ComPro: Losing Employer Provided Health Insurance Is a Qualifying Event and How You Can Stay Protected While Traveling

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Entrepreneurs – those brave souls “who organize and manage an enterprise, usually with considerable initiative and risk” (  Been there and done that…and applaud all those who are beginning their venture.  One of the most common questions that we receive is –

“What happens to my health insurance if I leave my job to start a new business?”

Losing health insurance coverage that was provided by an employer is a qualifying event that creates a Special Enrollment Period (SEP).  Options will generally include:

• Continuing the coverage under your employer by electing COBRA benefits.  You can stay on the employer plan for up to 18 months.  You will be responsible for paying the full premium (no employer contribution).

• If your estimated income for 2014 is less than 400% of the Federal Poverty Level, you may be eligible for financial assistance in paying your premium.  You must apply for coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace ( to access these programs.

• Purchase coverage directly from an insurance company.

• Begin an employer sponsored group insurance plan at your new business.  You need to have a minimum of two full-time employees and at least one of them must participate in the plan.

The Special Enrollment Period for loss of employer coverage due to termination of employment is 30 days.  You must enroll in a new health insurance plan within 30 days of losing your other coverage.  Your last day of employment may not be the same as your last day of insurance coverage.  The 30 day SEP is based on the date your coverage ended. If someone fails to act within the 30 day SEP, there is no access to individual health insurance until the next Open Enrollment (11/15/14 – 2/15/15).  The remaining choices will be to start an employer plan or enroll in a short-term plan.  The short-term plans provide basic insurance but do not comply with the Affordable Care Act.

Traveling internationally this summer? If you are, then enjoy the culture, the food, and the activities of your destination…just be careful about street vendors and water!!  Check your health insurance coverage before you go.  Your coverage when you leave the US may be very limited.  A Travel Insurance policy is inexpensive and provides coverage for In-Patient and Out-Patient medical expenses PLUS additional benefits that are not included in traditional health insurance.  Expenses such as the cost of an emergency medical evacuation to bring a seriously ill or injured person home; or the cost to bring a family member to the foreign country can be provided for in a Travel Insurance plan.

The premium for a 40 year old couple that will be in Italy for one week is $46 with a $1 Million maximum benefit.  You really shouldn’t leave the country without this coverage!

by Chris McPike, Vice President


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