Health Insurance Options When Quitting Your Job
According to Healthcare.gov, if you are going to lose your health insurance because you are quitting your job (called a job-based health plan), then you can consider one of the two following health insurance options:
Health Care Marketplace for your Health Insurance Options
If you quit your job, get fired or basically lose your job in any way because of which you cannot use your job-based health plan, you can shop for other health insurance options at the Health Care Marketplace. Losing your job qualifies you for the Special Enrolment Period, which means you do not have to wait for the Open Enrolment Period to buy your health insurance.
However, you can also qualify for this kind of enrolment if you are:
- Moving to a new zip code
- Getting married
- Having a baby or even adopting a child
- Losing insurance due to separation or divorce
Once you qualify for special enrolment, you have 60 days after the event (losing your job, having a baby, etc.) to buy a new health insurance plan. Also, do check to see if you qualify for a subsidy on the premiums you have to pay. This is based on your income. You can use the subsidy calculator to figure out whether you will qualify for a subsidized premium on your health insurance based on your income.
Signing up for COBRA Coverage
Federal law allows you to stay on with your job-based insurance plan for up to a period of 18 months after you quit. You can continue with your current coverage under the COBRA scheme. The COBRA – Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act – gives workers and their families the right to keep their job-based health plan under certain circumstances, such as:
- Job loss
- Reduction of work hours
- Transition between jobs
- Life events such as death, divorce, etc.
However, be warned that COBRA coverage will be more expensive than individual insurance that you would buy from the Marketplace since you would have to pay both the employer’s contribution as well your own. The upside is that you would continue to get the same benefits as when you were working with the company. You would also need to speak to your employer about this choice as he or she would need to give notice to the insurer.
What to do if you are not eligible for the Special Enrolment Period?
If you wish to change your individual health insurance plan mid-way through the year, but you don’t qualify for the Special Enrolment Period, then you would need to wait till the Open Enrolment Period. This is the period during which individuals can look at various health insurance options and then buy the plan that suits you best. Open enrolment for 2018 was from November 1 to December 15, 2017. Currently, no open enrolment period has been announced for coverages that will start in 2019. However, it is expected to be similar to last year’s period.