What to Do If You Lose Your Health Insurance
There was a time years ago when health insurance was inexpensive and easy to get, but the situation has changed drastically in recent years.
The cost of medical care and prescription medications has skyrocketed, so people who don’t have coverage will face serious financial issues if they get sick.
Some foolishly assume that because they are healthy, they don’t need coverage. As a result, they don’t buy it. They’d rather not be victimized by the high cost and would prefer to use the money they save elsewhere.
Others feel they can’t afford care, even though they probably could if they were willing to change their spending habits. The yearly cost of cigarettes and beer most likely would buy a policy!
These people are willing to tolerate the potential consequences of them if things don’t work out for them.
There is another group, however, that understands the importance of having good health care coverage.
Most of them depend on getting it through their employers. But when they lose their jobs, their coverage often disappears.
These are people who have never “played the game” and really worry about the possibility of financial disaster due to health care needs.
If workers are in their early 60’s when they lose their jobs, they are fortunate because if they work for a company that has more than 20 employees, they will be able to buy COBRA coverage that will allow them to continue using their former employer’s health insurance plan that protect them for a specified number of months following the loss of employment.
However, to do this they likely will have to pay the full amount of coverage rather than sharing the cost of it with their employer.
In many cases, COBRA coverage is enough to bridge the age gap and allow them to remain covered until they become eligible for Medicare.
Thus, somebody who is slightly past the age of 63 can buy insurance that will last until he reaches the qualifying Medicare age of 65.
What about Younger People?
If you do not fall into the bracket mentioned above, you still have options.
One of the best is to find a job that provides insurance coverage. Of course, the older you are, the more difficult it will be to find work, but if you have a special skill set, this option may work for you.
If not, you should seek part time work with a company that will provide health insurance after a 3 month grace period. Home Depot and Publix Supermarkets are two that will do this.
Another choice, although shaky at this writing, is to sign up for a policy with Obamacare. If you have no or low income, it is likely that you’ll be able to get basic coverage through this program for little or no cost that can tide you over until you find work.
If you are under the age of 26, as things stand now, you can sign up under your parents' policy.
Finally, in the event that none of these ideas work for you, you can use free and low cost care that is provided by government run health clinics. You can also use emergency rooms for immediate care problems.
- Hospitals are legally required to treat patients, even if they cannot afford to pay.
- Some will also provide long term, interest free payment plans for those who have limited incomes.
What If You Are Too Sick to Work
If your health is so bad that you can no longer work to earn enough money to pay for insurance, you will need to apply for help from Medicaid.
Unlike Medicare, Medicaid does not have an age requirement. However, you have to meet certain financial guidelines in order to get it.
You can apply online if you think you qualify. Once approved, depending on your financial situation, Medicaid will pay for all of your medical care as well as most, if not all, of your medications.
One of the good things about Obamacare is that part of the program is Medicaid based.
Right now, many want to eliminate support for Medicaid, but this likely will never happen because millions of people depend on it financially for their health care needs.
Medicaid Can Be a Big Safety Net
People who want to undo Medicaid are those who have never been without health insurance coverage and have never met people who need it but cannot get it for one reason or another.
Nobody knows what their future will hold, but if we don’t keep a safety net in place for people with no or low income who get sick or injured, we are creating problems for them and potentially for ourselves.
- I knew a young woman whose father loaned her $10,000 to open her own beauty shop. She was very good at what she did, and her clients loved her.
- She didn’t think she needed health insurance, and felt she couldn’t afford to buy it due to just having opened her shop,
- One night, as she was heading home, she crossed a busy street and got hit by a car.
- She was hospitalized for three months and ran up medical bills of more than a million dollars. She was never able to work again because of her injuries.
Medicaid saved her and her family from losing everything they had.
As I said earlier, you never know when some issue will arise that might cause you to need a program like this.
If you have lost your coverage and can meet the requirements, Medicaid will protect you financially.
Help May Be On the Way
Although this may not help you right now, you need to know that at some future date the US government may decide to change the entire health insurance system and do as every other civilized country in the world has done, which is to create a system that costs nothing and covers everybody.
This option has been discussed recently, and there are many who would like to see it happen. However, there is also a lot of opposition.
In the event that Universal health care is implemented, you will no longer have to worry because you will always have health care coverage, and it will cost nothing.
Do What You Need to Do
Now you know what your options are if you should lose your health insurance coverage.
This type of issue may only be temporary, but for some it can be permanent
Therefore, you need to plan ahead so that you will be prepared to take action if you lose your health care coverage.
Hopefully, this will never happen to you.
Would you use this information if you lost your health insurance?
Questions & Answers
© 2017 Sondra Rochelle