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Getting laid off can be a scary and daunting experience, with the economy faltering and resources the scarcest they’ve been in decades. There are lots of things to consider after losing your job, from finding a new job to applying to receive unemployment. Since losing your job can mean losing benefits, too, one of the most important things to figure out after being laid off is how to continue having proper health care coverage. Here are some tips to help you find the right health insurance plan once you’re done with one job and looking for a new one.
COBRA is a great option for health insurance after a layoff if you’re leaving a company that qualifies for it. Under COBRA (the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act), you can continue to receive health benefits on your current plan for up to 18 months after your layoff (as long as your company has at least 20 employees). You’ll have to pay for 100% of your coverage (rather than the subsidized amount you paid as an employee), but it will most likely be cheaper than any plan you would purchase on your own. Your insurer will send you information about your COBRA rights after you are laid off, and you should enroll within 60 days.
If you are married or in a domestic partnership with someone who receives group benefits, you can get coverage through his or her insurance plan; he or she will simply have to add you to the plan as a dependent. This will only slightly increase the cost of their insurance. Also, if you are under 26, you are still eligible to receive benefits through a parent’s insurance policy; they will have to add you to their policy for a small increase in cost. Joining a plan as a dependent is a great, cost effective way to receive coverage.
If you already have a new job lined up, or if you are confident that you will find a new one quickly, a short term health insurance plan might be a great choice for you. There are lots of short term health insurance options out there, and almost all are designed to cover you in case of an emergency or catastrophic event. Short term health insurance tends to be expensive but is a great option to bridge the gap for a short time between jobs. If you need help researching short term health insurance and which company offers the best coverage, check out our Insurance Finder above, which can help you narrow down which plans are best for you.
If none of the above options are right for you, you can always purchase your own individual insurance plan. Many insurance companies today are offering a wide variety of plans for individuals in a wide variety of prices. Purchasing your own policy is great if you’re healthy and don’t have a medical history – you can often find plans for cheaper than what you would pay for COBRA insurance. However, purchasing your own plan can be difficult and expensive if you have been diagnosed with pre-existing conditions.