Have you recently been laid off?
On top of the stress of being unemployed, having to think about losing health coverage during a pandemic can be a scary thing. While you may have lost your job, it does not mean you don’t have any options to get health insurance. There are a handful of ways to access health coverage. You often hear about many options like COBRA or going to the Marketplace, but what does that all mean?
All these terms and options can be overwhelming. Here is what you need to know about getting health insurance after getting laid off.
Do Your Research
Do your research and be sure to find a plan that will fit your needs because you have options.
A Marketplace plan, also known as an Affordable Care Act (ACA) plan, may be a great option if you’re recently unemployed and without coverage. In Colorado, you buy a plan through Connect Health Colorado and find a plan that is right for you, including a Friday Health plan.
Losing your job is considered to be a “qualifying life event,” which allows you to purchase individual or family health insurance within 60 days of when you got laid off. This 60 day period is also known as a Special Enrollment Period. While the open enrollment period to buy health insurance in Colorado typically runs November 1 – January 15, if you have a “qualifying life event,” you can purchase health during this Special Enrollment Period.
What are other “qualifying life events?” It could be getting married, divorced, turning 26, moving, or having a baby. You will need to provide documentation to purchase a plan during this Special Enrollment Period.
The biggest benefit to buying an ACA plan on the health insurance marketplace is the potential to qualify for financial assistance to help lower your monthly premium payments. If you recently had a reduction in salary, this subsidy can make your health insurance much more affordable. You must purchase your plan on Connect for Health Colorado to receive this financial assistance. Read on to learn more.
See if You Qualify for Financial Assistance
Did you know Coloradans can get financial assistance to lower their monthly insurance rates? You can check to see if you qualify at Connect for Health Colorado and purchase a Friday Health plan through at a lower rate if you are eligible for a subsidy.
Other health insurance options
Coverage through a Family Member or Spouse
Check to see what options your spouse or parents (if you are under 26) may have for adding family members to their health insurance plan. If that is not an option for you, do not panic! You can always purchase a plan through the Marketplace in a Special Enrollment Period.
COBRA allows you to continue the coverage you had through your old employer, typically up to 18 months. Costs to keep coverage through COBRA involve paying for entire premium and often an administration fee. According to the U.S. News and World Report, the average price to pay for COBRA for a year is $7,188. While these costs may be higher than other options you may choose, COBRA may be an option for those who have ongoing health complications and need more coverage. Remember, if you decide to get COBRA coverage, you must keep it until the end of the year.
Many who have just lost their jobs may choose to go uninsured until they find a new job. Being uninsured may seem like a short-term risk but getting into an accident or having an unexpected illness could result in a hefty bill and can even cause some people to go bankrupt. A one-day stay at a Colorado hospital costs at least roughly $2,100-3,000, and that’s before testing or surgery.
Make Sure You are Getting the Real Deal
During your research, you may find articles about short term health plans. These plans can help you get coverage for emergencies for a shorter period and can be cheaper. These plans may seem like a good deal, but they are not ACA compliant and do not give you the protection you would get through a plan through the ACA, like free preventative care, coverage for pre-existing health conditions, and more.
Health Care-Sharing Ministries (HCSMs) are organizations you need to watch out for as well. Health care costs at HCSMs are shared among members who have common ethical or religious beliefs. While they may offer affordable coverage, they are not real health insurance. They are not regulated by the Department of Insurance, and do not guarantee essential health benefits or coverage for pre-existing conditions and may have limitations on what they will cover. Which means they can deny you coverage or drop you off the plan if you get sick or hurt. They can deny covering you for anything related to a past medical condition. They often have fixed annual limits on how much they will pay, leaving you on the hook if you have a big hospital bill.
As always, if you have any questions about your plan, benefits, or service, call our friendly Colorado-based customer service team: 800-475-8466. We’re here to help!