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Holding On to Your Health Coverage: 5 Steps to Consider If You've Been Laid-Off
Date:12/1/2008

'You shouldn't have to lose your safety net... ' says nonprofit founder

SAN JOSE, Calif., Dec. 1 /PRNewswire/ -- With U.S. unemployment at a record 6.5% and layoffs continuing, the ranks of the uninsured will continue to grow. However, armed with statistics that nearly one-third of the current uninsured have government programs they are eligible for but don't know it, Phil Lebherz, executive director of the nonprofit Foundation for Health Coverage Education (FHCE), advises "being laid off shouldn't automatically mean you go without health coverage."

The nonprofit health coverage think tank has come up with 5 steps people need to take in reviewing how they can hold on to their current coverage or transition to some form of gap coverage.

5 Steps to Take for Holding on to Your Insurance Coverage

  1. COBRA.While this may be the most expensive option, it's a good one for someone with a pre-existing medical condition. For people recently laid off, the first, immediate option to review is COBRA coverage. COBRA is required of businesses with 20 or more employees. It provides continuation of group health coverage that otherwise might be terminated. One common myth about COBRA coverage is that it is only good for 18 months, but quite often this is not the case as it can be continued indefinitely through state COBRA programs. First steps include checking with the employer's human resources department to receive complete information on how to qualify for COBRA, the costs and how to apply. If COBRA is an option, it should be carefully reviewed before being refused as once it's dismissed, it can't be recalled.
  2. High Deductible Plans. For healthy individuals, another cost effective option while unemployed may be to purchase lower-cost high deductible individual coverage. until new employment is found. With the exception for
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SOURCE Foundation for Health Coverage Education
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