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How to Stay Insured When You Lose Your Job

Losing your job should not mean losing your healthcare. Period.

Carmen has spent a great deal of time both on the show and in this blog advocating the importance of health insurance no matter what your employment status is. Sadly, as more jobs are shed in this country every day, more of us are asking the question of what we can afford to pay when our employers are no longer picking up the tab.

Oklahoma State Insurance Commissioner Kim Holland has the five ways to keep your health and wealth covered if you become unemployed.

1. Those of us coming out of a fulltime job with benefits have access to COBRA. If an employer has more than 20 employees, it is required by law to continue healthcare coverage for at least 18 months. COBRA can be shockingly expensive because the premium must be paid by you, not your employer. You have a 60 day window to consider if this is the right choice.

2. Think short-term. Sign up for a stopgap measure like bridge insurance, which can cover you anywhere from three months to two years.

3. Look at individual policies. This is a permanent option but know that some states require medical underwriting, meaning the insurance company can approve you or reject you depending on your health.

4. Find out about if you can take advantage of an extension of benefits provision. This allows people to continue coverage either by law or policy.

5. Hope for the best, prepare for the worst. Save enough money to give you at least three months of insurance coverage if you lose your job unexpectedly.