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3 Benefit Options After Losing Your Job

Posted on May 22, 2018 in Insurance

Health insurance after losing my job

Losing your job is stressful, but understanding your benefits and what’s available to you can help alleviate some of that stress. Learn what happens to your health insurance after losing your job and what your options are:

What happens to my health insurance if I lose my job?

If you lose your job for any reason, your benefits should continue through the end of that month. While it is still active, you should take advantage of your health and dental benefits. Once the month is over, you will lose coverage.

What are my options after coverage has expired?

Once your dental and health insurance is expired through your employer, you have a few primary options to avoid a lapse in coverage:

Option 1: Buy insurance 
Either through a health insurance carrier or the federal health insurance program, you can purchase coverage for yourself and your family. Whether you quit, were laid off or fired, you qualify for the Special Enrollment Period, or the period outside the normal enrollment period.
You can get dental insurance through the Marketplace if you choose a plan that includes health and dental, or through a stand-alone dental plan.

Option 2: Sign up for COBRA coverage
COBRA is a federal program that allows you to continue your employer plan coverage for health and dental benefits after your employment ends. You will be responsible for the entire premium. Be sure to discuss your COBRA options with your employer so you understand your options completely. 

Option 3: Get on your spouse’s plan
If your spouse works for a company that offers health insurance, or if they have their own insurance plan, they can add you. A spouse’s job loss is a qualifying life event, so you won’t have to wait until open enrollment to get added.  

Coverage for children
A human resource tip from Heather Brevik, Human Resource Partner at Delta Dental: “Don’t forget about available programs for your kids such as the Children's Health Insurance Program, or in Iowa hawk-i, that provides coverage for children, and in some states pregnant women, if your income is too high for Medicaid and you can’t afford private insurance. Routine "well child" doctor and dental visits are free under CHIP, but there are copayments for some services and some states have a monthly premium. Every state is different, but the maximum premium is 5% of your annual family income.”

It’s always best to consult your human resource department with any questions you have regarding your coverage options, and how long your coverage will continue after your employment has ended. It can be slightly confusing at the start, but it’s important to know that once your employment ends you still have options to continue both your health and dental insurance coverage.

For more information on individual dental plans, click here

*Updated November 2020