What to Do If You Lose Your Health Insurance

Updated on August 1, 2017
Dreamworker profile image

Dreamworker has spent years studying and dealing successfully with a number of health issues.

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.

Options you can use to get health care if you have lost your coverage.
Options you can use to get health care if you have lost your coverage. | Source

Age Matters

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?

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Questions & Answers

  • I was told by my place of employment that holds my health insurance that I will be terminated if I do not come back by a certain date. I've had a knee replacement and needed more time to heal. What can I do if I cannot keep up with the pace of the job? Can I draw unemployment? Can I look for a job that I can successfully do without being in Arthritis pain, which I have in both knees?

    You have several options. Get a note from your doctor saying that you are unable to return to work until a certain date. Ask your employer if he could temporarily place you in a job you can do until you heal or allow you to work part-time in an easier job. If you are terminated, you probably can get unemployment, but you can't keep it if you take a job elsewhere. It's one or the other. Many people have knee replacements and Arthritis and are still able to work. Knee replacements heal and people do just fine with them. There is a normal healing time for most individuals, so if you have passed that time, you could be seen as playing the system. You'll have to choose what you want to do, but talking to your employer more about this situation might be the best thing you can do.

  • Can I collect unemployment if I’m terminated ?

    I believe that you can, but call your local unemployment office and ask because this may depend on the circumstances of your termination.

© 2017 Sondra Rochelle

Comments

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  • Dreamworker profile imageAUTHOR

    Sondra Rochelle 

    16 months ago from USA

    KAlbert: Hard to argue with you. Our problem is that we have too many apathetic citizens. They are too lazy to do the research necessary to elect good, caring leaders, so we get stuck with major problems like this one. Thanks for commenting.

  • KAlbert profile image

    Kevin Albert 

    16 months ago from Hamilton

    Good job, great article. I'm Canadian so I am quite lucky to have free health care. The US is more of a Corporation than it is a Country and Big Pharma is big money there in the US therefore you will never have Universal health care. Your politicians could care less about the American citizens and they are pretty much trying to kill you all off slowly, I don't know how you all can't see that! Wish you all the best though and hopefully you will all wake up before it's too late!

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