Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Health Insurance Options When Unemployed

Nine months ago, I wrote an article in a local newspaper about how to keep your insurance if you become unemployed in New York. It is unbelievable how many people have lost their jobs since then. Because of the increasing layoffs, I feel that I should provide here the link to the Bay Currents issue containing this important article (on page 5 "Health Currents" section):

Also, my editor had eliminated some important parts from my original article. Below, is an important part that has been eliminated and not in the published version:

So, what do you do about your health coverage if you lose your job? You should first ask the human resources representative (of the company from which you departed) about COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act). COBRA allows you (the former employee) to continue the same insurance after your departure from the company, but you must notify human resources and the health insurance company's plan administrator within 60 days of your departure. Unfortunately, you would have to pay the monthly premium of the insurance under COBRA. Despite paying the premium out-of-pocket, this option is very important for people with a pre-existing medical condition who must have health coverage. Under COBRA, the health insurance companies are not allowed to include an exclusion clause (excluding coverage of the pre-existing condition) nor are they allowed to charge them more than 102% of the original employer-paid premium. If you have to buy insurance on your own, it is common practice of insurance companies to drastically raise the price for individuals with pre-existing conditions (any little ailment or major chronic disease you've had in the past can be considered a pre-existing condition).

While you maintain your COBRA eligibility, you should simultaneously look into free health insurance programs. Paying for health insurance is the last thing you need when you are laid off. Fortunately, unemployed New Yorkers are likely to be eligible for one of these government sponsored insurance programs...

Free health insurance programs for which you may be qualified if you are unemployed:


Family Health Plus


Healthy NY


Child Medicaid and Child Health Plus

If you are married and unemployed, another option you should look into is your spouse's health insurance from work. You could very well be covered by it.

Note that the information here are for New York residents. States vary in the programs offered and on eligibility criteria.

For more lessons like this one, feel free to go to -

For updates of new posts and for connecting with others who like these readings, feel free to “like” the SpirFit page at

No comments:

Post a Comment