Of the many concerns that arise from losing your job, health insurance is one of the biggest. The American healthcare system is a competitive market that is often unaffordable even for those with full-time, salaried positions. Normally, you can only sign up for health insurance during the annual open enrollment period. However, certain life events, called “qualifying events”, enable you to apply for new insurance whenever they occur. The loss of employment might complicate your search for new healthcare coverage, so here are three options to take advantage of.
Health Insurance Exchange
Utilize the official health insurance marketplace to search for plans and apply for coverage in your state. This is the official database of health insurance providers in the United States, so you know you can trust the companies and plans that are being offered. If you are eligible, the marketplace will also submit your information to your state’s Medicare and Medicaid offices to help you acquire free coverage.
Try to Reduce Your Costs
Lowering your living expenses is essential during unemployment. Prioritization is key; focus on the non-negotiables like rent and insurance, then work your way down. You might decide to downgrade your Hulu subscription or cancel an Amazon Prime account to save some extra money each month. If you’re able to move somewhere less expensive, the savings can do wonders, but start small and focus on what’s most practical rather than making impulsive, expensive changes.
When it comes to health insurance policies, there are a few options. Raising your deductible can benefit you in some situations; those who are in good health and only go to the doctor for annual physicals can have a higher deductible and save on premiums. Lowering your health insurance limits can also be a good way to make coverage more affordable until you have a steady income again.
Look for Low-Cost Alternatives
Although health insurance is something you should strive to acquire, there are still ways to get healthcare when you’re uninsured. On-demand doctors can help you get quality care from licensed physicians by paying for a subscription. There are also urgent care centers that allow you to pay out of pocket when you’re uninsured. You can also research free or income-based health clinics near you. There are many doctor’s offices that offer a sliding payment scale for individuals based on their income.
Although losing your job and health insurance at the same time can feel like the end of the world, things will get better. Focus on the options available to you right now, and remember that your mental health is just as important as your physical well-being during this stressful time.
Read more tips on health insurance in this article: 3 Ways to Tell You Are Getting Good Health Insurance