You’ve Unexpectedly Lost Health Insurance: Now What?
The year 2020, although we’re only nine months in, has been consistently inconsistent. Nearly every aspect of our daily lives has changed. And for many of us, it seems the effects—including lost health insurance—will be long lasting.
The economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has weighed heavily on older Americans. There are currently 5 million unemployed people aged 55 to 70. And now, six months into the pandemic, many have given up on finding work again.
So, since March 2020, 7% of Americans aged 55 to 70 have decided to voluntarily exit the workforce. And, while retiring early may sound nice, in reality going outside your original retirement plan is challenging.
For others, the challenge lies in losing a loved one. In the United States, at least 150,000 citizens aged 55 and older have succumbed to COVID-19. This accounts for nearly 92% of the pandemic-related deaths in the country. Spouses of these victims are facing insurmountable challenges, including how they’ll replace the health insurance once provided by their partner.
A lot has changed in 2020. If you’ve unexpectedly lost health insurance, now’s the time to consider your options.
What do you need to replace lost health insurance?
Of course, no two situations are the same. That means your healthcare plan needs to be uniquely tailored to meet your requirements as an individual (or couple).
For example, if you’re still working and have coverage through your employer, you may only need supplemental insurance. So if you just need to make up for the loss of spousal coverage, double-check to make sure you’re only looking at supplemental coverage options. And if you’re under 65, determine what you’ll need just until you’re 65 and eligible for Medicare.
When choosing a Medicare plan, factor in how often you go to the doctor, what specialists you need to see (including the dentist!) and how many prescription drugs you’re using. These elements of your care plan should weigh heavily on your health insurance decision.
And what about your providers? If you have a close relationship with any of your physicians or nurses, select a plan they participate in so you ensure your continuity of care with them. Making sure your existing providers are in-network will save a lot of money and hassle in the long run!
When deciding on a health insurance plan, also take into account the coverage you’ve had throughout the years—what you liked and didn’t like about your previous plans and what aspects of health insurance are important to you.
What’s your budget?
As with most decisions in life, budget is an important issue. You may have had a change in income recently. If so, how will your monthly cash flow impact your health insurance budget?
When you pick a plan, you’ll commit to a monthly premium, copays and deductibles. Think long and hard about what you can reasonably afford without spreading yourself too thin. Come up with a cost range you’re comfortable with and narrow plans accordingly. Don’t worry, there are healthcare plans available for every budget.
If you’ve had a recent change in circumstance, you may qualify for financial assistance through the state or federal government. COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act) allows you to keep your previous coverage for up to 18 months after leaving a place of employment, but this is usually not cost-effective.
Should you get help?
There are so many options and elements to assess when choosing a health insurance plan. The abundance of choices can be overwhelming and are best faced with the assistance of a health insurance professional. They can help you answer these questions.
If you need to pick a new healthcare plan and don’t know where to start, consult with an insurance professional at My Senior Health Plan today. Their experienced staff has the expertise to match you with a quality, affordable health insurance plan you’ll love.
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