Whether you are unemployed by choice or due to unfortunate circumstance, having health insurance is a must. According to The American Journal Of Medicine, 62% of all bankruptcies in 2007 were health related and that’s before the economic meltdown. What’s more frightening is that back in 2001, health related bankruptcies were “only” 45% of total. The epidemic is growing!
Say what you will about Universal Healthcare, with a nation as rich as ours going bankrupt at the rate of 62% due to health expenses is an absolute travesty. Genetics and a drunk driver hitting you while crossing the street doesn’t discriminate between rich and poor. So why should one die while another lives when all it takes is money to save a life?
In 2009 roughly 2.3 million people were unemployed for longer than six months. By June 2012, the ranks of the long-term jobless soared more than 100 percent to 5.3 million. The employment market is thankfully recovering with a rise in corporate profits, but we are still at levels much higher than the natural rate of full employment.
You do not want to be unemployed AND uninsured. You’ve already lost your steady paycheck. The last thing you want is to have a medical disaster that wipes out your savings, emergency fund, and retirement funds.
If you lose everything while unemployed, it will be brutally difficult to rebuild. You might very well enter a cycle of poverty and never get out.
Affordable Health Insurance Options
Employer Sponsored Healthcare (COBRA)
After you leave your company, you usually get COBRA if your firm has more than 20 employees and is using health insurance as a tax deduction. COBRA refers to the Consolidated Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985, and specifically to Title X of the Act. Title X states that an employer must provide the same health care coverage at the same group rate for a certain period of time at the employee’s expense if an employee leaves.
It’s important to understand that COBRA is by default not free. COBRA is simply giving the ex-employee the optionality of paying the same health insurance premiums while the employee was working for up to 18 months. Many employees have no idea how many months of COBRA they can get, so make sure you ask. COBRA premiums are also negotiable as I’ve written in my book on how to negotiate a severance package. In my case, I was able to ask for six months premiums fully paid.
COBRA is the easiest health insurance option for those who no longer have jobs. Your healthcare provider network of doctors is the same so you don’t have to look for new people or fill out any additional paperwork. The goal of COBRA is to allow a healthcare safety net until an employee finds a new job. The typical COBRA policy lasts for one to six months before the ex-employee is on their own.
Spousal Health Insurance Plan
If you are lucky to be married or have a long-time partner after you’ve lost your job, the first thing to do is ask your spouse to ask HR or the benefits department about how you can join your spouse’s plan. One husband who was paying $400 a month in health insurance premiums at his old firm was added to his wife’s plan for only an additional $100 a month. One can say getting laid off actually saved the couple $300 a month.
If you are married, it’s best to do a three scenario cost analysis: 1) The cost of having your own separate plans with your respective employers, 2) The cost of spouse X on spouse Y’s plan, and 3) The cost of spouse Y on spouse X’s plan.
As my above example demonstrates, the married couple would have been much better off if the husband was on his wife’s plan for the past seven years to the tune of $25,200 in health insurance premium savings! Of course there’s more to a plan than just money. We all have our own doctors and specialists we like in various locations.
For those of you who are not technically married and one of you loses his/her job, there’s also hope as well. There’s a concept called “common-law marriage” that is contracted in nine states (Alabama, Colorado, Kansas, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Iowa, Montana, Utah and Texas) and the District of Columbia.
New Hampshire recognizes common-law marriage for purposes of probate only, and Utah recognizes common-law marriages only if they have been validated by a court or administrative order.
The point of common-law is to provide protection for one spouse who may be at a tremendous financial disadvantage of the couple separates. If you live in one of these nine states, check with a local attorney or ask your HR department about your rights.
From an employer’s perspective, adding a spouse to an existing employee’s health insurance package is a marginal financial burden. Think about how little it costs to add another driver’s name to your car insurance policy for example. The car insurance premium cost only goes up by 10-20%.
One of my interviewees for my severance negotiation book highlighted that he got on his partner’s health insurance plan for free after his COBRA ran out. All his partner did was mention to HR that he has been living with her for 10 years and would like to include him during open enrollment. Every employer is different. You just have to understand your employer’s policies by asking.
Parental Health Insurance
Thanks to The Affordable Care Act, young adults up to age 26 are allowed to remain or join their parent’s or guardian’s health plan. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimates that approximately 2.37 million young adults will be affected by the new law, out of which 1.83 million are currently uninsured. For more information about The Affordable Care Act, here is a helpful Q&A page from the Department Of Labor.
To provide some perspective, approximately 30 percent of Americans between the ages of 19 and 29 have no health insurance. This age group makes up 13 million of the 47 million Americans currently living without health insurance.
Leveraging The Internet
Let’s say your COBRA has run out, you don’t have a spouse or domestic partner, you’re 26 years old and you still haven’t found a job that will provide health insurance. Don’t worry. The internet has been a boon for consumers because it allows us to find more efficiently find the cheapest options.
When I was working, I paid roughly $350 a month in health insurance premiums for a UHC Basic, Rx co-pay plan. The firm contributed another $400 for my group health insurance plan based on the documents I received after I left. Hence, my automatic assumption was that I would have to pay AT LEAST $750 a month in equivalent health insurance premiums once I became unemployed. I say “at least” because firms get discounts for group plans vs. individuals. It’s the same concept of buying in bulk.
My health insurance plan was pretty good. I had medical PPO with a $25 co-pay program that covered 90% of my entire bill. In other words, if my doctor’s bill was for $1,500 to fix my leg, I would pay $25 + $150. As I’m pretty active in sports and outdoor activities, it was important to get a plan that provided at least the majority of coverage.
That said, I also have the finances to be able to cover most disaster scenarios if I need to. I just don’t want to pay out of pocket for anything that costs more than $3,000. Figure out your own threshold if you have not done so already.
I checked quotes online eHealthInsurance and found a plan as cheap as $105 a month for 80% coverage of my entire bill (co-insurance). The only caveat is a $2,000 a year. In other words, I have to pay out of pocket for my first $2,000 in co-pay and medical expenses before health insurance kicks in. Given I feel comfortable paying up to $3,000, this combination of $105/month and a $2,000 deductible sounds good. The main thing I’m worried about is disaster insurance that costs tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars.
If you’re interested in affordable term health insurance, Agile Health Insurance is a great resource. They offer term coverage for as little as $1.50/day with premiums up to 50% less than Obamacare (ACA) plans. There are no lock-out periods so you can enroll any time of year, get immediate approval and get coverage in as little as 24 hours.
AgileHealthInsurance also offers broader doctor networks than most Obamacare plans and has customizable options for dental and discounts on prescriptions. You just have to figure out what you are comfortable affording on a monthly basis and how much you can afford if something bad happens.
Make Less Money To Get Healthcare Subsidies
One thing people who are thinking about retiring early might not realize is that if you make up to 400% of the Federal Poverty Limit, you get healthcare subsidies under the Affordable Care Act.
Below is the FPL chart as of 2020. The 100% column shows the income cut off per household for what the federal government considers to be poverty income. You can earn up to the 400% column and still qualify for healthcare subsidies.
The less you make, the less you have to contribute to you or your family’s healthcare plan. The chart below shows how much of your expected contribution is based on income. For example, if you make $40,000 a year as an individual, you will pay at most $3,944 a year (9.86%) in healthcare premiums under the ACA.
Don’t Take Chances With Your Health
When I was employed, all I would ever hear from colleagues and politicians was the crippling cost of health insurance skyrocketing multiple times faster than inflation. As a result, I read every single page of my employee benefits handbook, interviewed dozens of people who left their job, spoke to HR, and searched the internet for options. What I’ve hopefully demonstrated in this post is that there are affordable health insurance options for anybody who no longer works.
It is vital we all have at least disaster prevention health insurance because we never know when bad luck will strike. If you are unemployed not by choice, please don’t risk not having any health insurance to save $100 a month.
Remember, more than 62% of bankruptcies are health related. Being unemployed and uninsured is one thing. Being bankrupt and unhealthy is a path towards potential for the rest of your life.
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Related posts on health insurance:
Learn How Much You Should Spend On Health Insurance
Is It Worth Having A High Deductible Health Plan To Have An HSA?
How To Get Healthcare Subsidies Even As A Multi-Millionaire
POS vs. PPO Plan – What’s the Difference?
Updated for 2022 and beyond.
[…] time. I’m extremely grateful for the offer and asked out of curiosity whether I could receive health care benefits like my colleagues. Sitting in one of the open enrollment sessions reminded me how awesome it is to […]
Skylar Williams says
I had no idea that 62% of bankruptcy was because of health-related issues. I just lost my job and I need health insurance still. I’ll be sure to find another job soon so I can get health insurance and I won’t have to file for bankruptcy.
You are forgetting the best option for most people under 50 years old who take care of their health (no kids and no chronic health issues): carry no insurance, and just budget cash for your cheap and basic preventative medical expenses. You will save thousands in most years.
This article could benefit from an update now that Trump has arrived yet Obama unaffordable care plans persist. If the $99 catastrophe plans re-emerge, those aren’t a bad option, but for now, there are no individual plans under $300-400 per month anymore (well, not for people with decent income of around 75k or more). Also, there is no longer a $1400 annual tax penalty for not carrying insurance.
The only young-ish people who would presently be wise to carry insurance would be:
-those having kids or already with kids (have whichever spouse gets insurance better subsidized through their work buy it)
-people with chronic illness and medication (diabetes, intestinal disease, cancer, etc)
-people who get insurance for free or nearly free through employer (and wouldn’t get any more cash by declining the insurance)
For self employed, independent contractors, or situations where the employer offers no insurance or no subsidy towards the premium, you would have to be nuts to pay for the insurance as a healthy 20-50 year old person. You are going to spend a ton for something that will offer you very little benefit and value.
Health insurance is the biggest scam running. It is a greater part of our government spending than anything else (yes, Medicare + Medicaid is a bigger piece of the debt pie each year than defense or infrastructure or education). If you want to personally donate to fund the medical care of older people (and some chronically ill younger people), there are charities specifically for that. You don’t need to do it through health insurance.
A few main misconceptions are rampant about health care and medical bills:
1) “It costs too much to pay cash.”
(no, you actually get a discount… for clinics, talk to the billing department, or for hospitals, ask for the billing or financial counselor. Tell them you want to pay the Medicare rate, a good middle ground between low paying Medicaid plans and higher paying commercial insurances like Blue Cross. Medicare rates for every medical billing code or test code or procedure are clearly published on CMS.gov)
2) “I will be limited on choices without insurance.”
(totally wrong… cash is accepted anywhere, and cash pay patients will also tend to save a lot of paperwork time. It is actually insurance that limits you on choices of doctors and testing places with HMOs, PPOs, teir 1 providers, in-network, etc etc etc.)
3) “Insurance will cover most of my visits and basic care.”
(this is entirely variable based on health plans… deductibles and co-pays among health plans are generally higher than ever. Most doctors, medical billers, and hospital social workers can hardly understand insurances. If you as the patient expect to read the pages of fine print and understand your co-pays, deductible, in-networks, testing and lab rates, etc etc… well, good luck. Expect many surprises along the way. Besides, you need to remember that you are usually looking at inflated ‘sticker price’ numbers which do not cost as much for a cash patient and cost more/less for a different patient with different insurance than yours. For example, a ‘$150’ doc visit with ‘$100’ bloodwork might be a $30 visit copay and $50 to the lab from the patient who is commercial insured and their insurance pays $50 on the visit and $30 for the lab… while a cash pay person asking for the Medicare rate might simply pay $60 visit and $20 to the lab. Pricetagging in healthcare and ‘chargemaster’ prices is a tremendous game of smoke and mirrors far beyond the scope of this topic of whether insurance is needed.)
4) “I can go bankrupt if something major happens.”
(possible, but highly unlikely. First, even surgery or hospitalizations or CT scans are nowhere near as expensive as the high sticker prices you hear of… remember that you can decline any seemingly unnecessary test or bloodwork or specialist doc consult (there are thousand$ ordered every day in major hospital$)… and again, demand before the tests, or when you get the bill, to pay the Medicare rate. Second, hospitals aren’t going to freeze your bank account or garnish wages; you simply make a reasonable payment plan and chip at it. They know that two thirds of hospital bills never get paid, they know you or your kid just had a health crisis, and they’re generally very happy to work with you. Three, if you really do get shot with a shotgun or fall from a roof or wake up to cough up blood from advanced lung cancer, then yes, the hospital bill will be sizable… but you need to realize that at that point, you have problems MUCH bigger than money. Finally, realize that, as one of the few good things Obama changes to heath insurances did, there is now no stopping someone who abruptly finds out they have cancer or have diabetes needing insulin pump or have a tumor that needs surgery to simply sign up for insurance at that time (no more ‘pre-existing conditions’ exclusions)… what do you think hospital social workers frantically scramble to rapidly do for underinsured people who come into the ER with major injuries? They quickly try to get the person signed up with Medicaid as fast as they can to recoup some of the money they will potentially lose… and the big trauma centers have sizable govt funding already in place to expect these types of cases.)
…in the end, it’s a personal choice about individual and family needs. Sure, there is peace of mind in having health insurance. However, there is also tremendous cost (usually $4k or more for the average 35 year old healthy person nowadays… and the insurance sure doesn’t cover 100% of their care, either).
Personally, I’m a doc, and I basically haven’t had health insurance since it was given for me free by my residency hospital. I tried $99/mo catastrophe coverage for one year after that, but then Obama compliant plans made that same policy “non-compliant”… and the closest substitute over three times more expensive. I’ve saved probably $30k or more by not having health insurance the past 6 years. Heck, it’s easily twice that much when you consider compounding interest (assuming that money was invested in markets or paid onto 7% student loans).
Contrary to what you’d think, it’s not as if I’ve been without health care. I get an annual physical every year with basic lab work (I tell my doc I only want to pay for the comprehensive panel every few years since I’m cash pay and I have no risk factors).
The keys to doing fine without health insurance are making appointments (urgent care and ER bills are substantially higher), negotiating the price with the biller ahead of time whenever possible (tell them you want to pay Medicare allowable), and avoiding unnecessary testing and lab work. Always feel free to ask the doc “is that likely to change the treatment plan?” As someone with no family history of cancers and no symptoms, I don’t need super-advanced blood testing for leukemia. If I go in for what is clearly a bad bruise/scrape on my arm that needs cleaning and bandaging and antibiotic cream, I don’t need to have an x-ray and pay for pharmacy pain meds and antibiotic tablets.
That kid up above who posted that “one time I didn’t have health insurance I got a super bad flu virus… had to bite the bullet to go see a doctor and get antibiotics” makes no sense to me. Assuming you cash pay and get the Medicare rate (either by prior agreement or by threatening the biller to pay that amount or nothing after the fact once you get the bill), that’s roughly a $200-$300 visit between the doc bill and the pharmacy (office lower end, urgent care higher end). Either way, he saved money in that month versus paying $300 or more for health insurance premium, which would not have paid for 100% of that visit anyways. He won by $100 or more in that month where he got the flu. What’s to be upset about? Obviously, that stuff doesn’t happen every month. Most months, you win by the entire amount of what insurance would have cost for you not to use… plus interest.
Basically, you need to be your own advocate (whether or not you choose to use health insurance). In all honesty, most docs just order most labs and tests because their clinic (or the hospital they work for) owns the lab or test equipment… and that’s how they get paid. Just like a mechanic shop or a flower shop or anywhere else, you need to avoid being up-sold. GL
I’m self-employed and my wife starts a new teaching job in a few days. The new job provides $415/month toward health insurance. So if we get insured through her employer or if we insure through a private plan she still gets the $415, also that amount is static and not based on the monthly premium. But, through her employer it’s $375 for her but $600 for her and myself on her plan. We already pay for accident insurance since we both mountain bike, snowboard, hike, etc. Will we be able to find a plan under $415 for both of us privately? I’m 31 and she’s 28 if it matters.
Financial Samurai says
The only way to find out is to check. AgileHealthInsurance offers lower rates than Obamacare on term policies and no lock-out periods. You can check their rates by clicking the link. There’s no obligation.
Here in NJ I was unable to find ANYTHING for a family of 4 under 1k a month (and that was extreme high deductible). Since I am leaving my job soon, I found a company that I could do consulting work for no pay but…wait for it…JUST health insurance! I will work for them for about 5 hours a week. I gotta write a blog post about this one…
Take care, Sam.
Financial Samurai says
Hmmm, so basically you will work for 25 hours for 1.25 months worth of health insurance that equates to $1,000? I guess that’s not THAT bad if that’s what it takes. Seems like the employer is getting the much better end of the deal though as health insurance is deductible.
Seeing as how I just joined the ranks of the unemployed, I’m going t bookmark this and refer back to it often! Thanks Mr FS!
A few years ago, right out of college I was working at a company on contract but without benefits. As a healthy 22 year old, of course, health insurance wasn’t a big priority. Why would I need that? Well a few months later, I cut my fingers on some broken glass and needed 17 stitches. At least it happened at work, so the contract company paid the bill from the emergency room. By the following week, I had enrolled in a short term (6 mo.) health insurance policy and before that term was up, I was hired on full-time at the company with benefits.
Some lessons are learned the hard way, and I have the scars to remind me of that.
Financial Samurai says
Ouch! You really do have scars to prove it. Those scars might very well save you from financial disaster in the future!
This depends on your state. I was in a state (won’t say which one but it had the 2nd highest premiums in the country) and when I have to pay our own insurance it nearly killed us. Know the laws in your state and it will lead to informed decision making.
truth finder says
I like reading your blog. I rarely have an opposite opinion. But this time I do. I am self employed and I am in my mid 20s. I’ve always been healthy. I’ve decided for the past year to go without insurance. The reason is because I work in the industry and know the prices are inflated. You can pay for a lot of things with cash.
Also, I recommend you do a search on that “study”. Maybe google search medical bankruptcy, myth. You will find that a lot of the people in this study had less than a few thousand bucks in their account. What really is a travesty is not that there are so many medical bankruptcies, but that so many people cannot save up for emergencies.
Financial Samurai says
Please explain more. You work in the healthcare industry and opted out of health care insurance? Why exactly?
It would seem imprudent to not get at least disaster insurance. We all feel great until we don’t. Nobody plans to get sick.
Yes, there is wisdom here. The medical disaster which lands people in the poor house is highly overblown. Most notably, not everyone who declares medical-related bankruptcy was without insurance. For many of them (insured or not), they were already swimming neck deep in debt and/or living check-to-check… a few medical bills were just straws that broke the camel’s back. If it weren’t that, it might have been a blown engine head gasket or a job loss or some other unplanned expense soon enough. Someone with a house or car payment will resist declaring bankruptcy since they have something to lose, and credit cards can pile up gradually over years before people realize they’re cooked. However, medical debt is an easy excuse to give up financially since it is unsecured debt which can show up in large sums very quickly.
Of course everyone takes health insurance when it is free or low-cost due to employer subsidy. Assuming insurance has a substantial cost to them, most people hear of medical sticker shock and are frightened into getting health insurance. That doesn’t mean they immune to still possibly deciding on bankruptcy when they get a large medical bill for their patient portion (that insurance didn’t cover). They are still part of the statistics.
Most unfortunately, most people paying on hospital bills or bankrupt due to them don’t know that those inflated bills are highly negotiable. They also don’t know that a simple payment plan is all hospitals need. Hospitals aren’t loan sharks or mortgage companies who literally own the roof over your head; they know their service was already done and it’s completely unsecured debt. They also know many of the people they need to try to collect past due bills from are young parents or individuals without much wealth, old people with fixed income, disabled or dying, teetering on bankruptcy, etc etc etc. They are generally happy to get what they can and generally willing to forgive large portions of the bill and work with people as long as you will attempt a reasonable payment plan (usually long term and interest-free).
The key is knowing how to play mythbusters on the scare factor:
As an person without health insurance, even if I got into a car accident with a concussion and badly broken leg (ER visit, CT scan, 1 orthopedic surgery and 3 nights in the hospital), that is actually pretty manageable. Sure, it will probably look like a $100k bill at first glance. However, the hospitals know they might only get $60k, $40k, or $20k for it from Blue Cross, Medicare, and Medicaid insurance allowable amounts, respectively.
If I talk to them and negotiate it to $30 or $40k by stating financial hardship due to student loans blah blah etc, I simply make a $12k downpayment and reasonable payment plan 5 year $300 per month with 0% interest. Life goes on. I can save my receipts and get a sizable tax deduction for excessive health expenses in that year also. If I’m doing well on money, it doesn’t hurt too bad financially, and if I have negative net worth with no house but credit cards or other dischargeable debt, it could actually make fine sense to do bankruptcy (which still lets you keep retirement account up to $1M).
…also realize that, in this example of a $100k major accident hospital bill, an insured person would still have a very sizable bill also. Just because they may pay $5k or more in annual insurance premiums, it’s not like that insurance pays 100%. Depending on their deductible, out-of-pocket max, and which hospital ER the ambulance took their unconscious or shock-fogged self to (in- or out-of-network, teir 1 or teir 2 or teir 3, etc), their patient pay responsibility could easily be $10k or $20k or more. WTF, you say? Well, it’s all in the fine print of their insurance contract. Yes, life’s not fair.
Health insurance is a fear game and a ridiculous money machine; it’s the biggest, most unnecessary middleman in America. While it generally made sense 10 or more years ago for young people to carry at least a basic catastrophe plan, those are now gone with the changes from Obama administration (unless you have very low income). It is now unfortunately financially wiser to go without health insurance for the majority of people under 50yrs. It was wiser even in the past few years when there was a penalty of up to $1400 for not having insurance, and it’s much wiser now that Trump repealed that penalty. When health insurance is likely most people’s biggest monthly cost outside of rent/mortgage, you need to understand the game (see lengthy comment I make below for more detail).
Sam – how much are you paying for things up to your 2k deductable limit? My understanding is that a lot of doctors/hospitals/dentists etc charge people without insurance more than they actually get paid by the big insurance firms. eg doctor bills $1000 for procedure X – the uninsured pay $1000, the insurance companies say “we’ll pay you $600 for that”. Does the low cost/higher-deductable plan get you the negotiated rates?
Thanks for the article – nice to hear these costs might not be quite as bad as widely believed.
Financial Samurai says
Universal healthcare aka Obamacare is rolling out as we speak. We just have to figure out an equitable way to pay for it and how to incentivize folks to eat healthy and exercise.
I went through this when I was laid off last year as well. Currently on COBRA, but found that the next best thing for me would have been to sign up for group coverage under my college alumni program. I could also get the same rates via either of the professional associations I’m a member of.
It wasn’t a huge discount, but it was cheaper than going direct to the insurers.
Financial Samurai says
Thanks for the heads up on group coverage under a college alumni program. Sounds like another good avenue.
I just plugged in a hypothetical case into eHealth Insurance. Only hypothetical because we do not need it right now, but we might in a few years. My wife is younger than me, and I am well over 65. So…..the health insurance answers that came up all said the same thing: they would not offer insurance to a spouse who was over 65. WOW! A little background….I do not qualify for medicare, as I have never worked in the USA. We both have dual CAN & US citizenship. Right now I am covered on my wife’s employer insurance, so we do not have a problem. We may have to return to Canada down the road, just for health insurance reasons. That would not be our first choice. Does anyone have any experience with this problem?
Financial Samurai says
Very interesting! Doesn’t it make sense since Medicare kicks in then anyway? And with Canadian citizenship, you are golden! Free healthcare for all, ole!
If you choose a high deductible plan, I think getting an HSA eligible plan is a no brainer. For the tax savings alone, it usually makes up for the small difference in premiums if there even is a difference. My daughter and I have the option of joining my husband’s group plan for $500 a month, but our HSA individual plan is only $190 a month. We pay if we go to the doctor, but by using HSA money, it’s like getting at least a 25% discount.
The First Million is the Hardest says
I was so thankful to have my HSA when I got laid off and went without insurance for a few months. Gave me some much needed piece of mind.
Financial Samurai says
True. Definitely a no brainer. I think a lot of folks don’t do the HSA b/c they are confused or simply can’t be bothered.
Although I did not become a teacher for the benefits, I do like the insurance. It even gets better in retirement. If I were uninsured, I would probably want protection for the big expenses and just deal with the occasional doctor visit and prescriptions. One way to reduce health insurance is taking a higher deductible unless you know you need an operation.
Financial Samurai says
Yep. $2,000 deductible for a $105/month plan is what I found online. So cheap and protects from disaster insurance. I didn’t take the plan, but in my research I’ve found so many options online that aren’t financially onerous at all.
Retired Syd says
I just wanted to point out that under COBRA, you have an 18-month safety net by law. If you live in California, CAL COBRA extends that to a total of 36 months (each state is different). This is usually not the cheapest coverage, but it is guaranteed, so it’s worth carrying until you find your own coverage. After that, HIPAA guarantees that you will be offered insurance (even with pre-exhisting conditions) as long as you never let your coverage lapse. You don’t get as many choices, (in California it is each insurer’s top 3 plans that must be offered) but at least you have a guarantee of coverage. Again, it’s guaranteed but not guaranteed to be reasonably priced. I found individual policies (with a high deductible) to be MUCH more cost-effective.
The key is never let your coverage lapse, otherwise HIPAA doesn’t apply and you may not be able to get coverage.
Financial Samurai says
Excellent point Syd and good for everyone to know. Coverage lapse is a scary thing when you’ve never not had it lapse before.
John S @ Frugal Rules says
62%?? That’s just crazy and it speaks volumes about the state…or lack thereof here in the States. Having health insurance was the last and major hurdle before we decided to take the plunge last year. Having three little ones, it was not an option to me to go without coverage. We have a good friend who is an insurance broker basically and he was able to get us into contact with someone who could help us out. We ended up getting a plan that was only $25 more per month that what we were paying for my portion at my previous employer. Not half bad when I was expecting much worse.
Financial Samurai says
It is crazy. I watched a 60 minute episode where a factory worker, retail worker, and ex model all went bankrupt and are sleeping in either their cars or a homeless shelter b/c of health issues they could not afford to treat. A travesty.
$25 more per month is nothing. That’s what eHealthInsurance does. They find the best rates of plans most suitable to one’s needs just like a broker.
The one time I didn’t have health insurance I got a super bad flu virus. I tried to just get better on my own but my fever wouldn’t break and I had to bite the bullet to go see a doctor and get antibiotics. It was expensive but I was too sick not to go.
I like ehealthinsurance because they have so many plans to choose from at all prices and they have support 24/7. A lot of self employed entrpreneurs use them to have emergency coverage which is usually just $100 or less a month. I have a friend who got hit by a car recently which goes to show we just don’t know when we could end up in the hospital and how even a little insurance can go a long way.
Financial Samurai says
Doesn’t that always happen? Murphy’s law! Yeah, $100 a month is NOTHING. I would think most people who make $30,000 a year or more can comfortably afford this premium. With Obamacare, I assume the system will take care of the millions who don’t have or can’t afford.
$105/month isn’t bad at all. I joined my wife’s employer sponsored plan. That was the easiest for me. It gets a lot more expensive as you age though.
Nunzio Bruno says
I was literally dealing with this issue this week! My health insurance had lapsed and I was looking for a new one. Being self-employed I have to find it on my own…being an adjunct professor has it’s perks, healthcare is not one of them. So I went to all the big boy type firms looking for some kind of self-employment group pool to try to jump into. I used the eHealthInsurance link and I have to say it honestly helped point me in the right direction. I am so glad that headache is over!! It would be so much easier if a college just picked me up for tenure track haha!!
Financial Samurai says
Great to hear eHealthInsurance pointed you in the right direction! I was concerned before I left my job about health insurance costs, but there are so many options that I think the worry is being blown out of proportion. Thank goodness for the internet.