer’s group health plan covers you, your physician is probably part of the insurance network. You must make sure your physician is a member of an insurance plan network before you purchase a policy. Seeking healthcare outside of the insurance network is expensive.

Do you have unique healthcare needs? This can include prescription drug coverage and medical treatments you must have for allergies or conditions such as diabetes or cardiovascular problems. Any health insurance policy you are considering should have those special needs covered. If they don’t, you risk paying all the bills yourself.

Deductibles and copayments are essential but remember that if you enroll in a High Deductible Health Plan, you will be paying a lower premium despite the higher deductible. You may think of that as a small reward for staying healthy.

After you identified your needs, you may start looking at the various options you have for obtaining health insurance when you’re unemployed.

COBRA

The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) will allow you and your dependents to continue to use your employer’s group health insurance plan for at least 18 months and, under special circumstances, as much as 36 months. You will be paying the entire premium plus administrative cost, so expect to pay more for your coverage than you did as an employee. Nevertheless, it is insurance you are familiar with.

Because you have used this insurance before, you may want to use the COBRA coverage as a standard by which you measure any other insurance options. Always remember that it is on the coverage, and not the premium, you need to focus your attention.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA)

You qualify for the special enrollment in The Insurance Marketplace if you’ve lost your health coverage. The ACA mandates that certain medical conditions must be covered under an approved insurance policy and you may find that your health situation is one protected by ACA. States also have their own Insurance Marketplaces and you can look at what your state will offer you.

Short-Term Health Plans

These are precisely what the title implies. You can consider a short-term health plan as a safety net for times when you’re without comprehensive health coverage. Thanks to regulations issued in 2018, short-term plans can have a duration of up to 364 days and can be renewed if the total length is under 36 months. We do need to remind you, however, that some states will not allow the sale of short-term health plans.

High Deductible Health Plan(HDHP) and Health Savings Account (HSA)

The high cost of health insurance can be mitigated if you enroll in an HDHP. These have high deductibles, but the premiums are very affordable. You can pay your premiums and deductibles through a tax-free HSA.

Your spouse or domestic partner may have group health insurance through an employer. You might be able to get coverage as a dependent there if the plan guidelines permit it.

We want to point out that the above options are4 possibilities you can explore if you’ve lost your job. We strongly recommend that you do not panic and that you assume the role of a sensible shopper when looking for health insurance. Do not fixate on the premium; you need the coverage more. It might be a little challenging to go through all the insurance policies if you don’t understand health coverage and the nuances of this type of insurance.

We Can Help

We know about health insurance and what to look for in a policy. We give you some guidance on coverages and help you research the products out there. Insurance Marketplaces have requirements for insurance companies, and we can identify marketplace registered insurers.

Your unique situation is what is most important in looking for the right insurance. You may be faced with long-term unemployment, but you might also be going back to work in just a few months. We can discuss how you ought to handle the situation. We are insurance professionals who have experience in these matters, and we will gladly share our knowledge with you.

If you’re interested in what we can do, please feel free to contact us at your convenience. We are here to answer your questions and we would welcome the opportunity to be of service to you. 

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Gregory from Canton, Michigan
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