The unemployment rate nowadays rivals the bar set during the Great Depression that occurred years ago. If we are one of those less fortunate that that lost our job recently, what are the options to sort out our health insurance?
Losing a job is a very complex issue that can affect the plans we made before the whole predicament. In worst cases, it can even lead to bankruptcy if not taken care of properly. It not only affects our financial status but also our well-being, specifically our health insurance.
Because of the dreaded COVID-19 pandemic, many employers were forced to close down their business. In most cases, they even led to laying off a portion of their workforce to keep the business afloat. In situations like this, how can we make sure that we still have proper insurance coverage after we just lost our jobs? Let’s find out.
After losing a job, we typically also lost our job-based health insurance policies. However, we can sort it out and continue to get the coverage that we got under COBRA.
Cobra or Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Action is applicable for organizations with at least twenty employees. The federal law requires those organizations to offer COBRA to their workforce and can carry our policies for up to 60 days. This program also provides another 45 days for us to cover the first premium that dates back from the time our coverage loss.
There are things to consider if we are in this kind of situation. Premium payments might be on the high side, and we are talking close to or around the vicinity of $600 per month per person. Depending on the policy, the insurance premium may cost even more under COBRA.
During our employment period, our employers mostly shoulder the cost of our medical insurance. Most of the time, they are responsible for covering up to eighty percent of the whole insurance premium. With COBRA, our insurance policies may still be intact after our employees, but instead of eighty-twenty, we will be responsible for the entire premium. On top of that, we also have to take note of another two percent of the cost for the administration fee.
It may be not one of the best options out there but it can be beneficial, especially if we are in a pinch and undergoing treatments. Remember, if we find ourselves in this kind of situation, it might be best to keep the current meter running than restarting our deductibles. We can also ensure that our medical practitioners will be on the same network and will save us some out-of-pocket expenses.
Medicaid is more suited if we are in a situation where we expect low income and badly need health insurance. In fact, in some states, Medicaid is free and offers comprehensive health coverage, especially if our income fell lower than 138% of the poverty line. In figures, we are talking about $1,982 monthly for couples while $1,467 for individuals.
We also need to take note that other states don’t offer Medicaid for all low-income individuals unless they are considered disabled or more than 65 years of age.
We may apply anytime if we are deemed qualified for the service. It’s a good thing that almost all medical facilities and practitioners accept Medicaid. However, we still need to check since it varies per state. We can check if we are qualified for Medicaid with our state’s Medicaid agencies.
Family Member’s Coverage
If our other half or domestic partner has another employer-based health insurance, we may consider jumping in their plan. We can do this within 30 days from the date our coverage went offline. However, we might need to coordinate with our local human resource person for any specific rules and standards before signing up.
There are a bunch of options that we can take advantage of after losing our jobs and insurance. We have to weigh in the cons and the pros, and we should also base our paths towards our current situation – whether we badly need insurance coverage for now or if we have the current situation – whether we badly need insurance coverage for now or if we have the leeway financial leeway financially to do so.
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