If you leave your employer, whether voluntarily or involuntarily, you’ll need to take steps to stay covered by your health insurance. When you have a chronic condition such as diabetes, heart disease or cancer, it is crucial that you avoid any breaks in health insurance coverage that could trigger a pre-existing condition exclusion. This could make all the difference in your ability to continue using the same doctors, especially if you are in the middle of receiving important treatment. When changing jobs—especially if you’re being laid off—your mind may be on other things besides health insurance. Many people don’t pay enough attention to the pre-existing condition exclusions. It’s very important to be on the lookout for that.
What to consider, before you leave your job:
Should you stay or go?
In some cases, the need to keep health insurance could outweigh career consideration. Some people have had to remain in jobs even though they’ve had better offers, because they don’t want to lose their health insurance. Be sure to look carefully at a new employer’s health insurance plan for comparison, and weigh the importance of continuing treatment with the doctors and specialists you are seeing now.
Look into your spouse’s employer-sponsored health insurance plan.
If you’re married, joining your spouse’s health insurance plan may be an option. Check whether you have the right to enroll in your spouse’s health insurance plan without having to wait until the next enrollment period, and without triggering a pre-existing condition exclusion.
Avoid a gap in health insurance coverage of more than 62 days
If you have a pre-existing condition for which you are currently receiving treatment, you’ll want to try to avoid a gap in health insurance coverage of more than 62 days, which will make your pre-existing condition subject to an exclusion period when you get new insurance coverage. Penalties on premiums might also arise.
If You Lose or Quit Your Job during pregnancy
Life is rarely predictable, especially when it comes to work. If you happen to lose your job or quit during your pregnancy, you’ll need to pay careful attention to health insurance issues. Otherwise, you could be left uninsured at one of the most important (and expensive) times in your life.