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Health insurance companies can’t cancel your plan without providing you a clearly outlined and justified reason.
An insurer may cancel your plan if:
They found that you included false or incomplete information on your insurance application,
You fell behind on your premium payments,
Your plan does not meet the requirements of the Affordable Care Act.
If your employer does cancel your insurance plan, don’t fret. You do have options.
Marketplace Plan – If you leave your job outside of the open enrollment period, you are still allowed to buy insurance through the Marketplace. You’ll have up to 60 days to enroll from the day you lost coverage. This is called a Special Enrollment Period. Keep in mind you may also be able to qualify for tax credits for lower premiums and out-of-pocket costs based on your household size and income. All marketplace plans meet the minimum essential coverage.
To begin or finish an application, compare plans, enroll or ask a question call 1-800-318-2596. You may also visit www.healthcare.gov for more information.
COBRA – COBRA or the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act protects employees who lose coverage due to qualifying events. COBRA itself is not an insurance plan. It is a law that requires employers to offer continued group health care coverage for up to 18-36 months. If you decide COBRA is the best option for you, you must act promptly because COBRA does not allow enrollment after 60 days from your initial loss of coverage.
Qualifying events that allow you to enroll in COBRA include
Leaving your job voluntarily, including retirement,
If your work hours are reduced so you are no longer eligible for health benefits under your employer’s policy,
If you leave your job involuntarily for any reason, other than gross misconduct.
If you would like to continue your coverage through COBRA, you’ll have to continue paying your monthly premiums as well as a small administrative fee.
For more information about COBRA, visit the US Department of Labor or click here.
Insurance Brokers – You also have the option to go outside of COBRA and the Marketplace by using an insurance broker. It is important to note that not all plans available to you outside of Marketplace meet the minimum requirements for essential coverage. This means you may have to pay the same fee those without coverage have to pay. Insurance plans are required to tell you whether they provide the minimum essential coverage.
Quick Tip: If your employer has a “hard enrollment” period, employees must sign up for coverage during that time. Many organizations have a “soft enrollment” period where employees have their coverage renewed and don’t have to take any action. Ask the Human Resources department at your workplace for more information if you are unsure.
Not only is it important to enroll in a plan that meets the minimum essential coverage requirements for insurance purposes, if you do not enroll in a plan you may be subject to a tax penalty, not to mention the full amount of any health care costs you incur.
Enrolling in a plan is good for your health and good for your wallet!