Finding Affordable Health Insurance After a Job Loss

As health insurance specialists, we receive calls from many people who have lost their medical benefits after the loss of a job. Sometimes, it’s hard to find affordable medical insurance when the income is reduced, but it’s especially hard to find low-cost insurance when the person has pre-existing medical conditions. That’s because, at times, the premium could be increased for that individual.

With many challenges facing a good number of people, I’m finding a greater appreciation for the variety of affordable insurance plans that are available. There’s no cookie-cutter method that is a one-size-fits-all solution for everyone, but often, there is a way that is right. The answer may not be a perfect permanent solution, but it’s the best value for the time being. Usually, we can switch to another plan, when your situation changes. Cheap insurance doesn’t mean you’re taking on an inferior plan; it just means our focus for now is finding a cost-effective option.

Below are some common scenarios of people’s health insurance needs and some cheap insurance options that work for a good number of people. Perhaps, you will find yourself in one of these examples. I am hopeful that like them, you’ll either find an affordable medical insurance plan from what we have to offer, or at least, it’ll trigger another idea for obtaining cheap insurance that would work best for you.

Scenario: An Individual Lost Insurance and Needs Cheap Insurance
This is the most frequent scenario I encounter. When people who are in this boat call our office for assistance, I first ask what medical services they tend to need most. Also, I ask what budget range they would like me to work with. I first narrow my search for affordable health insurance plans based on the premium. There are many affordable Kaiser plans to choose from. Typically, the lower the premium, the higher the deductible, so you would want to weigh the two and make choices based on what you value most, or need most: affordable monthly premiums, or low medical service costs.

For people who are in relatively good health, the best solution for affordable health insurance could be to consider a deductible plan. Some of the popular choices for cheap health insurance are the $40/3000 HMO Deductible Plan and the $40/4000 HSA Deductible Plan. The $40/4000 HSA Plan is lower-priced, but if you tend to visit the doctor’s office or get prescriptions often, the $40/3000 HMO Deductible Plan could save you money in the long run, because under most HMO Deductible Plans, the deductible does not apply to the office visits or prescriptions, so you will save on these benefits at the onset. To keep an affordable insurance plan, weigh your out-of-pocket costs for medical services against the premium cost. To help you make an informed decision, we can also send you a Sample Fees List, which is a representative sampling of the out-of-pocket costs for some of the most frequently needed services.

If you are in a similar situation and you were to call me for assistance in finding an affordable insurance plan, I would probably interview you in the same way. Together, we would assess your service and budget needs. So as you shop for affordable health insurance, go in with two basic questions already in mind: “Generally, what kind of services do I need most, or am I most concerned with?” and “How much am I comfortable spending for these services?”

Scenario: A Family Lost Insurance and Needs Affordable Health Insurance
In addition to the recommendation above of considering a high deductible plan, I might also suggest enrolling each family member on the plan that best suits their individualized needs. In this way, you’re not paying for an expensive comprehensive plan for everyone, if only one family member needs the rich benefits. Often, one or both of the parents usually end up going on a cheap health plan with a high deductible, and the children enroll for a plan with a lower, more manageable deductible.

Scenario: Individual or Family Lost Insurance and There are Pre-Existing Conditions
The Health Reform mandate prohibits denials for health insurance due to medical reasons. The law is not yet implemented on private health insurance plans for all ages. Presently, only children under 19 are subject to the new law. In 2014, private medical plans for all age bands will be protected from denials. Until then, applications for people age 19 and over who have pre-existing medical conditions could be approved, non-approved, or approved with a surcharged premium. There is an alternative to private insurance.

If you are denied health insurance due to medical reasons, and you are a business owner, I would invite you to consider one of Kaiser Permanente’s Group plans. In many states, the Kaiser Group Plans are not subject to a rate-up for health issues. Business plans tend to be more expensive, but in the end, it is better to have insurance than none at all, because not having insurance could be the most costly of all options.


Comment from Darla
Time: October 1, 2011, 12:22 am

I was on a job for 22 years 6months, and lost my job. I have epilepsy. Kaiser told me today since I haven’t had insurance for 60 days I would be denied for coverage due to pre-exising conditions. I take 3 medications, without which I will have seizures when I am out of medications. I tried to re-order medications approximately on the 9th of this month. Due to me calling, I found out that I don’t have coverage, no call services or anything. I updated my current info which was not put into the computer when ordering medications. Are people just suppose to die? I was a member for at least 21 years with this condition, so they know I’m not just trying to stick Kaiser with the medical bill. I just wanna live.

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