3 health care resources for those who have been laid off
Being laid off from work causes an immense amount of stress. An income stream dries up, leaving you scrambling to figure out how to make monthly payments and support yourself financially. If you have employer-sponsored health insurance, job loss also leads to losing health care coverage. In most cases, health benefits end on your last day of work, or within the month.
If you’ve just experienced a layoff, it’s important to keep in mind that you have options for healthcare. However, not everyone knows where to go to get help, or what type of health insurance coverage is the right choice. To help people through this stressful time, we’ve put together a list of a few insurance resources that you can use to browse coverage options. You should also use cost-effective direct care platforms – like Sesame – to get health care right away at a fraction of the cost you’ll pay through an insurance network. We’ll dive into the pros and cons of each option so you can make the most informed decision possible.
- Average cost: $599/ month
The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, or COBRA, is a type of health coverage that allows you to stay on your employer’s plan for 18-36 months after losing health benefits. COBRA coverage is only available for those who have health insurance sponsored by their former employer. More specifically, it is only available to individuals who received health insurance from an employer with 20 or more employees.
The upside to COBRA eligibility is that you get to stay on the health plan that you were previously enrolled in. The coverage lasts for well over a year and gives you time to find a new job and new plan while you are still protected.
However, COBRA premiums are considerably more expensive than the premiums under an employer-sponsored plan. The uptick in cost may be more than some people are able to pay, especially if they have lost their source of income. You also need to be considered a beneficiary of a qualified life event, like losing your job or having your hours reduced. To make it even more tricky, if the employer you worked for went out of business, you are likely ineligible for a COBRA plan.
- Average cost: $462/ month
The Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare, established a health insurance marketplace available through Healthcare.gov, that allows individuals to browse and select a new health insurance option based on location and the type of coverage needed.
When you enroll in a Marketplace plan, the federal government subsidizes a portion of your full premium cost by offering a tax credit. The amount of this subsidy is determined by your income. The lower your household income, the greater the tax credit you receive. Although there is an open enrollment period for Marketplace plans on Healthcare.gov, you are usually eligible for a special enrollment period if you have been laid off.
The downside to an ACA Marketplace plan is that in certain areas, your network may be limited. Based on the insurance company, and your location, you may have to choose between a high-cost plan with more availability or a more affordable option with a smaller network.
- $6.99/month for Sesame Plus
- One-time primary care telehealth appointment: $41
Direct-to-patient care platforms, like Sesame, offer low-cost health care services to patients with no health insurance plan needed. It is important to note that direct care (also known as cash-pay care) is not a health insurance plan. It works like any other fee-for-service. You pay an upfront cost and receive the type of care you need. No premiums or copays are involved. In some ways, it’s a lot like getting a haircut. You find the barber you want to see, get the type of cut you want, and pay once for the service. On Sesame, you can browse the list of available care types, book a visit with the doctor you want to see (in-person and video visits are available) and pay for your doctor’s appointment upfront.
Sesame offers a range of health care services, from mental health to primary and dental care – just to name a few. Plus, unlike most insurance plans, you get to choose from several providers in your area and book a visit with the one that you want to see. Plus, direct-to-patient care is often more affordable than health insurance coverage. You can save up to 60% on care when you book an appointment through Sesame. Direct care is a great option for those who want care right away and don’t want to deal with open enrollment deadlines or monthly premiums.
Job loss is unquestionably stressful. Reduce the anxiety caused by a layoff by keeping in mind that you have options. Check out all of the resources above to determine the best path forward for you. If you are still struggling to figure out a health plan for you and your family members, reach out to the Health Consumer Alliance Hotline to get free assistance with finding coverage.
Call the HCA hotline at (888)-804-3536.