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When You Leave Your Job, What Happens to Your Health Insurance?


Mar 8, 2023

Leaving your job can be an exciting and stressful experience. One of the biggest concerns people have when changing jobs is what will happen to their health insurance. Whether you are voluntarily or involuntarily leaving your job, it’s important to understand how the process works and what you need to do to ensure you have continued coverage. In this blog post, we will look at what happens to your health insurance when you leave your job.

If You Have a Private Health Plan
When you leave your job, the coverage you had under a private health plan is no longer available to you. However, there are a few options available to you if you want to continue having health insurance.
The first option is to keep your current private health plan. You may be able to continue coverage under your current plan as long as you pay the full premium yourself. This will depend on the plan, however, so it’s best to check with your insurer before leaving your job.
Another option is to purchase an individual health insurance policy from a private health insurance provider. These policies typically have higher premiums than employer-sponsored plans, but they also usually offer more coverage options and benefits. Additionally, many providers offer discounts for certain groups, such as students or people who have recently left their jobs.
Finally, some employers offer health plans that allow you to keep your coverage even after you leave your job. These plans are sometimes referred to as “tail” plans and allow you to continue to receive the same benefits as if you were still employed. You will be responsible for the full cost of the premiums, however, so be sure to check with your former employer before leaving your job to determine if this option is available.

If You Have an Employer-Sponsored Health Plan
When you leave your job, the employer-sponsored health plan that you have through your job will no longer be available to you. Depending on the terms of your employer’s plan, you may have the option of continuing coverage under COBRA, or Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act.
COBRA allows you to maintain the same coverage for up to 18 months after you leave your job. During this period, you can continue to receive the same coverage as if you were still employed. However, you will be responsible for the full cost of the premiums yourself. This includes both the portion that was formerly covered by your employer and any additional cost associated with your coverage.
If you do not choose to stay on COBRA, then you can purchase an individual plan from a private insurer. The Affordable Care Act requires all insurers to offer individual plans and makes it illegal for insurers to deny coverage to individuals due to pre-existing conditions. You can also take advantage of the Health Insurance Marketplace if you qualify. The Marketplace offers subsidies to those with limited incomes, making health insurance more affordable.

If You Have COBRA Coverage
If you are leaving your job, you may be eligible for continued health coverage through the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA). COBRA is a federal law that provides employees and their families with the right to continue group health insurance coverage at group rates after a qualifying event, such as leaving employment.
Eligible individuals must pay for the entire premium of the health plan coverage, which is usually more expensive than what you paid while you were employed since your employer may have covered part of the cost. To remain eligible for COBRA coverage, you must make timely premium payments.
Under COBRA, employers must offer coverage for up to 18 months. Coverage may also be extended beyond 18 months in certain circumstances such as disability or divorce.
If you have questions about your COBRA coverage, contact your former employer or contact the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) for assistance.

If You Have Medicaid or CHIP Coverage
Leaving your job may impact your Medicaid or CHIP coverage, depending on whether you are eligible for either program and where you live. If you are already enrolled in Medicaid or CHIP, you should contact your state’s Medicaid agency to determine if there will be any changes to your coverage. Generally speaking, Medicaid and CHIP coverage is based on income and family size, so if your income changes after leaving your job, your eligibility could change as well.
For those who are not currently enrolled in Medicaid or CHIP but who meet the eligibility requirements, you may now be eligible after leaving your job. Many states have programs that allow individuals to apply for Medicaid and CHIP without having an employer-sponsored plan. Contact your state’s Medicaid agency to find out what options are available to you.
If you qualify for Medicaid or CHIP and move to a different state, you may also be eligible to transfer your coverage. Check with the Medicaid agency in your new state to see what options are available.

If You Have Medicare Coverage
If you are a Medicare beneficiary, leaving your job does not affect your eligibility for coverage. Your Medicare coverage is managed by the federal government, so it will remain in effect regardless of your employment status.
Medicare Part A covers inpatient hospital care, skilled nursing facility care, home health services and hospice care. Medicare Part B covers medical services, such as doctor’s visits and lab tests, as well as some preventive services. Medicare Part D covers prescription drugs.
You may also have a supplemental insurance plan to cover costs that Medicare does not. If you had an employer-sponsored Medicare supplement plan, that coverage may end when you leave your job. However, you can still purchase a supplement plan on the private market if you need one.
If you are eligible for Medicare due to a disability or End-Stage Renal Disease, you can enroll in the program at any time, regardless of your employment status. You should contact the Social Security Administration to find out more about your eligibility and how to enroll.

If You Have TRICARE Coverage
If you are a military service member or a family member of a service member and you have TRICARE coverage, you will generally be able to keep your coverage if you leave your job. TRICARE covers active duty service members and their families, as well as retired service members and their families. Generally speaking, if you leave your job, your TRICARE coverage should remain the same.
When a service member leaves active duty, they may be eligible for TRICARE Reserve Select. This is a health care plan that provides comprehensive medical coverage to members of the Selected Reserve, their families, and survivors. In addition, if you leave your job, you may be eligible to join the Transitional Assistance Management Program (TAMP). This program offers temporary medical coverage for up to 180 days to certain eligible individuals.
If you are an employer-sponsored retiree and you have TRICARE coverage, it may continue even if you leave your job. Generally speaking, retirees who have met the minimum age and service requirements will maintain their TRICARE coverage for life.
When you leave your job, it is important to check with your former employer and the Defense Health Agency (DHA) to ensure that your TRICARE coverage remains in effect. If you have any questions about your TRICARE coverage, it is best to contact the DHA directly.

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