Whether you've recently been laid off, or your employer has decided to cut back on the cost of benefits by no longer offering health insurance, or if you've recently been divorced from the spouse or partner who supplied health insurance to your family, or maybe you've moved too far and had to leave your job behind...

For whatever reason, if you no longer have health insurance, there are some steps and considerations to help you retain insurance coverage, or find new coverage, to be sure you and your family keep your insurance protection.

Immediate Steps to Take Once You Lose Health Insurance

  • Regardless of what your next steps might be, make sure you obtain a "letter of coverage" from the insurer you've had until now. This is not an unusual request, and it may even be provided to you before you ask for it. It simply states that the insurer has covered you for the period from ___ to ____. As you shift to another insurer, you may need to prove that you have had constant and consistent coverage to that point, and this letter is what provides that proof.
  • Look into the potential for health insurance coverage through your spouse or partner's employer. (Some, but not all states allow domestic partners to be covered). If you learn that it's a possibility, then collect information about coverage, including what it covers, and the associated costs. You'll want to compare these possibilities with your other options. Be sure to assess any alternatives against the suggestions below for choosing the right health insurance plan.
  • Determine whether you are eligible for COBRA. COBRA is the federal law that requires employers to continue coverage to employees and their families for up to 18 months after they have left that job. There are a few requirements that must be met, (for example, your employer doesn't need to offer COBRA if there are fewer than 20 employees) but in general, this will be your least expensive way of maintaining the insurance you've had. Don't be shocked, though. It will strike you as very expensive because, up until now, your employer has been paying a portion of your premium. Learn more about COBRA coverage.

Determine your Additional Options After Losing Health Insurance

  • Figure out what other options you have for acquiring health insurance. Take a look at individual, private health insurance options and make comparisons with not only policy costs but out of pocket costs, too.
  • Depending on your family's annual income, you may be eligible for Medicaid, subsidies to pay for your insurance, or you may find you can get a break on your income taxes. The possibilities are governed by both the federal government and your state's laws. You can find out what your eligibility might be through Healthcare.gov, or, a group called Coverage for All provides background information, state-by-state, about the many programs that are available no matter what your income.
  • Are you a veteran? If you served in the military and were honorably discharged, under certain circumstances you may be eligible for coverage through the Veteran's Administration (VA). The VA website provides a great tool for determining your eligibility.
  • If one or more family members aren't healthy, consider insuring them with separate plans, if they are eligible, and if that will save you money. For example, if you have a child with a medical problem, your child may be eligible for the CHIP (a state program for Children's Health Insurance Protection) 
  • If one of your family members has a preexisting condition, you no longer have to worry about qualifying for health insurance. You cannot be excluded from a health care plan. This is one of the provisions of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).
  • Do you have a hobby that you can turn into a side business? If you form a business, and "hire" your spouse or an adult child, you can be considered an employer "group." Each state has small business organizations and chambers of commerce that businesses can join, and that can make them eligible for group insurance programs. Contact your local Small Business Association or Small Business Development Center (often located in community colleges) to ask about this possibility.

 

Cosmo Insurance Agency is an independent insurance agency serving surrounding communities in New Jersey. Cosmo keeps its promise to assure an efficient and creative approach to the services we offer. Each of our clients experience a personalized and long-term relationship with us. Our New Jersey based team of health brokers guides our clients in helping them choose the most cost-effective options. By incorporating the latest in technology-based tools and laws on healthcare, employee benefits, life insurance and finance, we keep our clients up-to-date with the plans that encompass all of their needs, whether it is individual or group insurance.

 

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source: https://www.verywellhealth.com/what-to-do-if-you-have-lost-your-health-insurance-2615273

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