If you have been laid off or fired from your job, the amount of details you may be considering can be overwhelming. It can be difficult to figure out where to start, but health insurance should certainly be something you consider fixing right away. Typically, you’ll expire out of your employer sponsored coverage at the end of the month or billing period for that coverage.
Your employer is legally obligated to give you the option of continuing on with your existing plan at your own cost for up to 18 months after you leave your job. Shortly after leaving, you should receive sign-up details from your employer to learn more about what you’ll need to do if you plan to keep your existing coverage. On the plus side, COBRA can allow you to continue your coverage as you search for a new job or other options. On the downside, however, your coverage is likely to be extremely expensive.
Many people who are laid off or are fired find that the high cost of COBRA is not something they can afford being newly unemployed. Unless you have banked significant savings and are concerned about emergency care or services for an existing condition, COBRA may not really be an option for you. In addition to fronting the cost for your own care and your family’s care, your employer has the option to add on a 2% administration fee for continuing to manage the plan. Overall, the cost of keeping your coverage through COBRA can be far too much to make it worth it.
Thankfully, you do have another option, and that is getting coverage through the health insurance marketplace. Although enrollment periods for signing up in general are limited each year, being laid off from your job means that you could qualify for a special enrollment period for up to 60 days after your termination from your employer. You’ll need to provide all the information for your coverage, as well as your income level, in order to see what plans are available. Make sure you act sooner rather than later if you are concerned about a lapse in coverage causing serious problems for you or your family.
While it’s hard to return to normal life after being laid off, you need to act quickly to determine how you will be maintaining health insurance coverage.