If you’ve recently lost your job, we understand that you’re likely in a bit of a panic. You probably are worried about how you’re going to pay next months rent, and maybe even how you’re going to put food on the table, for you and your family.
One other issue that is extremely important to address after losing your job is finding health and dental insurance. Depending on your previous job, you may have some level of coverage for a certain amount of time, but you don’t want to put off looking into all of your options after becoming unemployed.
COBRA or Health & Dental Insurance
Depending on the size of your previous employer, you may be eligible for health and dental insurance under the “Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act” (COBRA), which is a law that was passed in 1985. COBRA, under certain circumstances requires that employers offer continuation group health care coverage to you and your family for between 18-36 months. Typically employers who have employed more than 20 people in the previous year are required to offer COBRA to their employees. You qualify for COBRA coverage if you were fired or quit your job, moved from full-time to part-time, or were covered by a spouse’s insurance policy.
How Does COBRA Work?
If your previous employer offered COBRA to their employees, they have 30 days to notify their insurance company of your COBRA eligibility. After the insurance company has been notified by your previous employer, they then have an additional 14 days to provide you with information relating to the benefits and costs of the health care continuation coverage offered through COBRA.
One of the main reasons why COBRA exists is to ensure that individuals and families aren’t left with a lapse in insurance coverage due to a job loss. While COBRA may be one of the only options you have after becoming unemployed, it’s important to understand that COBRA can be extremely expensive. COBRA coverage is expensive due to the fact that unemployed individuals have to cover the entire insurance rate, without the employer’s contribution, which is sometimes simply not possible due to economic constraints.
Options for Health and Dental Insurance Instead of COBRA
If COBRA is not an option, because of the sheer cost, or because your previous employer didn’t meet the threshold requiring participation, you still have other options. You may qualify for health insurance that includes dental coverage through the Affordable Care Act, accessible at healthcare.gov. Another option is to look for private health and dental insurance through a broker, or independent insurance agent.
Affordable Care Act or Obamacare Coverage
If you’re attempting to signup for health and dental coverage through the Affordable Care Act (ACA), you may be alarmed because the annual enrollment period is over. Thankfully, the ACA allows individuals who’ve experienced a “Qualifying Life Event” to obtain insurance throughout the year, outside of the opening enrollment period.
A Qualifying Life Event is simply defined as a significant change in life circumstances. This would include marriage, divorce, losing your existing health coverage due to job loss, or having a baby.
Don’t Delay Making a Decision
While you’re likely going through a highly stressful and emotional time after losing a job, it’s important not to delay making a decision regarding your future health coverage. If you’re signing up for coverage through the ACA, you only have 60 days after losing your previous insurance to signup for a new plan. If you miss out on this period, you’ll have to wait until the next annual enrollment period.
While healthcare is an absolute necessity, depending on your situation, dental insurance may not be.
One option to help cover you for a year at a time is a dental savings plan. These plans offer several benefits compared to dental insurance, which include no annual spending caps, waiting periods, exclusions for pre-existing conditions or deductibles. In addition, dental savings plans can often save individuals 15%-60% off dental care.
For more information about a variety of dental savings plans for you and your family, feel free to browse our website, or contact our team toll free at 844-255-3427.