I Just Lost My Job and Need Health Insurance

Stressed Man

You just lost your job and health insurance coverage. Finding yourself suddenly unemployed is a difficult and stressful situation. You have a number of things weighing on your mind, including finding a new job and how you’re going to pay your bills. And on top of that, you have to find a new health insurance plan. Where do you begin your search for new coverage? Online comparison sites might be a good place to start. Many reputable comparison sites can help you compare options to find cheap health insurance coverage. And the following are some other things that could help in your search for a solid and affordable health insurance plan.

Extensive research

You must do your homework. Research and compare as many insurance options as you can. Shop around. The time and effort that you put in will definitely pay off. Also, look up some health insurance experts and use them as guides. It also might be a good idea to familiarize yourself with some of the insurance lingo. This will give you a better understanding of what’s specifically being offered in different insurance plans. Additionally, you should make sure that the insurance package you choose covers all of the things that are most important to your needs and is flexible. 

Health insurance marketplace

Many affordable insurance options are out there for people who recently lost their jobs and job-based coverage. For instance, no matter how you lost your job, you can still purchase an insurance plan through the Health Insurance Marketplace. This federal government-operated service is designed to assist people in shopping for and enrolling in affordable insurance plans. Losing job-based coverage — whether you quit your job or were fired — qualifies you for a Special Enrollment period. This allows you to purchase insurance outside of the annual Open Enrollment Period. And coverage can begin on the first day of the month after you lost your previous insurance. The eligibility requirements are simple: You must live in the United States, be a US citizen or national (or be lawfully present), and not be incarcerated. 

Additionally, when you fill out the marketplace application, you’ll find out whether you qualify for free or low-cost insurance such as Medicaid or Children’s Health Insurance Program. 

COBRA continuation coverage

You may be able to hold on to your job-based health plan temporarily through COBRA continuation coverage. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act provides workers — and their families — who have lost their health benefits the option to continue group health benefits provided by their group health plan for a limited time after employment ends. The coverage usually lasts 18 months. To qualify for the extended coverage, your group health plan must be covered by COBRA. The continued coverage can be applied under certain circumstances, such as voluntary or involuntary job loss, reduction in work hours, transition between jobs, death, divorce and other life events. COBRA typically covers group plans that are sponsored by an employer (private-sector or state/local) that employed at least 20 workers on more than 50 percent of its average business days in the previous calendar year. Both full-time and part-time employees are tallied in determining whether the plan meets COBRA standards.   

Legal remedies to health insurance issues

If you have any health insurance-related legal grievances, many attorneys out there handle such matters. For instance, attorney and philanthropist Howard Fensterman specializes in health care and financial malpractice law. He’s also a gemstone authority and maintains a website that explores gems and minerals. 

Other sources for research and comparison

Comparison services such as iSelect are also good sources to use in comparing options for health plans.

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