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Health Insurance: Stay Protected Amid Layoffs, Budget Cuts
Date:5/14/2009

Insurance Regulators Offer Tips, Information for Consumers

KANSAS CITY, Mo., May 14 /PRNewswire/ -- With the national unemployment rate at 8.5 percent,(1) families are living on tighter budgets, and many are struggling to maintain their health insurance coverage. Despite these challenges, there are still ways for consumers to remain protected and save on insurance costs, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC).

"These uncertain times require us all to be vigilant about our insurance to make sure we are protected," said NAIC President and New Hampshire Insurance Commissioner Roger Sevigny. "Consumers can safeguard themselves and their families regardless of their employment situation by making sure they understand their coverage and researching less expensive alternatives."

Options for the Newly Unemployed

It is important for the newly unemployed to examine their options early, because some choices expire within weeks of job termination. The NAIC offers the following tips about health insurance for those who have recently lost their jobs or believe they might need to plan for the possibility:

    *  If married, consider joining your spouse's plan: Transitioning to a
       spouse's plan is typically the most affordable option, but you have
       to act quickly. There is a 30-day special enrollment period during
       which an employee can add a dependent who has lost coverage. If that
       30-day window expires, then your spouse would need to wait to add you
       to his/her plan until the open enrollment period occurs.

    *  Consider COBRA: The federal Consolidated Omnibus Budget
       Reconciliation Act (COBRA) allows individuals who leave their jobs at
       companies with 20 or more employees to continue their health
       insurance coverage for 18 months. Many states extend similar access
    
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SOURCE National Association of Insurance Commissioners
Copyright©2009 PR Newswire.
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