YOU ASK:

How long do you get health insurance after getting fired?

WE ANSWER:

If you have employer-sponsored health insurance, you can still maintain the coverage you have prior to getting fired. You can do this through COBRA.

The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act allows health insurance coverage to continue even after you are involuntarily terminated or if your working hours are reduced. Mind you, this will not be applicable if you are fired due to gross misconduct. Also, COBRA is only applicable to employers who have at least 20 employees.

With COBRA, you get to keep the exact coverage or group health plan that you had during your employment. In order for you to continue your COBRA coverage, you should notify COBRA that you have opted to continue the insurance not later than 60 days after your termination.

Make sure that your former employer send in the election form. Also, you should continue to pay the premiums, including the premiums that your employer used to pay, as well as the administration fee.  The first premium payment should be made retro-active to the last day you are employed and covered with your employer-sponsored health insurance.

The advantage of keeping your employer-sponsored insurance is that it usually provides you with benefits that are commonly excluded in an individual plan. This includes maternity benefits and other preventive services. Of course, this also depends on the kind of coverage your employer provided. However, the disadvantage of keeping your COBRA insurance is that it will be kind of expensive for you to maintain this because you will also pay what your employer used to pay, plus the administrative fee. This may be hard to do, particularly considering the fact that you have been fired.

Now, if you opt to find other alternatives to health insurance instead of COBRA, you can consider buying health insurance from the individual market, or else look into the possibility of coverage given by your employee union. You can also consider whether your state can provide you with coverage. This depends on whether your state provides continuation coverage.

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