Job Loss and Your Health Insurance Needs

Losing your job is a traumatic thing.

Your life is turned upside down, and the unexpected all of a sudden is reality.

Though the rate of unemployment and people being let go is getting better than a few years ago during the recession, it’s still something that isn’t so unusual anymore.

You wonder where your next paycheck will come from, but you also wonder what to do about health insurance. You and your family can’t go without health insurance; you never know what may happen.

According to the article Lost your job? make sure you keep your health plan intact, there are options out there for you.

But how do you do that? Here are a few ways you can:

Severance package

Often your company will offer you some sort of severance package if they have let you go without reasons of misconduct. This will probably have a few weeks (or months if you’re lucky) of salary and continued health insurance. If you don’t think what they’ve offered you is fair, don’t be afraid to ask for more. A little continued health insurance may be enough to get you to the next job (and save you a lot of paperwork and stress finding interim health care). It’s a good idea to make all of those doctor and dentist appointments now before your healthcare runs out for you and your family. Plus you won’t want to wait to have to take time off with your new job for appointments.

Also, if you have a flex spending account, use it. Ask your doctor to go ahead and get prescription refills or get to the eye doctor for new glasses or stock up on contacts. FSA’s usually don’t transfer so you could lose the money there if you don’t use it.


COBRA is a good option for being between jobs if your company left you in the lurch, or it’s just taking a while to find a new job and your severance has run out.

COBRA provides coverage, but it comes at a pretty penny. It also usually expires after 18 months, and there’s a gap period before it kicks in which makes getting payment to your doctors or other medical needs a hassle.

But again, it’s better than nothing from now until you start a new job.

Spouse’s insurance

If you have a working a spouse, hop on his or her insurance.

Often you can do without the open enrollment period if the reason is due to losing a job, but other plans require you to wait until open enrollment. Either way, don’t hesitate. Go ahead and figure this out.

Don’t go without

One way or another, try to come up with some sort of health insurance plan, even if it’s minimal. If something traumatic happens to you or a dependent, you may never recover, and not from the health condition, but from the financial one.

Losing a job is tough.

It’s probably on the list of everyone’s worst nightmare. But you’ll get through it.

Be proactive and get the things taken care of right away that you need to, like healthcare options.

That’s just as important as updating your resume right now.

About the Author: Heather Legg is an independent writer who covers topics on social media, health issues and small business.


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