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Unemployed or Laid Off? Health Insurance Options to Consider

Regrettably, in the current economic environment more and more people are experiencing job loss.  There are many questions about the different options that are available.

The employer’s group plan administrator is responsible for sending you an election notice for COBRA or State Continuation Coverage within 14 days of their being advised of the qualifying event.  If you haven’t received one in this time frame don’t be shy about calling the HR personnel for your former employer and remind them of this requirement.

At a minimum, each qualified beneficiary has 60 days from the election notice date to decide if they want to elect the COBRA or State Continuation Coverage benefits.  Most often you can keep COBRA or State Continuation Coverage for up to 18 months, but COBRA is often very expensive, so it pays to look at your options.

Timing is critical!  Your loss of employer sponsored group coverage (even if you quit) is typically a qualifying event that triggers a Special Enrollment Period for enrolling in individual/family plan coverage.  You can apply up to 60 days before or after the last day you were covered by the company plan (the day before COBRA would begin, if elected).  They count the day of the qualifying event as one of the 60 days.  Let us help you evaluate your plan options available both on and off the Connect for Health Colorado exchange.

There are two basic alternative types of health insurance that most people turn to in this situation:

1. Individual/Family Health Insurance – These plan premiums are often significantly less expensive than COBRA premiums, which is important when you are watching your budget.   Other advantages are that it is a permanent plan you can keep indefinitely so long as you live in the plan’s service area.  A  normal individual health insurance plan to cover you and your family is a great option if you decide to become self employed or if you accept a job with a smaller company that doesn’t offer health insurance benefits.    Get a free personalized quote on an individual health insurance plan

If you have a family member who has already met their deductible for the year please be aware that you should be able to get COBRA benefits for a single family member, who is not necessarily the employee.  You will need to make a special request for the COBRA rates to cover an individual family member.

2. Temporary or Short Term Health Insurance –  Temporary health insurance plans can be purchased for time periods that range from 30 days to a maximum of 6 months.  You are only allowed a maximum of 2 temporary health insurance plans in a 12 month period.   Temporary health insurance plans have a fairly easy application process and are a good solution if you know that you are going to be covered by an employer group health insurance plan within a definite time frame of less than 6 months.  Downsides are that they expressly do not cover pre-existing conditions and are most often just catastrophic plans.

Also, because temporary insurance plans can only be kept for a maximum of 6 months, if something happens to a family member during that 6 month period it may be hard to get new individual coverage and possibly difficult to even get another temporary insurance plan. So, temporary plans are sometimes a good short term solution, but in many cases they are no substitute for a permanent health insurance plan.Get a free, no-obligation instant quote on a temporary medical insurance plan

Best Price Guarantee – Health insurance premiums are filed with and regulated by the Colorado Division of Insurance.  If you get your individual or family health insurance plan through Colorado Health Insurance Brokers, through another agent/broker or directly from the health insurance company, you’ll pay the same monthly premium for the same plan.  Enjoy the convenience and personal service of getting a health insurance plan through Colorado Health Insurance Brokers and rest assured that you’re getting the best available price.