As it is said, “you don’t know what you got till it’s gone” is very true in the case of job loss and benefits. For many, the convenience of knowing that medical coverage is there is good enough. But when you retire or unexpectedly lose your job, what was once a convenience can now be a burden. Some do not realize how much insurance policies cost until you have to get one on your own. Then it becomes easier to see that the small portion of premium that comes out of your paycheck is pretty small in hindsight. Unless your insurance coverage continues as a requirement of a severance package, you are likely to be left seeking good insurance coverage on your own.
So what should you do if you find yourself suddenly without a job or health insurance?
The COBRA Way
The Consolidation Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985, otherwise known as COBRA, requires that most employers provide continued coverage through their own group-sponsored plan for a term of up to 18 to 36 months. With COBRA, you will essentially keep the same type of coverage but will be responsible for paying the premium in full for the entire policy and any administrative costs that are incurred. Once your COBRA coverage has expired, you have a right to continuous coverage through an individual policy that does not pre-exempt you if there are preexisting medical conditions.
Inquire About Spouse Coverage
If your spouse has insurance coverage through their employer, you can check in with the benefits administrator and find out what type of coverage and rates are available for family members. If there is no outlet for reasonable insurance coverage with your spouse’s employer, you might find group health coverage plans if they belong to an association or organization that sponsors such programs.
Explore Different Policies
If the above-mentioned ways are not relevant to your situation, you can certainly take on the task of finding the best medical coverage for you, at a price you can afford. With the internet search capability we now have, it may be much easier to review and compare different plans and prices.
Check With Government Agencies
If you are in need of medical coverage but still have not found a new job, check with your local or state agencies about discounted medical care or programs requirements to enroll in government-sponsored health coverage.
Retirement Before Medicare?
If you are considering early retirement, it would be wise to cover all of your financial bases and that includes your medical insurance. If you retire before you reach 65, you are not eligible to receive Medicare benefits. Make sure you check with coverage, pricing, and insurance information before you retire.