Maintaining Health Insurance after Losing Your Job

After you receive the dreaded news that you are losing your job, your mind is in a tailspin as you try to figure out what you are going to do for health insurance coverage. Fortunately, unemployed individuals have a few options, some of which offer a reduced premium to fit their reduced income. With a little research, you can find a health insurance that fits your and your family's needs.

COBRA Health Coverage

The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) permits individuals who have lost their jobs to be able to continue their employer-provided plan for a period of up to 18 months. Plan details may allow COBRA to be used for longer periods. Spouses, dependents, and other eligible persons on the plan also qualify for the extended coverage.

If you elect to utilize COBRA coverage, it is important to understand that you will pay your portion of the premium in addition to the portion paid by your former employer.

Health Insurance Exchange

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care ACT (ACA) requires that each state set up a health insurance exchange that complies with federal regulations. Some buyers qualify for a subsidy to help them pay their plan's premium.

On the exchange, consumers can choose between a variety of plans to find coverage that best fits their situation. Lower tier plans are "catastrophic plans" that offer minimal coverage, while high tier gold or platinum plans cover a significantly greater percentage of medical expenses.

Factors that affect someone's premium are location, age, smoking status, and family size.

Religious Medical Expense Programs

Faith-based medical care plans let members share their medical expenses with other members. When you sign up, your share portion depends on your family size and income. Instead of paying a monthly premium, you contribute a designated amount that goes towards the health expenses of other participants.

 You must pay your annual household portion before your expenses are eligible for sharing. The annual household portion works like a deductible. Members are able to select from various annual household portions so that their plan fits their budget.

Medicaid

Medicaid is a government-sponsored health care plan designed for those with low incomes, minimal resources, or certain conditions. The exact eligibility requirements vary in each state. Covered individuals have access to preventive care and pay significantly lower co-pays than they would with traditional plans.

Individuals can qualify for Medicaid under different eligibility categories, some of which have less stringent requirements. For example, pregnancy Medicaid usually has broader income and resource limits than poverty-based Medicaid.

Learning that you are losing your job is a stressful time in any person's life. You can alleviate some of this stress by finding a satisfactory replacement for your employer-provided health insurance. A little time and patience helps you find a plan that keeps you and your family covered while you search for a new job. For more information, talk to a professional like Reed & Baur Insurance Agency.


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