Recently Laid Off: What Are My Insurance Options?
You’re fired! Two words no one wants to hear. Losing your job is a reality that some of us may have to deal with one day, whether we like it or not. The main reaction of someone losing their job is questioning where their income is going to come from. How will I pay the bills? How will I buy food? With careful planning, should that day arise, you would have saved some money and created a safety net for yourself until you land another job. Even with savings set aside to cover the necessities, one thing that is sometimes put on the back burner is a loss of benefits offered by your employer. We have some options you may want to consider.
If you loved the coverage that your employer offered, there is good news. You may be able to keep your plan through COBRA continuation coverage. COBRA is a federal law that was implemented to let you pay to keep you and your family on your employer’s health insurance after your employment has been terminated. This applies to employees of companies that employ 20 or more employees. State continuation sometimes called mini Cobra in essence serves the same purpose which is to extend employer coverage after separation. Main difference is Cobra is a federal program while state continuation is mandated by the state. It is good to note that this is only for a limited time, usually a maximum of 18 months. Also, you typically pay a higher premium than the one you were paying while employed because your employer is no longer contributing towards your premium.
If you have lost your job for any reason, whether you were laid-off or you quit, you can buy a plan from the healthcare marketplace. Now I know what you’re thinking, the marketplace is only open during open enrollment. However, losing your job qualifies you for a Special Enrollment Period. This gives you the opportunity to purchase a plan that is acceptable under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), thus keeping you from paying an extra tax/penalty the following year for not having proper insurance. You may also qualify for tax credits and subsidies based on a number of factors.
Short-term Medical Plan
If you lose your job in the middle of the year, you still have some time before open enrollment begins. This will leave a gap in your medical coverage, which not only leaves you unprotected, but also liable to pay the healthcare tax. If you don’t want to purchase an ACA private healthcare plan, you can purchase a short-term medical plan which can give you coverage for up to one year. Though you should know, short-term medical plans do not meet the minimum benefit requirement and will not prevent you from paying a penalty.
If your spouse or domestic partner’s company offers health insurance as a benefit, there is a good chance that they offer the same coverage to you. You may have to pay more than they do in order to be on their plan, partly because employers are required by law to cover 50% of the insurance premiums for employees and 0% for spouses even though they may choose to pay more.
MHG has the insurance specialists to advise and assist you in choosing the best health insurance that suits you, your family, or your group. Our team of brokers have the experience to get you the coverage that fits you and your budget. Recently get a nice tax return? Read our previous blog, “What Should I Do With My Tax Return?”. If you are interested in reviewing your health insurance options, please contact us at 954 828 1819 or visit our website at mhginsurance.com.