Are you looking to change jobs? Are you looking to leave the full-time work world and work on a freelance basis? According to a study by Deloitte, 43% of Millennials are looking to change jobs within 2 years; and 62% are looking to work on a freelance basis.
For many, when you change jobs or decided to Freelance, the biggest concern is health insurance. So what are your options for health insurance between jobs? Read on to learn about your options and where to seek help.
Do I Have to Have Health Insurance?
The short answer is yes, for two reasons.
The first, your financial and physical health. If you get sick or are in an accident without coverage you could be hit with devastating medical bills. These could wipe you out financially for years. If you don’t have insurance, you may opt-out of necessary preventative care. While this may save money in the short term it may cost your health in the long term.
The second, the Affordable Care Act. The ACC has required that you maintain health insurance coverage or you will be charged a fee called the Individual Shared Responsibility Payment when you file your Federal Taxes. Most people refer to this as a fine or penalty.
Starting in 2019, the Shared Responsibility Payment no longer applies. Keep in mind, this fee was instituted then removed and may be instituted again. Keep an eye on this to ensure you are not penalized.
So How Do You Obtain Health Insurance Between Jobs?
You have options to fill the gap in your health insurance regardless of why you need it. When you are ready, our team takes the time to work with you to simplify Florida’s health care options. Below is a brief summer of all your options.
COBRA Your Insurance from Your Current Employer
COBRA or the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1996 allows you to buy your current health insurance coverage provided by your employer, soon to be a former employer.
This must be offered to you if you work for a company with more than 20 people. You have 60 days to decide if you are going to elect to have COBRA coverage.
This is a great way to ensure that you have coverage, however, it comes at a cost. While you were employed your employer paid part of your health insurance premium. When you COBRA your insurance, you are responsible for the entire premium costs plus a small penalty. This total cost is approximately 102% of the premium it’s self.
Join Your Spouses’ Plan
If you are married, you can join your spouses’ plan. Although you may have had better coverage when you were employed. After you leave your company, joining your spouses’ plan may be cheaper than using COBRA to cover your health insurance needs.
Buy Insurance from Your States’ Health Insurance Marketplace or Exchange
This is open to anyone seeking health insurance during the annual open enrollment period. However, when you have left your job, this is considered a “qualifying event”, and you can obtain health insurance through the state or federal Exchange.
The ACA created the Exchange where individuals can purchase the health insurance they need to remain compliant. Below explains the difference between purchasing through the Exchange or through a private insurer.
Note: there are 10 essential health benefits that are required to be covered under the ACA.
- Ambulatory Patient Services, this is outpatient care you get outside of hospital admittance.
- Emergency services.
- Cover for Hospitalization, e.g. surgeries, and overnight stays.
- Prenatal Care, Pregnancy, Delivery, and newborn care. Note: Newborn care covers the time period right after birth.
- Counseling and Psychotherapy, Substance Use, and other Mental Health and Behavioral Health Treatment.
- Prescription Drugs.
- Rehabilitative Services and Devices designed to help you return to normal after an illness or injury.
- Laboratory Services, blood draws for example.
- Preventive and Wellness Services including Chronic Disease Management.
- Pediatric Services, for children this includes oral and vision care. Oral and vision for adults would be a separate policy.
Buy Insurance from a Directly from a Private Insurer
The biggest difference between the Exchange and a Private Insurance Company is where you buy it. A private insurance company will enroll you through an agent or broker, primarily. The Exchange you apply through the healthcare website. There are other differences.
Cost is another difference, for those in lower-income brackets, health insurance through the Exchange is cheaper and in some cases free to due to government subsidies. It is expected that some of the subsidies will be removed with changes from the Trump Administration.
A final note, not all private insurance is ACA compliant. At this point, it may not be an issue you need to be concerned about. However, you should know this information before you sign up for the insurance.
If you are not sure if you should go through the Exchange or through a Private Insurance Company obtain quotes through both.
Purchase a Short-Term Health Plan
Think of this as a last resort. The coverage you get for Short-term Insurance is limited and they are often the most expensive option. These plans are 100% exempt from the ACA restrictions and rules. They are also the most expensive option for gap health insurance coverage.
This is an option for young people in relatively good health.
Do You Need Health Insurance Coverage?
If you are looking for health insurance between jobs or Short Term Health coverage? Regardless of your health insurance needs, we can help you find the right plan for you in Florida. Contact us when you are ready to discuss your insurance needs.