Health Care

Unemployment and Maintaining Health Coverage

The economy is in a downward tailspin, unemployment is at an all-time high, and stagnate economic growth is a reality with unemployment looming at nearly everyone’s doorstep. Traditionally, health insurance is part of a benefits package offered by the employer; however, the growing numbers of unemployed face the new problem of buying health insurance to protect themselves and their families. With COBRA benefits out of financial reach for most individuals relying on unemployment benefits, there are other options for health care when unemployed.

Health care is part of personal maintenance to monitor health and detect problems within our body early on. For many, losing employer-sponsored health insurance is devastating because pre-existing conditions make it extremely difficult or nearly impossible to find affordable coverage; however, the new health law will change that obstacle. For laid-off workers COBRA health benefits are an option; however, the cost can be out of reach for many. If an unemployed worker chooses to buy COBRA coverage, it is important to remember that the benefit period will end and purchasing another policy may become a quick reality.

Maintaining Health Care when Being Laid Off

Having adequate health care requires a good insurance policy and stable income to cover the cost, and for laid-off workers there are several options available for purchasing health insurance. Decide whether a short-term or long-term policy is the best option. Short-term policies are usually 6 months or less with many policies having a 12-month option. It is important to remember that short-term policies are typically catastrophic insurance to protect against serious loss. If COBRA is not an option, buy an individual or family policy to protect against financial disaster in the event of a health crisis. For university and college students, check with the school about participating in student insurance available for students and their families. Colleges and universities also offer policies to their alumni at group rates. Other possibilities are to check with trade associations and state government agencies. These groups oftentimes offer members and citizens the opportunity to purchase coverage as part of a pool or group. If meeting eligibility requirements, Medicare and Medicaid are other choices.

Income is extremely limited for the unemployed, and high deductibles might not seem to justify the cost of the premiums; however, these policies are lifesavers guarding against a large financial loss. When faced with unemployment, check and compare rates and apply for coverage online. The application process is quick and easy and at the same choose to pay premiums as a lump sum or monthly. Choosing the right health insurance coverage during unemployment is as important as finding a new job, and with careful planning and a little luck, life will be back to normal in no time.


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Health Care