Insurance Policy Changes
Even the smallest changes in your health insurance policy can have a huge cost. Some changes are due to a job change or job loss, the birth or adoption of a child, marital status, and many other of life's events.
Changes can also be a result of your employer expanding benefits, or reducing them to cut costs. Your health insurance provider may also expand or reduce benefits, as well as expand or reduce medical providers. Here at Cook Children's, we are always working to contract with as many health insurance plans as possible, because we want to assure that every child who comes through our doors has access to the incredible care we provide to the families we serve.
What you need to know
For as long as there have been health insurance plans, there have been changes in policies. So how will you know if and when your policy changes? We offer some helpful suggestions below.
- How are you notified when your policy changes? If you get your insurance through an employer, your employer will usually provide you information on plan or policy changes before it's time to renew your coverage. If you get insurance through an agent, broker or individually, the agent/broker or insurance company may notify you of plan or policy changes as needed.
- Where do you find information about the changes? Depending on how you get insurance coverage, you may be able to find changes on the health plan's dedicated website or through member services, your employer or insurance broker/agent.
- What are the qualifying events that can change your health plan coverage? Birth or adoption of a child, marital status changes, employment status changes. Contact your employer's human resources or benefit administrator department as soon as possible following a qualifying event to get enrollment instructions.
- What if I lose my insurance? Should you lose your insurance due to a job loss, divorce, death, retirement or an unforseen event, the first thing you should do is determine if you are qualified for COBRA. If you are, you will be able to extend your current policy for a limited period of time, which will also give your additional time to find a policy that fits your needs and budget. If you don't qualify for COBRA, you can explore your options, such as private insurance and the Marketplace exchange.
- What is COBRA coverage? COBRA helps some people continue their insurance coverage when it might be terminated. COBRA contains provisions giving certain former employees, retirees, spouses, former spouses and dependent children the right to temporary continuation of health coverage at group rates. This coverage, however, is only available when coverage is lost due to certain specific events. Group health coverage for COBRA participants is usually more expensive than health coverage for active employees, because the employer usually pays a part of the premium for active employees while COBRA participants generally pay the entire premium themselves. It's ordinarily less expensive than individual health coverage. You'll find more information on COBRA coverage here.