Health Insurance After Losing Job – A Struggle for Many Singles in Wisconsin
Did you know that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) generally makes everyone have insurance or pay a fine, even if they are single and unemployed?
Fortunately, losing health insurance after losing your job (even if you chose to quit) triggers a “Special Enrollment Period.” That means you have 60 days from the date your job ended to find new insurance. If you don’t find coverage within 60 days, you may have to pay the fine. In 2016, the fine is 2.5 percent of your income or $695 – whatever is higher.
If you had health insurance through your job, chances are you are covered until the end of the month in which your job ended. This gives you some time to find other options in case you don’t get another job right away.
COBRA or State Continuation Coverage
If your former employer had more than 20 employees, you probably qualify for COBRA. COBRA is a law that lets you continue having health insurance after losing a job. Your employer has to offer you the same health insurance plan you had when your job ended. However, the employer no longer will continue to pay all or a portion of the premium. That means you will pay the entire premium for your coverage. Many people are shocked to learn the cost of their health insurance after losing a job.
Under COBRA, you have at least 60 days to decide whether to keep your health plan or not. If you’re entitled to COBRA, your former employer should provide you with the details, including cost and the amount of time you have to decide.
The Wisconsin Continuation Law offers coverage very similar to COBRA for employees, including those working for companies with fewer than 20 employees. Like COBRA, you have 60 days to decide whether to keep the health plan or not.
Check to see if you qualify for BadgerCare Plus, Wisconsin’s version of Medicaid.
Buy a catastrophic plan
If you’re younger than 30, you can buy this type of plan. These plans have the lowest premiums, but also have the highest deductibles. You also can’t get subsidies with these plans.
See if you qualify for subsidies.
As a single, if your income is less than $47,520 in 2016, you may be able to get help with your health insurance costs. Keep in mind that unemployment insurance payments count as income.
Find a new job that includes health insurance benefits.
This is the option most people hope for after losing health insurance because of job loss. Businesses with more than 50 employees generally have to offer ACA-compliant health insurance or pay a penalty. If you get a new job that doesn’t offer health insurance, the company may offer a Healthcare Reimbursement Plan1 to help you pay for insurance
Whatever option is right for you, remember that you need to buy a plan within 60 days after losing health insurance. If you have questions, view our plans or call us at 608.644.3430.