Follow these steps to ensure you don't lose your health insurance and other important benefits, too.
Losing your job can be a shock. But keeping your head and following a few simple steps will help ensure you get as much value from work benefits as you deserve. Most importantly, it may also help you keep your health insurance after employer-sponsored coverage ends.
Even though you may think that your new job search should take priority, be sure to address all benefits-related issues before leaving work for the last time. Considering that just one medical crisis in the family can wipe out your savings if you are uninsured, even a short lapse in health coverage may be risky.
This Action Plan is intended to help you handle a challenging time - and hopefully avoid a few missteps along the way. Please be aware that this is an overview, not a comprehensive blueprint covering every situation.
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Solve health coverage issues:
Create security for your job search:
While the information above suggests actions to take, you may find you need some details to actually carry them out. You'll find them here, along with helpful links, phone numbers or places to go for more information.
COBRA This federally-mandated program allows you to stay on your former company's health plan for 18 months after being terminated. Your coverage will not change, but your premiums will increase significantly since your employer will no longer be contributing to their cost. COBRA is available to all covered employees and dependents that were covered by the company's plan at the time of termination.
For more information, consult your HR or benefits department.
Spouse's health plan If your spouse has the option of family coverage from his/her employer, consider enrolling yourself and any dependents currently covered by your plan. This may be more affordable than COBRA, and you should be able to get coverage fairly quickly
For more information, consult your spouse's HR or benefits department.
Medicare If you're eligible, Medicare offers affordable, comprehensive medical and prescription drug coverage. Medicare coverage begins at age 65, but you can begin the enrollment process at age 64½. If you have a qualifying disability, you may be able to enroll earlier.
For more information, visit www.medicare.gov, or call MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) 24 hours, 7 days a week, including some federal holidays.
Private health insurance You may want to consider a new plan from a private health insurer. Take some time to research and compare a number of private plans. You may find coverage that better meets your needs and budget than your current plan.
For more information, contact your state's Department of Insurance, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, or an insurance broker. To find plans that carry the AARP name, visit the Product Finder on this site.
State-based children's health programs Most states offer coverage for uninsured children under age 18.
For more information, contact your state's Department of Insurance.
Medication costs Consider whether your ability to cover prescription costs is threatened by your reduced income. If so, subsidies may be available from the manufacturer of your medication.