What to do About Health Insurance if You Get the Pink Slip
Getting laid off is never easy. Even if your company is closing and you didn't get "fired," it's still a difficult time. One of the hardest things about losing your job is losing your benefits. The biggest benefit people worry about is health insurance. If you have ever been without health insurance you understand how scary it can be. What if you have a member of your family who has a chronic illness? What if there is an emergency? What do you do?
No doubt you need to try to find some sort of health insurance during your time of unemployment. If you don't have it, you will have to pay the entire bill of any care for a family member or any illness that comes up. This is a dangerous financial risk. The leading cause of bankruptcy in the U.S. is illness and medical bills.
The good news is if you were fired you do have some options to choose from to keep insurance for a bit of time anyway.
First question, does your spouse or partner work? If so you may be able to get health insurance through their employer. The majority of health insurance plans have provisions in their health insurance policies that permit family members to be able to be added to their health insurance without waiting for the annual renewal period. The key is you must take advantage of this within 30 days of being unemployed.
Another option is Cobra health insurance. If your former employer has more than 20 employees the company is required by law to offer you an extension of your health insurance for at least 18 months. You will have to pay all your premiums for Cobra. That means if your employer was paying part of your premium you now have to pay for it all. You get the same insurance you had before with the same benefits. Cobra has been known to be really expensive but it is an option.
Your former employer will let you know about this by letter and you can sign up for it. You have 60 days to sign up for it. One down side is if your company closed or went out of business they do not have to offer this to you.
The last option is private health insurance. www.getinsurancefast.com can help you find out about private health care insurance. Blue Cross is well known for private insurance but there are lots of other companies that are available to you as well.