Healthcare Between Jobs: Is COBRA Right For You?

Whether you've chosen to resign from your job or were let go of it for other reasons, the health insurance that was partially covered as part of your employee benefits will have stopped. This means you'll need to seek alternative coverage elsewhere. While you could simply remain uninsured while you are looking for your next job, doing so means that you risk incurring penalties under the provisions of the ACA. While this gives you the incentive to have some kind of coverage, it can be hard to do so without a steady income.
COBRA health legislation, passed in 1985, will let you retain your employee health insurance for up to one and a half years after you've left your previous employment. The only difference is between this coverage and what you had while you were employed is that you must pay the entire cost of the coverage. Because you are no longer working at the company, your former employer will not be required to pay any of your insurance costs, despite the fact that you'll technically still be using the same plan.
COBRA may offer you sufficient coverage based on your immediate family and current health status, both of which they will look at when trying to decide your eligibility for the program. You'll have a two-month window in which to decide if COBRA is right for you. Most experts recommend not waiting until the last day, though, as it may bring about a penalty. It's a good idea to compare COBRA to other available insurance options during this time frame.

Your best option, especially if you expect your time between jobs to be minimal, maybe a short-term insurance plan. These plans typically last a maximum of one year which is generally long enough for many people to find other employment. While applying for these policies is fairly quick and straightforward, coverage options differ depending on the specific plans you'll use or for which you may be eligible. Items such as rules and limits are different and often stricter than other types of insurance policies. In addition, the ACA does not view the majority of short-term policies as a viable means of insurance.
The Affordable Care Act views any loss of employment, and thus health coverage, as something that will qualify you for other health insurance options in your state. Because of this, you'll be able to purchase policies that are in compliance with ACA guidelines, so long as your income is equal to the minimum ceilings. These policies will come from the general 'healthcare marketplace' options available in the state in which you reside.
However, if you do not have the needed minimum income to qualify for a plan on the health care exchange of your state, nor the necessary funds to buy insurance under COBRA, you can still talk with a qualified agent. These agents will help you locate viable independent policies that line up with ACA rules. Most independent plans will cover your basic healthcare needs while not being as expensive as plans under COBRA. They're also relatively flexible, allowing you to change or retain them as long as necessary. While rates may increase incrementally on an annual basis, these plans are a good way to get the coverage you need between jobs.
Lastly, there are some insurance plans that give you a great deal of coverage for monthly rates that appear to be relatively low for what you get. However, the problem with some of these plans is that they often require you to pay much of the coverage on your own for a long time before the plan starts to kick-in with its co-pays. In other words, these are high-deductible plans that require you to pay for your first few visits in their entirety. The idea behind this is that while you do pay for your initial visits, you will not have to pay for your subsequent visits. This would be particularly true if you have to deal with harsh health concerns later, should those concerns arise. Because of the low monthly rates for these plans, most clients who have them expect they will only need to use them when they are in dire need.