For Coloradoans, it is still possible to find healthcare that you can afford
In Colorado and around the United States, unprecedented numbers of people are at risk of losing their healthcare coverage as a result of being laid off or furloughed. While COBRA guarantees that these people have a way to keep their group plan, it ends up costing way more per month than when the employer was paying on it.
Coloradoans who have lost their jobs do not have to feel obliged to stick with COBRA. Affordable options are available no matter what kind of coverage you’re looking for, but only to those who take action.
The Problem with Cobra
Because employers tend to pay the majority of group health insurance premiums, most people have no idea what their coverage actually costs. What most people see is the amount taken out of their paychecks, which isn’t the same number at all.
In fact, according to a 2019 Kaiser Family Foundation analysis, employers paid an average of 80% of the total cost of their employees’ health insurance plans, and almost 70% of qualified family premiums. That equates to a pretty big chunk of change when you consider how high most insurance premiums are these days.
When you lose your job for one reason or another, your employer contribution disappears, and COBRA kicks in. Not only are COBRA payments calculated based on your original combined premium (what you paid + what your employer paid) but there is also an additional service charge, bringing it to 102% of your original cost.
In addition, COBRA premiums are paid with after-tax money, unlike the payments that used to be deducted from your check. As if we needed the cherry on the cake …
Get ACA Coverage with a Special Enrollment Period
Under the Affordable Care Act, anyone who has lost their health insurance due to a change in employment is eligible for a special enrollment period. This allows them to sign up for coverage outside of the open enrollment, making it easier to prevent coverage gaps and stay healthy even through periods of employment uncertainty.
One of the biggest criticisms of ACA plans is that for many people, they aren’t very Affordable at all. That’s because a large number of people do not qualify for the federal subsidy. Without a federal subsidy, many of these plans are too expensive to maintain.
If you are making anywhere under 400% of the federal poverty level, you could qualify for a subsidy that would allow you to get an affordable ACA plan fast. If you are not sure if you would qualify, give us a call. We’d be happy to have a look at the possibilities.
Traditional Health Insurance is Not for Everybody
One of the primary goals of ColoHealth is to provide a range of coverage options to our clients. We know that of the many health insurance plans out there, not everybody is going to find one that they like, or that they can even afford.
Health sharing plans are a viable option for anyone who is in need of coverage at this time. Even if you are still employed, health sharing can be an immediate way to cut your monthly health insurance costs. While not technically health insurance, health sharing organizations give people access to many of the same doctors, treatments, and coverage options, but in a much different way.
Ideal for healthy people with no serious conditions, health share programs don’t cover pre-existing conditions without a 2-year waiting period. In addition, some things required of an ACA insurance plan are not covered, such as preventative care and birth control.
Healthshare programs are offered by Health Care Sharing Ministries (HCSMs), not insurance companies, so they are not subject to the same strict regulations as ACA plans. The result is viable health coverage that is more flexible than traditional insurance, and a heck of a lot cheaper. In fact, most health share programs end up costing about half the price of insurance.
Affordable Coverage in Colorado is a Phone Call Away
As I mentioned above, not everyone qualifies for an ACA subsidy. Similarly, not everyone is a good match for health care sharing programs.
Whether you have been laid off, furloughed, or are simple looking for more affordable coverage, give us a call. We can walk you through all the options that are on the table.
Leslie Jablonski is a Personal Benefits Manager at ColoHealth. Her aim is to help you make smart and informed healthcare coverage decisions that will fit your needs and budget. Read more about Leslie on her Bio page.