If you lost a job and worry about health insurance because COBRA is too expensive, and it can be, there’s an alternative.
Insurance through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) may work for you. A majority of the 8 million who enrolled in health insurance plans through Obamacare receive a subsidy to help offset the cost, and you may be eligible for a subsidy too.
The Obama Administration is making a big push to get the word out to people who might turn to COBRA. Health officials want you to know, it’s possible to get insurance through the federal or state health insurance marketplaces. You can find that information easily on Healthcare.gov.
Assistant Secretary of Labor for Employee Benefits Security Phyllis C. Borzi said, “In many cases, workers eligible for COBRA continuation coverage can save significant sums of money by instead purchasing health insurance through the Marketplace.”
The Department of Health and Human Services proposed changes to notices that employees receive about COBRA when they lose a job. HHS wants employers to include information about health insurance under the Affordable Care Act and the possibilities for financial subsidies.
Even though you are outside of the open enrollment period, you can sign up through Healthcare.gov now.
APPLYING OUTSIDE OF THE OPEN ENROLLMENT PERIOD
You can only apply outside of the open enrollment period under these circumstances:
1. You’re getting married.
2. You’re adopting a child or a child is placed in your home.
3. You’re moving to a new area that offers different health plan choices.
4. You’re losing your healthcare coverage after a divorce, because you’ve lost your job, your COBRA is expiring, or you no longer qualify for Medicaid.
NEXT OPEN ENROLLMENT PERIOD
The next open enrollment period for Obamacare begins November 15, 2014 and ends February 15, 2015.
If you sign up in November your health insurance can begin as early as January 1, 2015. But you must make your first month’s payment before the health insurance kicks in.