I am currently in-between jobs. Can you explain to me my options for health insurance?
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Asked June 25, 2012
The first thing you need to be aware of is the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, or COBRA insurance for short. Under the COBRA law, if you had group health insurance through your previous employer you are allowed to continue that coverage for up to 18 months after your employment is terminated. You would be responsible for paying the full premiums, including any portion previously paid by your employer, but your health coverage would not change as long as COBRA is in effect.
In the meantime, you should replace your health coverage with a new policy as soon as possible. Group insurance rates are generally thought of as being available only through the workplace, but many company and organizations offer group health insurance, including AAA, AARP, Sam's, and others. Check with any clubs or membership organizations you belong to and ask whether they have group health insurance available.
Another option is to look for individual health coverage. Individual insurance packages tend to be more expensive than group insurance, and have more stringent acceptance guidelines. Many private insurance plans do not accept preexisting conditions or have exclusions written into the policy which prohibit claims related to them. Unless you are in prefect health, private health insurance may not be the best solution.
Medicaid is also an option. If you are not currently working and have limited income, Medicaid may be just the type of insurance you need. Medicaid is a federal program for low income medical care that is administered at the state level. You will need to provide proof of your income and financial status. Medicaid includes special plans for women, infants, and children who live in low income households.
By 2014, all health insurance companies will be accepting a wider range of applicants. Even if you have a preexisting condition and have had trouble finding coverage up to now, by the time the Affordable Healthcare Act goes into effect in 2014, you will have less problem finding an available insurer.
Answered June 25, 2012 by Anonymous