Life Changes May Mean Changes to Health Coverage

A job loss or other major life change can affect your health coverage. However, if you’ve had group health coverage from an employer with more than twenty employees or work for a state or local government, you can usually take advantage of the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) to purchase your health coverage after a life change.

Under COBRA, you can continue to purchase coverage through your former employer’s group health insurance for up to eighteen months after your job ends.

However, you’ll pay a higher rate, so before you choose COBRA, consider alternatives.

One option: enroll for coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) within sixty days post-employment, or after a major life change like a divorce. The ACA option may be less expensive than COBRA, but there will be differences in coverage; for example, be sure to check whether your health professionals and costly medications are covered under the ACA plan you’re considering.

Which option is best for you? Talk to your insurance agent before you make a decision. He or she may offer alternatives you hadn’t considered, including short-term options.

If you think you may be back to work shortly at a job with group health, a short-term policy may be just right for you. Effectively, it can be a stopgap solution as you await a longer-term option.

Life events create enough stress. Don’t add to it. What to do about your health insurance is a critical decision that needs your full attention. But it’s one best made with assistance from your insurance professional.