Whether you’re starting a new business, retiring, or leaving your employer, one of the downsides is that your health insurance could be ending. Other changes, such as divorce or altered student status, can also cause coverage to end, and since many of these changes are inevitable, understanding your options is crucial.
If you’ve lost your job, the best option is to find another job offering healthcare, which is easier said than done these days. While you’re looking, opt for coverage under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 (COBRA). COBRA allows your current benefits to continue for 18 months.
With COBRA, you will have to pay 100 percent of the premium yourself. This may be expensive and difficult for you, but under healthcare reform, you may qualify for some assistance due to the circumstances, or you may be eligible for Medicaid under certain income requirements. If you’ve just recently divorced, you can also get COBRA coverage through your ex-spouse’s health insurance plan.
Purchasing health insurance
The best option overall is to buy private individual health insurance, which will likely be more expensive than employer-sponsored coverage. However, you’ll have the opportunity to compare a variety of plans and find a policy that provides the right coverage for your individual circumstances at an affordable rate.
You may not be able to find a policy offering the same benefits as your previous plan, but with fines for not having health care coverage soon in effect, it’s far better than not having coverage at all.