How to Find Affordable Health Care When You Lose Your Job

How to Find Affordable Health Care When You Lose Your Job

 

If you’ve gotten laid off or your hours have been cut so you no longer qualify for your employer sponsored benefits, chances are you’ve heard of COBRA (also known as the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act). You may have also heard that COBRA is your only option for health care coverage after you make this life change, but that is just a myth.

If you’re leaving a job for any reason, don’t automatically assume COBRA is your only, or best option. There may be more affordable or more reliable coverage options for you and your family from other health insurance companies, through a spouse’s plan or on the Health Insurance Marketplace. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, COBRA coverage can cost up to 102 percent of the individuals previous group premium.

If you opt into COBRA, your coverage stays the same but you are responsible for paying the entire premium yourself. This often ends up being more expensive since you no longer have an employer paying part of the cost of your coverage. Here’s more on what COBRA is and how it works:

  • COBRA is a federal program that allows you to stay on your employer-sponsored plan even if you are no longer a full-time employee.
  • You qualify for insurance through COBRA if you are leaving a group of 20 or more and your health insurance was canceled within the last 60 days because:
    • You were laid off or fired
    • You are working fewer hours than you used to
    • You ended your employment

COBRA requires that continuation coverage extend from the date of the qualifying event for a period of 18 or 36 months (the length of time depends on the type of qualifying event). A plan, however, may provide longer periods of coverage beyond the period required by law.

If you’re enrolled in COBRA but are interested in learning what health insurance coverage options are more affordable and available through Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, click here or call one of our health plan advisors at 888-899-4931 .

Photo credit: Kate Hiscock

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