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7 Ways to Keep Health Coverage If You Lose Your Job
Date:3/17/2009

DALLAS, March 17 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Laid off? Don't panic. The following summarizes a new list of suggestions on how to maintain health coverage from the non-profit, non-partisan National Center for Policy Analysis. Authored by NCPA health economist and Senior Fellow Devon Herrick, Ph.D., the full article is not sponsored by any commercial entity, and is for your free and unrestricted use. Link to full article: http://www.ncpa.org/pdfs/Seven_Ways_Job_3-16-09-FINAL-A.pdf

Here are seven options you should consider as soon as possible after getting pink-slipped.

  1. Use it before you lose it. One of the first things you should do after getting laid off is ask the company HR person exactly when your employer-paid coverage expires.
  2. Stay in your employer plan by paying the (COBRA) premium. Be aware that you must accept and sign up for COBRA within 60 days or lose that option completely.
  3. Apply for the federal (COBRA) subsidy. Under the new stimulus bill, you may qualify for a 65% subsidy of COBRA costs for that first nine months.
  4. Choose a cheaper former employer plan. Ask your former HR representative if the company offers a lower cost insurance plan that would cost you less under COBRA.
  5. Join a spouse's or parent's health plan. However, you need to act quickly because federal law requires that you sign up within 30 days from the date of a job loss.
  6. Shop around for inexpensive coverage. There may be cheaper and better alternatives to COBRA, especially if you have no severe health problems.
  7. If uninsurable (because of pre-existing conditions) you may still be able to obtain insurance. 35 states have high-risk pools to insure those who are turned down by commercial insurers.

Ask questions and don't procrastinate past your 62-day window. Even high-deductible, catastrophic coverage may prevent years of financial medical debts.

Devon Herrick, Ph. D., is a preeminent expert on 21st century medicine, including the evolution of Internet-based medicine, consumer driven health care and telemedicine and medical tourism. As a health care economist, Dr. Herrick is a preferred speaker on health policy issues.

The NCPA is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization whose goal is to solve problems by developing and promoting innovative, market-driven solutions.

Website: http://www.ncpa.org/


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SOURCE National Center for Policy Analysis
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