Many people rely on their employers to provide health insurance. So, if you lose your job or are forced to retire, you may also lose your health insurance.
Without health insurance, you can end up with prohibitively expensive medical bills, or large medical debts. Therefore, it is generally not a good idea to travel without health insurance of any kind.
Luckily, if you lose your employer-provided health insurance, you usually have the option to keep it for a period of time. The bad news is that maintaining your employer’s health insurance can itself be prohibitively expensive.
How cobra works
The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Adjustment Act (COBRA) gives workers the right to retain group health insurance after leaving the employer that provided the insurance. If he has group health insurance covering 20 or more employees, he will normally be eligible for COBRA upon loss of health insurance. After that, in most cases, you can keep your existing coverage for up to 18 months, but there are exceptions.
The advantage of COBRA is that you can keep health insurance that you would otherwise lose. The downside is that with COBRA you have to pay the full premium yourself. And it can get ridiculously expensive.
Remember, many employers subsidize the cost of employee health insurance, so if, say, $200 a month is deducted from your salary to cover part of your premiums, Your employer could very well be collecting $300, $400. , or more towards your coverage at the same time. So many people who have lost their health insurance cannot afford her COBRA.
When COBRA costs too much
Even if you have savings, you may find that you cannot afford insurance under COBRA. If so, you can sign up for health insurance through healthcare.gov. You can also check if you are eligible for your spouse’s health insurance (this option is only available if you are married and have a spouse who is eligible for insurance through your job). ).
There are different levels of coverage that can be purchased individually through Healthcare.gov. Bronze is the lowest tier of insurance. This means that the Bronze plan usually has the lowest monthly premium. However, out-of-pocket costs under any of these plans can be higher.
The next level is Silver, then Gold, then Platinum. The higher your grade, the higher your health insurance premiums may be. But the more you spend on premiums, the less likely you are to spend on claims like deductibles and copays.
Ultimately, you have to think about your health and how much you can afford. If you rarely get sick, the Bronze plan may be a good choice. This gives you insurance against major illnesses and accidents, but you don’t necessarily have to pay a large premium for insurance that you may not use often.
It’s a shame that for many people, health insurance is tied to work. If you lose your health insurance, it’s important to find a way to cover it, whether you pay for it under COBRA or purchase your own plan. When you get a new job, you may be able to purchase health insurance through your employer. But until then, it’s important to fill that gap.
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