Every day we read about more jobs being lost across the country. Recent stories suggest that many of these jobs may be gone forever as the economy "re-corrects". For the person out of work, the issue is the lose of income, trying to find something else, and often the loss benefits that go with the layoff. For the majority of American’s who receive their family’s health insurance from their job, these loses can be a nightmare.
The Minnesota Department of Health reported that more than 100,000 Minnesotans lost their health insurance between 2007 and 2009. The percentage of uninsured residents climbing to 9.1 percent in 2009, compared with 7.2 percent in 2007. The actual number rose to 480,000 from 374,000. Maybe, Washington will get their act together and come up with help, but that will require real representation of the people. Until then, people will have to continue to do their best to find some help.
The National News compiled a helpful list of tips for those who have lost their health insurance:
1. Use COBRA if You Are Laid Off – If you get laid off from your job and need health insurance you can Use COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation). COBRA is available for 18 months after loosing your employer health coverage. COBRA allows you to keep the health plan that your employer used to provide as long as that plan still exists. If your employer is still in business and offering some health insurance to current employees you can usually qualify. COBRA will be more expensive than the premiums deducted from your paycheck but this is sometimes necessary if you are unable to get health care elsewhere. COBRA is often cheaper than private and individual health insurance plans.
2. Continue Preventative Measures – Without health insurance it is now more important than ever to live a natural and healthy lifestyle. Use preventative measures such as regulating weight, exercising, eating healthy, lowering your cholesterol (http://www.naturalnews.com/025715.html), and reducing stress from your life. When possible you can resume other preventative measures such as regular checkups and diabetes & cancer screenings.
3. Ask Your Doctor for Help – Ask your doctor about reduced fees or treatment and drug options for those with lower income or no health insurance. Your doctor may also be able to recommend a health care discount card that they accept.
4. Decrease Stress – Stress has a terrible effect on your body and your health. Make sure to get enough sleep, exercise regularly, eat natural and healthy foods, and actively use relaxation techniques such as yoga or breathing exercises.
5. Not Smoking – By not smoking you increase your chances of being approved for another health insurance plan including private and individual health insurance plans. Non-smokers receive much lower health insurance premiums and have less risk of overall health problems.
6. Apply for Medicaid – Almost every state has a local Medicaid office and toll-free numbers. Visit the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services web site for information on how to apply: http://www.cms.hhs.gov/home/medicai…. Each state is different but Medicaid allows low-income and eligible people to qualify to have their medical bills paid directly. Some still require co-payments.
7. Apply for Medicare – Medicare is available only for those 65 years of age or older who meet special criteria. You can contact your local Social Security office or the main office at 1-800-772-1213. You are allowed to apply 3 months before reaching 65.
8. Alternative Natural Treatments – Alternative Medicine is currently used by thirty eight percent of adults in the United States. http://www.naturalnews.com/News_000… Acupuncture and herbal remedies are often cheaper than expensive prescriptions or medical treatments and can provide similar results.
9. Get Health Insurance through Spouse or Partner – Your spouse or partner may have a health insurance plan where you can qualify as a dependent. Although the cost can be high this typically results in fewer coverage rejections than applying for private or independent health insurance coverage.
10. Take a Lower Paying Job For Better Health Insurance – Consider taking a lower paying job for better health benefits. How important is your health? What is money without your health? It may mean taking a large pay cut, extra searching for a job with good health benefits, or asking more questions during a job interview. There are some employers out there that pay very little but offer a good health insurance plan. Make sure to ask about waiting periods and how coverage begins.
Federally, other options are being looked at for the many displaced workers. Extending the time for coverage and national health care are two of the many options being looked at. These tough times require all options to be considered.
A founding partner with Bradshaw & Bryant, Mike Bryant has always fought to find justice for his clients—knowing that legal troubles, both personal injury and criminal, can be devastating for a family. Voted a Top 40 Personal Injury "Super Lawyer" multiple years, Mr. Bryant has also been voted one of the Top 100 Minnesota "Super Lawyers" four times.