Losing your job can be incredibly stressful. If you’ve lost your job recently, you may be focused on finding a new one or what you will do with your newfound free time. One important thing to think about is your options for health insurance if you lose your job.
There are typically two main kinds of health insurance you can take advantage of if you lose your job. You can buy health insurance through the Health Insurance Marketplace, or you can extend your employer’s insurance using COBRA coverage.
The Health Insurance Marketplace
The Health Insurance Marketplace is the federal health insurance marketplace set up by the Affordable Care Act. This marketplace allows you to see affordable federal and state options for health insurance.
Although there is an open enrollment period for the health insurance marketplace, losing your job counts under the special enrollment period. This means you can apply for health insurance whenever you need to during the year. This also qualifies if you leave your job or otherwise forfeit the insurance your employer had for you.
Your new health insurance coverage may not start immediately, but it will start the first day of the month after you lose your employer’s health insurance. Filling out an application on the health insurance website can also let you see how you could save money on health insurance based on your yearly income.
COBRA insurance coverage
After you lose your job, you may be able to keep your health insurance through COBRA continuation coverage. COBRA allows you to stay on your employer’s health insurance for about 18 months after you quit or are fired. You do still have to pay your insurance premium and a small fee for continuing coverage.
During your COBRA coverage, you can choose to switch to a health insurance marketplace plan if you find a better insurance deal. One of the benefits of COBRA coverage is that you have time to find an insurance plan with plenty of time to get the rest of your life in order, or to find a new job that provides you with health insurance.
The importance of health insurance
Having health insurance is incredibly important. The health insurance options available offer a base level of coverage, so you will be able to find a health insurance plan that meets your needs. The Affordable Care Act has made it possible for millions of people to be able to afford health insurance, which means there is likely a plan out there for you.
Lapses in coverage can incur penalties. If you lose your job, don’t elect for COBRA coverage, and don’t take advantage of your special enrollment period in the health insurance marketplace, you may have to pay a fee at the end of the year for the time period you weren’t insured.
In the end, having health insurance can decrease worries you may have about getting sick or injured unexpectedly. Even if you do lose your job, there are health insurance options you can take advantage of that will protect you throughout the year.