What Are My Options If I Lose Job Based Health Insurance
What Are My Options If I Lose Job-Based Health Insurance?
Losing your job is a stressful experience. However, losing your health insurance can make this transition even more challenging. And after you’re unemployed, you may worry about paying for health insurance.
You probably remember some mention of healthcare options before leaving your place of employment, but you still have so many questions.
- How long can I continue my work health plan after leaving my job?
- Can I get new coverage after leaving my place of employment, even if I haven’t found a new job yet?
- What are the eligibility requirements for Medicaid and CHIP?
- Can short-term health insurance plans be renewed beyond 12 months?
- What is the cost of healthcare services at community health centers?
- Are there online options for healthcare I can access and afford?
Let’s start by looking at your first two options.
If you’re recently unemployed, check out COBRA and the Affordable Care Act Marketplace.
According to Healthcare.Gov, once you’re unemployed, you’ll need to look at the two most common options for those needing healthcare coverage.
Sign up for COBRA coverage.
COBRA stands for the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, which allows you to continue your employer-provided health insurance plan for as long as 18 months after you lose your job. However, COBRA coverage can be expensive, as you’ll need to pay for the total cost of the premium plus a small administrative fee. Contact your employer to learn more about your COBRA options. You can learn more about COBRA coverage from the Department of Labor here.
Enroll in a plan offered on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) Health Insurance Marketplace.
The Health Insurance Marketplace is a government-run website where you can shop for and purchase health insurance plans. You can get subsidized coverage through the Marketplace if you qualify for financial assistance. Should you start a new job or have other changes to your income or situation, update your Marketplace information immediately. Here’s how you can report household and income changes to the Marketplace. And, if you’ve already signed up for COBRA coverage, find out if you can switch from COBRA to a more affordable Marketplace health plan. What if you can’t find a suitable plan on the Health Insurance Marketplace or paying the total COBRA premium is too much for you and your family? You still have some options to consider.
Consider a short-term health insurance plan.
Short-term health insurance is a type of health insurance providing temporary coverage for a while, typically up to 12 months. Short-term insurance may be for you if you’re:
- Unable to apply for Affordable Care Act coverage because you missed the open enrollment period and don’t qualify for special enrollment
- Waiting for your ACA coverage to start
- Are in-between jobs or waiting for benefits to begin at your new job
- Traveling outside the U.S.
- Looking for coverage until you are eligible for Medicare (when you turn 65)
- Turning 26 and no longer eligible to qualify for coverage on your parent’s insurance
- Healthy and under 65
Short-term insurance may only cover some of your medical needs. The Affordable Care Act does not regulate the short-term insurance industry, so these plans may not offer the same coverage level as other types of health insurance. For example, short-term insurance may not cover the following:
- Pre-existing condition
- Maternity care
- Mental health and substance abuse treatment
- Prescription drugs
Carefully reading your short-term insurance policy can help you understand what is and is not covered. If you are considering short-term insurance, compare different plans and understand the risks and limitations of this type of coverage. You can also contact a health insurance agent for more information about short-term insurance.
What if I can’t get healthcare insurance and still have no job?
If you can’t pay for a healthcare plan, you may qualify for coverage through Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). This federally-funded program provides free or low-cost health coverage to some low-income people, families and children, pregnant women, people 65 or older, and people with disabilities. You can apply for Medicaid and CHIP at any time of year.
Eligibility rules differ between states. Regardless of state, you may qualify for Medicaid based on income, household size, disability, family status, and other factors. But if your state has expanded Medicaid coverage, you can qualify based on your income alone. Check on your eligibility here.
I don’t qualify for Medicaid or CHIP – Can I still get healthcare?
If your state hasn’t expanded Medicaid and your state agency said you’re not eligible under its current rules, you still have some options for coverage.
You can get low-cost health care at a nearby community health center.
The cost at community centers will depend on your income. You can find community health centers in both urban and rural areas. Locate a community health center near you here. They typically provide:
- Prenatal care
- Baby shots
- General primary care
- Referrals to specialized care, including mental health, substance abuse, and HIV/AIDS
Can I use telehealth platforms to access affordable healthcare services?
Traditionally, we receive healthcare in a doctor’s office, hospital, or outpatient clinic. However, technology is changing how and where you can access healthcare. Many patients can now interact directly with their providers online. Telemedicine helps remove the barriers to receiving care, thanks to newly available telecommunication platforms and tools.
The American Telemedicine Association defines telemedicine as exchanging medical information via electronic communications to improve patients’ health status. Healthcare providers across many specialties are now integrating telehealth into their practice.
As you explore your healthcare options, ask your healthcare provider these questions about telemedicine:
Are you offering telehealth?
Is a telehealth visit a good choice for my health condition?
How do I schedule a telehealth visit?
Look for these features in a telehealth platform:
Convenience in booking appointments and accessing other healthcare services
Affordability in upfront, set prices for healthcare services
Quality and quantity of healthcare practitioners (enough board-certified professionals on the platform available in a variety of specialties)
When exploring your healthcare options, consider your specific needs, eligibility requirements, and the level of coverage provided by each option. By taking the time to understand your options and make an informed decision, you can navigate the challenges of losing job-based health insurance and ensure you have the coverage you need.
LASO Health Can Help You Save on Healthcare
LASO Health is a great option if you are looking for a convenient, affordable, high-quality, accessible healthcare solution. LASO Health offers convenient access to a board-certified network of healthcare providers that can provide you with the care you need at an affordable, set price.
LASO Health offers negotiated pricing, medical bill review, telemedicine services, prescription savings, and health advocacy to help you reduce medical expenses. Our user-friendly bilingual platform makes accessing these features and managing your healthcare needs easy.
Give LASO Health a try – it’s free and can help you save on medical costs on your first visit.
Sign up today at lasohealth.com.