Finding_Health_Insurance_After_Job_Loss_FamiliesUSA_Feb.2012

Finding_Health_Insurance_After_Job_Loss_FamiliesUSA_Feb.2012...

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Your Options: 1. Find out if you can get coverage through your spouse’s, domestic partner’s, or parent’s employer. 2. Find out if you can continue your coverage through COBRA. 3. Find out if your state has any laws or programs that could help you. 4. Find out if you are protected under another federal law called HIPAA (the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act). 5. Find out if you are eligible for the Health Coverage Tax Credit that comes with Trade Adjustment Assistance or PBGC. 6. Find out if you or any of your family members are eligible for Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), any other state or local program, or VA coverage. 7. If you can’t afford COBRA and you can’t get help through a public program or any of the options listed above, shop for insurance in the individual market—but do so with CAUTION. Families USA • Updated February 2012 Getting Covered: Finding Health Insurance When You Lose Your Job Did you recently lose a job that provided health insurance? You may have more options than you think (see the list below). You may be able to join your spouse’s plan, for example, or you may be able to maintain coverage under federal laws with confusing names like COBRA, HIPAA, and TAARA. Public programs, especially Medicaid and CHIP, may be the answer if your income is low. The information below will help you sort through these confusing options. In general, we advise you to start with Option 1. If that won’t work for you, explore the other options. You might find, for example, that your income is now low enough that you and/or your dependents qualify for Medicaid or CHIP (see Option 6). If you have questions or need more information, we list sources of additional information, both in the text and at the end of this document. A temporary law, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, helped laid-off workers pay for COBRA coverage or similar continued health benefits for a few years. That law provided premium assistance to people who lost jobs between September 1, 2008, and May 31, 2010. Unfortunately, the program has now ended. In 2014, when the Affordable Care Act (the health care law) is fully implemented, you will have more options for maintaining affordable coverage if you lose your job. This guide discusses the options you have now. We encourage you to tell us your health care story online at http://www.familiesusa.org/tell-us- your-story.html . We also encourage you to communicate with your elected officials about any problems you face in maintaining coverage
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2 Getting Covered: Finding Health Insurance When You Lose Your Job Who Can’t Get COBRA? The federal COBRA requirement does not apply if your former employer had fewer than 20 employees. (But see page 5 for information on state laws that do cover these smaller businesses.) If your employer went out of business completely and no longer offers a plan, the right to stay in your former employer’s plan probably does not apply to you. In addition, church-based plans do not have to provide COBRA. And you
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