Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Unemployment Medical Insurance

If you're recently unemployed, you need to figure out what to do concerning your families health insurance---Odds are pretty good that your employer will take you off their health plan real quick. So you may be asking yourself, "How can unemployed workers get the best health insurance?"

Fortunately, the state of New York has issued several health insurance options for the unemployed. These options include:

    • You have the right to continue your group plan through a COBRA policy. If your group has less than 20 employees, you have a similar right under the NYS continuation of coverage law. You will be required to pay the full cost of the coverage, including any portion your employer formerly paid on your behalf. Your employer should notify you of your right to this coverage upon termination of your employment. If you have not received notice, contact your employer or call this Department for assistance at 1-800-342-3736.

    • The federal stimulus package includes a COBRA premium subsidy for eligible people who were involuntarily terminated. For more information on the federal subsidy, please select this link.
  • Individual Insurance Plans---You may purchase individual health insurance for yourself and your family on a direct payment basis regardless of your health status or income. However, these policies may exclude coverage for certain pre-existing conditions if you have not had health insurance coverage within the past 63 days. It is therefore very important not to wait to purchase this type of policy. Individual direct payment policies are offered by all HMOs in New York State. For a list of the HMOs currently offering these plans in your county and the rates, please select this link, or call 1-800-342-3736.
  • Healthy New York-- Healthy New York program offers discounted coverage to individuals who have lost group coverage because they have lost their job and meet certain criteria, including income limits. To learn more about the eligibility for this program, please visit the site at http://www.healthyny.com, or call 1-866-HEALTHY-NY.
  • Child Health Plus--Child Health Plus is a program run by the NYS Department of Health. The program provides free or low cost health insurance coverage to children under the age of 19 whose families meet the program’s income guidelines. To find out more about the Child Health Plus program and its eligibility criteria, you may call 1-800-698-4543, or visit the Web site at: http://www.nyhealth.gov/nysdoh/chplus/index.htm.

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