Tips

A Guide To Navigating Health Insurance Gaps

Mira Research Team25 Feb 2021

Quick Digest

  • If you are experiencing a gap in health insurance coverage due to a job change or other circumstance, you have several options to remain covered.
  • Short-term health insurance is available and affordable for many people experiencing a gap in coverage. Although different from long-term health insurance, opting into a short-term health insurance benefit may be enough to protect you until you are able to receive long-term insurance. Another option is government programs that can assist you with accessing healthcare.
  • Mira can also help you during your health insurance gap. For just $45 per month, you have access to a range of benefits and services including co-pays that cover your entire visit, COVID-19 testing, and same-day laboratory tests.

You're in a health insurance gap, here's what to do next

Outlined below are several actionable items that may help you maintain health insurance during a gap in coverage.

  1. Identify the exact date you will lose coverage.
  2. Try your best to determine when you will regain long-term health insurance coverage. There are different options to bridge your coverage gap, and understanding how long you will be without a long-term coverage plan may help you decide which option suits your needs the best.
  3. Research all your options and consider the pros and cons of each. In this article, we have highlighted several of your options, but you should still consider more extensive research to identify the best approach that suits your needs.
  4. Having no health insurance can be dangerous for your financial, psychological, and medical well-being. Once you have determined which option is best for your needs, you should sign up and get covered as soon as you can.

What are the best short-term health insurance options?

According to a study conducted by Commonwealth Fund Health Insurance, one-quarter of adults aged 19 to 64 have experienced a gap in their health insurance, with the majority remaining uninsured for greater than one year. 

While there are several reasons for this trend of gaps in insurance coverage, losing or changing jobs was among the primary reasons that people experienced a gap. 

The financial and psychological stress from uncovered-health expenses can be scary, but you have several options to protect yourself from the financial stresses of being uninsured. 

Through these options, you may be able to continue access to affordable healthcare.

Get Covered Through Your Spouse or Partner

In general, having your spouse or partner add you to their insurance plan might be the easiest option to regain health insurance coverage. 

Under normal circumstances, you cannot change your insurance unless it’s during the open enrollment period. However, when you lose your job or are undergoing a special transitional period in your life (e.g. getting married or having a child), you have the option of a special enrollment period in which your spouse can add you to their insurance plan. 

While this plan may not be as good as your old insurance, it is certainly safer than remaining uninsured.

Government Programs 

If you qualify, Medicaid is another option to maintain health insurance during a gap in health insurance coverage. 

Your qualification will depend on which state you live in and your annual income, but Medicaid is a low-cost option with consumer protections (including pre-existing conditions) that can help you stay protected from the financial burdens of paying for healthcare out-of-pocket.

The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) is another option for people to buy health coverage under their employer-based health plan. 

Employers with at least 20 employees are lawfully required to provide this option to members of the company that lose their job. 

Under this option, you will be able to keep your same plan for 18 months; however, you should note that this option is quite expensive. Being that your former employer no longer has to cover anything, you can expect to pay high premiums. 

Short-Term Health Insurance

Short-term health insurance plans are another way to bridge the gap between coverage periods for many Americans. Most plans last up to three years and are relatively cheap, but coverage is limited. 

Accordingly, you can expect to pay high out-of-pocket costs for visits outside of the 10 essential health benefits. Additionally, many states do not allow for short-term health insurance plans, while others cap their use at three to six months. 

Mira

Mira is among the best options to access affordable healthcare — especially if you are experiencing a gap in health insurance coverage. 

For just $45 per month or $300 annually, you can buy into Mira’s myriad of benefits, including same-day lab tests, COVID-19 testing, $99 all-inclusive urgent care visits, and much more. 

Coverage with Mira is expansive and tailored to fit your diverse healthcare needs and goals. With 400+ affiliated walk-in clinics, 1600 laboratories, and 60,000 pharmacies Mira will keep you covered for your primary care and urgent care needs until you are able to obtain long-term insurance. 

For more information, see our FAQ page here.

Please note that the information in this article is meant to equip you with the information to navigate gaps in insurance coverage. Mira’s Research Team does not consist of medical professionals, and we merely wish to highlight your options. If you have specific questions regarding your medical situation, you should contact a healthcare provider. 

Sources

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22582451/

https://www.cigna.com/individuals-families/understanding-insurance/what-is-short-term-health-insurance

https://www.insure.com/health-insurance/job-change-and-obamacare.html

https://www.kff.org/policy-watch/medicaid-covers-people-with-pre-existing-conditions-too/#:~:text=Medicaid%20has%20always%20provided%20coverage,the%20passage%20of%20the%20ACA.&text=If%20a%20person%20met%20these,had%20a%20pre%2Dexisting%20condition.

https://www.dol.gov/general/topic/health-plans/cobra

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