I hope this helps some people who are being laid off. Obviously, continuation of health insurance is of importance. Most people will have the option of continuing their insurance through COBRA, though usually at a substantial price. However (and many people still aren't aware of this), there is a 65 percent government subsidy to a person's COBRA premium that will last nine months.
With that said, many people don't realize that individual health insurance policies are an option that may be less expensive than COBRA, even the subsidized COBRA. Many people think COBRA is the only option, when in fact, depending upon their age and health condition, they may be able to buy an individual health insurance policy for less. This is something that won't expire, unlike COBRA.
There are many considerations a person who has been laid off may make when considering continuation of health insurance benefits such as: How much financial risk are they willing to bear? How soon do they realistically think it may be before they're able to land another job? What is their financial condition during this period of unemployment?
If they're covering a family, buying individual policies allows more flexibility of benefits and pricing than COBRA. You could conceivably buy one type of policy for a husband (perhaps one that just covers hospitalization, but nothing else) or a wife (one that provides two covered doctor visits in a year and then hospitalization), and another type for children (that covers everything). People can mix and match based on their finances and need.
Often, people put off making any decisions until the deadline for COBRA enrollment is close. Because it can sometimes take a few weeks to be accepted into an individual health insurance plan, there may be no time to shop around if a person has waited until the deadline. An important message is that if people want to consider options, they should start looking as soon as they are laid off. Please consider your options and protect yourself financially.
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