Health insurance is a necessity for all Americans. Many working-age individuals get their health coverage through group health insurance plans through their employer. Usually, these plans cover the employee, and family members can be added to them.
But the career situation can change. Layoffs and downsizing can happen in any economic environment. And since the COVID-19 pandemic, Millions of Americans They find themselves looking for a new job each month, because their employer has reduced their hours or shut them down altogether.
The idea that your family could lose health insurance for several months can be terrifying, especially for families who rely on frequent Medicare and expensive prescriptions. This is when gap health insurance plans become valuable.
Gap health insurance exists to provide coverage for people who are in-between jobs, or between policies. You may also be interested in “COBRA” Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act.
This article is an unbiased look at Gap’s health insurance options Short term health insurancerisks of a gap in health insurance coverage. (Don’t confuse this with “high-level deductible health insurance policy gap coverage,” that’s a different type of insurance.)
Learn about Gap health insurance coverage
This unbiased post will cover:
Why is health insurance so important to Americans?
according to American Hospital Association (AHA), nearly 90% of the US population has health insurance today. These numbers have been improving over the past five years.
Per the AHA, having health insurance has many benefits, such as:
- Improving access to quality medical care
- Better outcomes for insured individuals
- Tendency to seek more frequent health care during times of need
- Tendency to benefit from preventive care such as vaccinations
- Reducing financial pressures on individuals, families and communities
We’ll start with this last point. The financial stress of sudden medical costs can be for uninsured people detonator. That’s because medical care providers (doctors, hospitals, etc.) have separate price lists for insured and uninsured individuals.
Compare the costs of the insured and the uninsured after emergency medical care
Let’s imagine that you and your best friend were laid off from the same factory. You both broke his ankle while water skiing, same day. You have gap health insurance, but your friend doesn’t.
We’ll imagine you have identical injuries and head to the same emergency room for care.
It will require both of you:
- Triage, when hospital staff decide whose injuries are most severe or life-threatening
- Papers and interviews about injuries
- X ray
- See a doctor who recommends surgery based on your X-rays
- Surgery in the operating room (OR)
- Medications and prescriptions to fill
- Medical devices, such as crutches and supportive shoes
With the ER visit over, the doctor suggests that you both get some physical therapy (PT.)
Health care providers charge higher rates for the uninsured
After a few weeks have passed, your medical bills start arriving in the mail. Now, every insurance company and every Medicare provider has different rate plans.
Uninsured people pay higher rates for the same services. Furthermore, “preferred providers” have a contract with an insurance company to offer costs that are much lower than those paid by uninsured individuals, or even those with lesser-known insurance plans.
Check the table below to get an idea of how this might happen in real life. (We based these prices on national averages for health care costs, and average insurance payments nationwide.)
|service||The insurer pays the cost / “preferred provider”||cost your friend|
|toast||$25 / $25||$100 dollars|
|X ray||$200 / $200||$1,800|
|surgery||$1000 / $1200||$5,000|
|Anesthesia||$50 / $100||$800|
|Prescriptions||$25 for $100 each||$300 each|
|Medical devices||$25 / $100||$600|
|totals||$1325 / $1625 USD||$8,600|
In the end, your friend pays $8,600 for the broken ankle. Meanwhile, you pay $1,325, and the insurance company pays $1,625, for a total of $2,950. All for the same hospital for identical services!
The same applies to ongoing physical therapy. You might pay a small deductible of $25 to $60, while your friend pays $200 per visit for the same transaction.
Medicare in the United States is very expensive, which is why Americans need insurance. Politics aside, this is one of the many reasons why President Obama signed on Affordable Care Act (ACA, or “Obamacare”) in 2010. It was an effort to make health insurance more affordable and more transparent to consumers.
Now, if you’re the breadwinner in your family who was recently laid off, or if you already understand the cost implications of health insurance because you have a medical condition that needs regular treatment, you might know all of this. Which is why you should be interested in purchasing gap health insurance, or COBRA.
What is Cobra?
According to the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), COBRA aims to give “workers and their families who have lost their health benefits the right to choose to continue group health benefits provided by their group health plan for limited periods of time under certain circumstances such as voluntary or involuntary job loss, or limitation of Of which [of] working hours, job transitions, death, divorce, and other life events.”
You can get COBRA coverage if your employer sponsored group health plans for 20 or more employees in the previous year. But if you work for a smaller company with just a few employees, Cobra isn’t an option.
Also, you must have quit or been fired, but not for serious misconduct (such as sexual harassment), or your hours have been reduced to the point that you are no longer eligible for health insurance through your employer.
Moreover, Cobras can be very expensive. This is because your employer may have been paying high premiums for group health insurance, and COBRA will extend the same coverage.
This problem is common because employers write off their spending on sponsored plans. If a major corporation is looking to mitigate income taxes and retain top talent, a premium, but expensive, group plan is a worthwhile investment.
Whether you’ve found COBRA costs too high, or you don’t qualify because you worked for a small company, gap health insurance is a good option.
Situations that may lead one to shop for Gap health insurance policies
Finding out that you don’t qualify for COBRA, or that you can’t afford it, are the most common reasons people buy gap health insurance plans. You may not think that this can happen to you, but let’s explain how it happens through the story.
The story of Eddie and Ella
Imagine a mature couple, Eddie and Ella.
Eddie is 67 years old and still works out every single day. He’s almost ready to retire from Lockheed Martin, where he served 40 years as an aerospace expert. LM provides premium health insurance coverage, and has the best insurance out there, the Platinum Plan. Eddie chose this plan because they are older, and his wife has many health issues, including diabetes. She needs regular care and expensive prescriptions.
Ella just turned 64, and has been a dedicated homemaker for the past 50 years. Within nine months, you will qualify for it Medicare Registration, but now she needs her husband’s platinum plan. It’s the only way she can afford insulin and other medications.
Unfortunately, Eddie died of a heart attack. Ella qualifies for COBRA but finds out it will cost $2,000 a month. Ella is unsure of how her finances will fare over the next few months. As a widow, she can begin receiving Social Security retirement payments from Eddie, and has significant savings. But $2,000 is a huge bill to pay for the next nine months, she’ll end up paying $18,000 for health insurance!
Ella decides to shop online for gap health insurance.
Let’s explore that process.
How to shop for Gap health insurance plans online or in person
As a consumer, you should do some homework before shopping for gap health insurance policies. Here is a list of useful points to know:
- Properly written list of all the people your plan will cover, including their date of birth, legal name and Social Security number
- The exact date you and your family need coverage
- The type of plan you have through your employer (Bronze, Silver, Gold, etc.)
- Your doctor’s name and address
- List any health concerns you or your family members have
- List of prescriptions you take regularly
- stipend, so you know what you’ve been paying for health insurance
Now, talk to your favorite health insurance agent or go online to start shopping.
Shopping for Gap Health Insurance Online: How to Find
As of November 2022, an internet search for “gap health insurance” returned 250,000,000 results. Now, some of those results deal with gap supplemental health insurance, and that’s a different product. Some results will not apply to your state or location. So, rather than wading through a bunch of useless ads, try searching for more specific terms.
You can try:
- Gap health insurance in [your state]
- Health insurance for the unemployed
- Gap-in health insurance policies [your city]
- Temporary health insurance plans for the unemployed
Be careful about sharing your personal information online when applying for insurance. Scams are everywhere on the internet! Also, be sure to perform this search from a secure internet connection. it’s a It’s okay to browse, but don’t share any personal information when browsing the Internet on a free network, such as those available at Starbucks or McDonald’s.
How to check if an insurance site is legit
Scammers, spammers, and identity thieves are everywhere these days. Sometimes it can be difficult to distinguish a legitimate online insurance agent from a scammer looking to steal your identity. Here are some points to keep in mind:
- The website should display a ‘secure’ icon, which may look like a lock icon in the upper left corner of the address bar
- English language, spelling and grammar will be correct
- The website links to authoritative sources ending in .gov or .edu
- All links work throughout the site, rarely taking you to a blank page or a “404” message
You can also do a “Whois” search at Whois.com. Just enter the domain name of the website – like ours, einsurance.com – and click the “whois” button. You will find out who owns the website. If an insurance sales website appears as private, that’s a red flag. Insurance companies do their best to display their name, address, and license, and no reputable insurance company will hide this information from potential clients.
But scams abound in “real life,” too. So check the licensing status of any organization before signing the papers. it’s easy. Every country has it Insurance commissionerYou can check their license status on their website.
Is a Gap health insurance plan always better than COBRA?
We promised you an unbiased article, and here’s the truth. Health insurance policies are usually gap CheaperFrom Cobra, but it may not be better For everyone. COBRA offers the same coverage you got from your employer. This means that issues such as mental health and maternity care will be covered in the same way.
A gap health policy may not provide the same coverage. For example, if you lose your major health insurance while expecting a new baby any day, a COBRA policy may give you peace of mind and save you a lot of money when your baby is born.
And if we go back to our story about Ella and her diabetes medications, you might find out that her medications cost a lot more through the gap health insurance plan. You need to crunch some numbers to determine which coverage is best so you can get Medicare coverage.
But as a general rule, sudden health insurance can save you thousands of dollars compared to COBRA for young, healthy, single individuals and families. This is the money you need on hand while looking for a new job.