Health Insurance Between Jobs

Article | July 2018

Health Insurance Between Jobs

Having health insurance between jobs can help protect you from potentially devastating health care bills. If you’ve lost a job or quit one, here are a few tips for making sure you and your family are covered while you’re out of work.

Do I need health insurance between jobs?

Having health coverage when you’re in between jobs can help protect you should you need care. If you need medical care, a health insurance plan can provide coverage for eligible services. That means once you meet your deductible, you and your plan share the costs for your care. And under most plans your preventive care is covered at 100%. Without health insurance, you may have to pay out-of-pocket for any care you receive.

Is there “lost job health insurance?”

While there’s no specific “lost job health insurance,” two main coverage options are available for you if you’re unemployed:

    1. A COBRA plan allows you to extend the health care plan from your previous employer for up to 18 months after you leave a job. The disadvantage to this is COBRA is expensive and you have to pay for it yourself.
    2. You can buy a plan yourself through the Health Insurance Marketplace. For up to 60 days after you lose coverage through your job, you qualify for the Special Enrollment Period. During this time you can buy and enroll in a new plan. When applying, you’ll also find out if you qualify for federal financial assistance, such as tax premium credits or cost sharing reductions.

Can I get health insurance after quitting a job?

Yes, you can still get health insurance if you quit your job. You can keep your job-based coverage for up to 18 months with a COBRA plan. Or you can buy an individual plan through the Health Insurance Marketplace.

If you have previously paid into a Health Savings Account (HSA), the funds are still available to you even if you’ve left your job. You can use this money to help pay for eligible medical expenses, which can also help to lower health care costs while out of work.

Having health insurance between jobs can help protect you from unexpected out-of-pocket expenses, especially if you were to have a medical emergency while out of work. Either a COBRA plan or an individual plan could be right for you.