How to Keep Health Insurance After Quitting A Job

How To Keep Health Insurance After Quitting A Job: Quitting your job does not mean you also have to quit your health insurance coverage. Federal and state regulations require many employers to offer continuance insurance policies, regardless of how you separated from your job. If continued insurance from your employer is not an option, you may purchase private insurance health or qualify for government-sponsored health insurance.

Frequently Asked Question:

Question: I’m thinking about leaving my job and starting my own business, but I’ll lose my health insurance from work. Can I sign up for coverage through HealthCare.gov now, or do I have to wait until open enrollment?

Answer: You usually need to wait until open enrollment to buy individual health insurance, but you can get coverage anytime during the year if you’re eligible for a “special enrollment period.” To qualify, you must have experienced one of several life changes, which include leaving your job and losing your employer health coverage; moving to a new zip code; getting married; having a baby or adopting a child; or losing health insurance because you got divorced or legally separated. If you qualify for a special enrollment period, you usually have up to 60 days following the event to enroll in a new health insurance plan. See Healthcare.gov for more information about special enrollment periods.

How To Keep Health Insurance After Quitting A Job

If health insurance expire after leaving job doesn’t mean the end of the world – but during the COVID-19 outbreak, health care is surely one of the top priorities when you are not covered by your employer’s plan anymore. 

According to Healthcare Bluebook, a cost transparency website, a “fair price” for a 30-minute doctor visit is over $200. A broken leg can cost $7,500, while a three-day hospital stay might run $30,000. Without adequate coverage, those costs come out of your pocket.

Whether you’re a displaced employee or a business owner looking out for your furloughed employees, you have options for continuing health coverage. Keep reading to learn the best solution for your needs.

1: COBRA: You can also have heard of COBRA, the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, a federal regulation meant to supply households an insurance security net after a job loss. It’s accessible if you’re already enrolled in an employer-sponsored medical, dental or imaginative and prescient plan, and your organization has 20 or extra employees. You commonly have 60 days from dropping your insurance to join in COBRA, even though some plans, which includes Aetna, are extending this throughout the COVID-19 crisis.

COBRA is a good option if you have savings or still have income to draw from. The average recipient pays $610 per month for individual coverage, or $1,750 for family coverage.3 (Your cost could be higher or lower.) To reduce your cost, your employer may subsidize your premiums for a while. Or, if you have an HSA, HRA or IRA (that is, a health savings account, health reimbursement arrangement or individual retirement account), you may be able to pay your COBRA premiums from those funds. 

If your employer has gone out of business, you won’t be offered COBRA coverage. But other, more affordable options may be available.

2: Medicaid: Medicaid is a kind of public health insurance provided by state governments. It used to be designed to provide households and men and women free or cheap medical coverage when they need it. Eligibility is primarily based on current monthly earnings (post-layoff), and stimulus payments don’t count. If you don’t qualify due to income, you may additionally nonetheless be capable to secure coverage for your children and any pregnant female in your household.

Medicaid provides a wide range of benefits, which vary by state but often include:

  1. Help managing chronic conditions like asthma and diabetes.
  2. Common prescription medications for free or very low cost.
  3. Mental health services like therapy and substance abuse care.
  4. Free transportation to and from your doctor visits.

If you’re an Aetna Medicaid member, you may also enjoy these extras:

  1. Talk with doctors by phone or video chat, without the hassle of traveling and waiting rooms, through telemedicine.
  2. Earn points to use on baby supplies like diapers, wipes and baby food.
  3. Get covered for routine vision and dental care.
  4. Connect with community resources that can help with food or housing needs.

Medicaid enrollment is open year-round, and you can sign up at any time. Check your eligibility through your state Medicaid office.

3: Health Insurance Marketplace: The Health Insurance Marketplace at Healthcare.gov offers subsidized coverage for low-income individuals. Most people who don’t qualify for Medicaid will qualify for coverage there. Millions of people pay no monthly premiums at all; those who do paid an average of $87 a month in 2019.4  Remember, the deadline for getting new coverage is usually 60 days after your old coverage ends.

4: Medicare: If you’re 65 or older, you can get government-sponsored health coverage through Medicare. Medicare is divided into parts that provide different coverage options. “Original Medicare” covers hospitalization (Part A) and doctor fees (Part B). Prescription drug coverage is provided separately through Part D.

You’ll need to pay a monthly premium for Parts B and D, based on your income. Most people pay about $144 per month for Part B5 and $30 per month for Part D.6 You can apply anytime from 3 months before you turn 65 until 3 months after.

If you haven’t already, now’s the time to become familiar with Medicare deadlines and late penalties. If you wait 8 months or more to apply for Medicare after losing your employer-based coverage, you might have to pay a late enrollment penalty for coverage later on.

You can apply for Original Medicare (Parts A and B) online, by phone at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY: 1-800-325-0778), or in person at a U.S. Social Security Administration office. If you decide to go in person, make an appointment first. Find out more on the Social Security site.

Another option is to purchase an all-in-one Medicare Advantage plan(Part C) through a private insurer. This will include medical and hospital coverage. It may also cover prescription drugs, dental, vision, fitness memberships and other extras.

Medicare can be complicated. That’s why Aetna offers a free program called Medicare Transition Services. Trained and licensed agents can educate you about all your health care options, help you avoid penalties, and determine if Medicare is the right choice for your needs. Just call 1-888-675-0447 (TTY: 711).

5: Join a family member’s plan: In the insurance world, losing your employer-sponsored health plan is considered a “qualifying life event.” That means a family member can add you to their health plan outside the usual enrollment season. 

If you’re under age 26, joining your parents’ plan may be your best option. Individuals who are over 26 and married or in a domestic partnership should ask about joining their partner’s plan. In either case, contact the plan holder’s HR department to find out more.

6: Short-term plans: You may have heard of short-term limited duration (STLD) insurance. These policies, which are not renewable, are designed for people experiencing a temporary gap in health coverage, such as displaced workers. Short-term plans, which are more affordable than comprehensive coverage, seem like a good idea. However, the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonprofit focused on health care issues, warns consumers that such plans don’t provide enough coverage.7

For example, short-term health plans exclude coverage for pre-existing conditions. And unlike comprehensive plans found in the Health Insurance Marketplace, short-term plans do not have to cover preventive care, prescription drugs, mental health care and maternity benefits.

If you find a short-term or other health plan that seems too good to be true, read the fine print. Also be aware of imposter websites selling cheap but inadequate coverage. When shopping for a health plan, you can generally trust websites ending with “.gov.”

READ NEXT:

  1. How to compare different health insurance plans to see which one is right for you
  2. Buying Health Insurance Online vs Agent | Which mode is best suited for you?

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