Health Insurance and being laid off

Individual or Family Health
Group Health Coverage

American Academy of Pediatrics Frowns Upon "Consumer Driven" Health Plans

If you are one of the more than 400,000 Americans who have recently received a company lay-off letter, your first thought is; "what do I do now". And of the many mind boggling things that may be swimming through your consciousness at the moment, not the least of them is" what about my health benefits, and is there a way I can continue LOW COST HEALTH COVERAGE for myself and my family?"

The truth is that as you probably know there is Federal Program known as COBRA, which guarantees that if you are subject to a company lay-off you must be given the opportunity to continue your company GROUP HEALTH BENEFITS by paying for them on your own. But while access to COBRA benefits is guaranteed, making them affordable is not, and more often than not for someone who is just facing the problem of being out of work for an indefinite period of time, COBRA benefits can be prohibitively expensive.

But there are other options. If you have been given any indication that your company lay-off is temporary and they have given you some indication of a time frame - even if that is 6 months to a year - when you may be called back to work, you best option for low cost medical coverage is a short term policy, also known as Gap Insurance.

Gap Insurance is also your best option for affordable health coverage if you think you will be returning to work in six months to a year, even if that will be with another employer who will offer you medical insurance. Short term health insurance plans can be purchased for yourself and your family, are usually very good and comprehensive coverage, and can cost half as much as the monthly premium of a COBRA policy. And if after the term of the policy is reached - usually no more than a year - you have not returned to work you are usually given the option of renewing the term or converting the policy to a LOW-COST INDEMNITY PLAN with no time limits. The only problem with Gap insurance is you must be healthy, if you are undergoing treatment for any pre-existing conditions, most likely you will not qualify for a SHORT TERM HEALTH INSURANCE POLICY.

However if you are receiving treatments for a pre-existing condition, and are laid off, you may elect to go with COBRA despite the cost, if you want to continue treatments; but keep in mind that under the Health Insurance Portability Act (HIPPA) once COBRA expires, you must be permitted to purchase a PRIVATE INSURANCE POLICY; even if you have a pre-existing condition; as long as you have had coverage within the last 6 months. So being laid off from a job where you had health coverage qualifies you for HIPPA once you have exhausted your COBRA benefits.

While a HIPPA health insurance plan will not be as REASONABLY PRICED HEALTH INSURANCE as Gap coverage, it might be your only option to obtaining health insurance.