Laid off? Don't panic. The following summarizes a new list of
suggestions on how to maintain health coverage from the National Center
for Policy Analysis.

According to Devon Herrick, a health
economist and senior fellow with the NCPA, there are seven options you
should consider as soon as possible after getting pink-slipped:

-- Use
it before you lose it -- one of the first things you should do after
getting laid off is ask the company human resources person exactly when
your employer-paid coverage expires.

-- Stay in your employer plan
by paying the (COBRA) premium -- be aware that you must accept and sign
up for COBRA within 60 days or lose that option completely

-- Apply
for the federal (COBRA) subsidy -- under the new stimulus bill, you may
qualify for a 65 percent subsidy of COBRA costs for that first nine

-- Choose a cheaper former employer plan -- ask your
former HR representative if the company offers a lower cost insurance
plan that would cost you less under COBRA.


-- Join
a spouse's or parent's health plan -- however, you need to act quickly
because federal law requires that you sign up within 30 days from the
date of a job loss.

-- Shop around for inexpensive coverage --
there may be cheaper and better alternatives to COBRA, especially if
you have no severe health problems.

-- If uninsurable (because of
pre-existing conditions) you may still be able to obtain insurance --
35 states have high-risk pools to insure those who are turned down by
commercial insurers.

Ask questions and don't procrastinate
past your 62-day window.  Even high-deductible, catastrophic coverage
may prevent years of financial medical debts, explains Herrick.

Devon Herrick, "7 Ways to Keep Your Health Care If You Lose Your Job,"
National Center for Policy Analysis, March 16, 2009.

For text:

For more on Health Issues: