Health insurance basics

Health insurance basics

Health insurance basicsIt’s a fact of life, everyone needs health insurance — and the time to get it is before you have an accident, suffer a serious illness, or discover you’re pregnant. Insurance doesn’t cover health care for medical problems or conditions that start before the moment you have your policy. Finding adequate coverage might seem overwhelming, but knowing the basics can help make your search less stressful.

Your boss doesn’t have to provide health insurance

The first reality of health insurance is you do not have a right to it. There are no state laws or federal laws requiring private employers to offer health benefits to their workers.

“For a number of valid reasons employers are not mandated to offer or provide health insurance for their employees,” explains Cleveland attorney, Oleh Mahlay. “It is common knowledge; however, that most employers though not mandated to do so offer insurance to their employees for a variety of reasons related to competition and smart business practice.”

If you have benefits through your employer, and you quit or lose your job, don’t assume you will be able to pick up the identical coverage for the same price.

Similarly, don’t expect your former employer to extend benefits beyond your last day at work. There is no “grace period” during which you are still covered.

If you do lose your employer-sponsored benefits, there is a federal plan called COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Reconciliation Act) that could provide you with a short-term safety net.

Another federal law that offers some protection to workers experiencing a short-term lapse in coverage is HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act).

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