Health Insurance Options for the Unemployed

Dealing with the possibility of unemployment is bad enough. Not having any income is very stressful, since you have no money coming in.

Further complicating matters is the loss of any associated benefits, which often includes health insurance. However, there are options, and knowing the best health insurance for the unemployed means you have a chance at getting great coverage even when you’re out of work and looking for gainful employment.

When you lose your job, you have several options in terms of health insurance to cover you while you are unemployed. The federal COBRA program will likely contact you through the mail, letting you maintain your current healthcare if you shoulder the full burden of the costs involved with the plan. This lets you keep the coverage you have at the end of your employment, but it can also be very expensive.

In most cases of unemployment, you’ll wind up with a special window to get coverage through the federal health insurance marketplace. This window is usually only open for 60 days when it’s not the yearly period for open enrollment taking place from November through December. However, you can peruse many different plans available through the exchanges, and depending on your income level in a previous tax year, you might even qualify for credits that might apply towards your premiums. Some people do this and wind up paying only $20 a month for their health insurance.

Short-term private insurance is another way to go. These policies aren’t usually as comprehensive as full health insurance coverage, as they’re more akin to catastrophic coverage options. However, they can cover you until the end of the calendar year to some degree, or at least until you find another job.

You should note that some states ban short-term insurance policies, considering them ‘junk’ insurance that aren’t worth the time and money. There is also technically a federal mandate requiring everyone to have health insurance coverage at all times, lest they face a penalty when they file their taxes. This penalty is not really enforced all that much, given the court lawsuits and politics involved with it. Having said that, going without health insurance for any length of time is a risky move.

Tips for Senior Workers Seeking Healthcare Coverage

pexels-photo-220723Selecting health coverage at work can seem tedious and overwhelming, this applies in particular to older members of the workforce.

Mature workers in their 50s and 60s require additional time and space to select the right employer-sponsored health coverage so that they can access the most significant benefits for their individual needs. Out-of-pocket costs are on the rise, as well the average deductible for single coverage.

According to Kaiser Family Foundation/Health Research & Educational Trust survey, single coverage increased from $1,318 to $1,478 in just a year’s time. There are four steps experts recommend to those who are interested in making smart choices and keeping costs down.

Keep health bills down and maintain the quality of your health care. You can do this by choosing a plan that will support your regular prescription needs and your common medical needs. People tend to require more care as they age, which is why it’s so important that adults 65+ gain access to plans that will help to care for chronic and preexisting conditions known to older Americans. A good tip is to calculate last year’s expenditure, including copayments and co-insurance, as well as estimating non-emergency costs, then deduce how much you’re likely to spend in the months ahead.

Take your time and choose the right plan for you. When deductibles were lower, choosing which insurance plan is the right for you was easier for the public. The climbing costs of deductibles have changed the marketplace, so insurance seekers should feel comfortable with taking the time to choose plans that speak to needs and spending limits. According to the 2016 Aflac Open Enrollment Survey, 58 percent of baby boomers spent less than 30 minutes browsing options during the last open enrollment period. More than that, most seniors (93 percent) of user choose the same benefits as they did the year before, simply because of familiarity.

The issue with continuing with service that doesn’t serve you well is that won’t necessarily translate to you having the best deal. Also, it’s important to note that holding on to the same plan doesn’t necessarily guarantee you access to the same coverage and same doctors. The detailing plans and physicians within a network can change from year to year. It’s a fact that many understand their health plans far less than we believe they do. With that in mind, many don’t have the patience, time, or attention span to truly scour all coverage options, plans, and health savings accounts –but you have to set aside at least an hour or two of your time. Online calculators should narrow options.

Comb through the list of out-of-pocket expenses and compare premiums. National surveys indicated that the premiums for PPOs (Preferred Provider Organizations) were much higher than the high-deductible health plans (HDHPs) sold by large employers, which averaged $84 per month for single coverage and $321 for family coverage. Kep in mind that lower premium costs often translates to higher deductibles. Out-of-pocket limits can be exorbitant, especially when HDHPs are concerned. PPO deductibles tend to be two to three times smaller, but deciding what’s right for you is a matter of comparing coinsurance, co-payments, deductibles, and premiums.

Find out if you can save money using a Flexible Saving Account (FSA), Health Reimbursement Account (HRA), or a Health Saving Account (HSA). Both employees and employers can contribute to HSA accounts when employees have high-deductible health plans. All investment gains, deposits, and withdrawals are tax-free, and ownership of the account means that you can carry it with you for years. HSAs are the best option when you have significant health care costs, and HRAs (exclusively funded by employers) can offset health insurance premiums and reduce expenses incurred ahead of meeting the deductible. Deductibles, copayments, co-insurance, dental bills, vision expenses, and additional out-of-pocket costs can be paid using an HRA.

Employees can fund FSA up to $2,600 in 2017, with there being no tax deduction. With that said contributions are pre-tax, and distributions are untaxed. A high deductible plan isn’t needed to secure an FSA.