The only constant in life is change, and change is constant. As we all come out of a pandemic and face inflation, a possible recession and a changing economy, change for many of us right now could mean employment and job changes. These are big shifts that might be made willingly or not, but either way come with a lot of factors to consider. We covered some of these in our blog on What to do When you Leave Your Job.
Job changes or job losses have impacts on your health insurance, but your coverage can be impacted by other life changes too. In this blog we’re explaining why it’s important to maintain coverage and how you can tackle this if you find yourself in the midst of a recent change.
Life Changes Impact Private Health Insurance
Leaving a job is just one example of a major life change that will impact your health insurance. Depending on where you’re at in your life, there may be other times when you need to think about a potential gap in coverage:
- Taking a maternity or parental leave - your benefits through your employer may not continue during your leave, and if you don’t have coverage through a partner or spouse, this could leave you without coverage.
- Taking a sabbatical - depending on your sabbatical and your plan, you may not be eligible for coverage under your employer health insurance plan.
- Change in marital status (i.e. divorce) - if you receive sole coverage under your partner or spouses’ plan and separate, this will change your status as a dependant and could leave you without coverage.
- Starting to work for yourself or retirement - self-employment will likely mean you need to get private health insurance plan, while retirement means you’ll need a plan you can keep for an indefinite period of time that’ll cover your key health needs.
A Gap in Health Insurance is Risky
If you’re going through one of the above changes or something else that means you’re leaving an employer health insurance plan, you may be feeling overwhelmed. That’s totally understandable. These are major life changes! And depending on your situation, you may be concerned about your finances and spending money.
It’s not uncommon to consider holding off on getting a private health insurance plan during your new circumstances. If you’ve left a job or been laid off, you might be thinking it won’t be long till you’re at a new employer. If you’re on a leave like maternity leave and don’t have coverage, you might think it’ll be fine to go a year without it. And if you’re newly retired, your new lack of regular income might turn you off the idea of paying for a private health insurance plan.
But despite these beliefs and the prospect of paying for a private plan, it’s risky to have a gap in coverage, regardless of your circumstances.
While you might be in good health now and don’t see an immediate need for a private health insurance plan, there are unforeseeable circumstances that can happen fast. Emergency situations can leave you with hefty medical bills that would otherwise be covered by a health plan. It may also be more affordable to get on a new plan while you’re in good health, before any conditions arise. Since premiums are typically calculated through an underwriting process that reviews your medical history, you’ll pay less for your plan if you’re healthy. Plus, many plans don’t provide coverage for pre-existing conditions, so you may get less value out of your plan if you wait to buy until after you’ve experienced a change in health.
Plan Ahead to Avoid a Gap in Health Insurance
Sometimes we have no control over the changes in our life, and we just have to roll with the punches. But often these circumstances come with a lot of planning. It only makes sense to consider how you can plan ahead for the impact of a potential gap in health insurance coverage.
Here are some things you can do to plan ahead to try and avoid having a gap in health insurance coverage:
- If you’re anticipating a job change, research how long you’ll still receive coverage from your employer’s plan. This could run through to the end of that month instead of your last day.
- While you’re looking for new jobs, find out what kind of health insurance plans and benefits are offered at potential new employers. You’ll also want to know how long you have to wait as a new employee before you’re eligible for new benefits.
- If you’ve taking a leave, like a sabbatical or a maternity/parental leave, consider if you’ll have coverage through a partner or spouse plan during this period as a dependant. If not, you may still be able to receive coverage during this time from your employer. Ask what’s possible and if that’s an option.
- Save for a rainy day. Having a savings fund is a best case scenario for people but not always feasible. If it’s possible for you, try to save between three to six months of your current salary before you leave a job. This will ideally help cover your expenses while in-between jobs.
Leaving a Plan and Need Coverage?
If you’re in the middle of a life change and it means you’re going to lose health coverage, we can help. Our Personal Health plans offer the flexibility to choose anywhere from basic to extensive coverage. The rates are determined by the benefits you choose and your medical history. If you’ve recently left a job with benefits, you also qualify for our Replacement Health coverage. We offer guaranteed acceptance with no medical questions and your choice between three pre-bundled plans. Learn more today!