Layoffs are part and parcel of modern corporate life. When such a situation arises, along with the sudden loss of income and security comes the fear of how to deal with losing benefits that come with a corporate job, such as Group Medical Coverage (GMC). This can be particularly scary when serious conditions like heart disease are on the rise in young people and could result in having to foot large medical bills without any income. Read ahead to know how to maintain health insurance coverage after a layoff.
Although a lot of jobs provide employee health insurance in the form of Group Medical Coverage (GMC), this coverage may be lost if one’s job is terminated. In such a scenario, It is always beneficial to have a word with the HR department to understand what the status of health insurance would be in the event of job loss to see if the company offers continuance of health insurance benefits. Different insurance providers will have different approaches to this, thus it’s best to check the applicable policy wordings.
Here are some measures employees can take to maintain insurance after layoffs.
If you have been laid off, you should review and understand the terms and conditions of your current employer-offered health insurance policy. You should specifically check for whether their policy includes a provision for continuing coverage after job loss, and if so, for how long and whether you are eligible for the same.
You may have the option to shift from the company plan to a personal insurance plan offered by the same insurer. However, this might require re-evaluation and review of medical reports. Try to schedule all the tests and appointments before your period of employment ends so that you can give your full attention to your job search later without worrying about insurance.
If it is not possible for you to continue insurance coverage after job loss with the existing insurer, you can consider shifting to an individual policy from a different insurer.
If you have been laid off due to financial reasons, it is worthwhile to have a discussion with your employer regarding continued health insurance coverage for a specified period after the term of employment has ended. This can be included as a part of the severance package. Many companies offer generous severance packages, especially in the event of sudden layoffs.
If you are unable to port your existing policy or reach a middle ground with your workplace, you can consider buying an individual policy. It is important to research the market to understand which policy will give you the best coverage and match your budget at the same time. Nowadays, you can buy a health insurance policy online easily from your smartphone!
The Government of India offers several health insurance schemes such as Ayushman Bharat and Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY). Such schemes provide free or subsidised health insurance coverage to economically weaker sections of society. You can always check if you are eligible for these schemes and if they can provide the necessary health insurance coverage.
While health insurance policies provide financial protection in case of medical emergencies, you should also focus on maintaining a healthy lifestyle to prevent illnesses. This includes eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, getting enough sleep, and avoiding unhealthy habits such as smoking and excessive alcohol consumption.
If you get laid off, it can be a stressful time and the temptation to opt for unhealthy coping mechanisms is strong. However, ill effects could be detrimental not only to your health but also to your chances of purchasing affordable health insurance, as premiums can be on the higher side for unhealthy individuals.
Most people's immediate reaction to losing a job is to worry about how to manage finances. When daily expenses are a concern, investments tend to take a back seat. Some of the common financial problems faced by people at this point include missing on premium payments. With a bit of planning and setting up an emergency fund in advance, panic can be avoided so you can make logical financial decisions and ensure uninterrupted health insurance coverage.
You can check your policy wordings or have a word with your HR to know the termination date of your employer-offered health insurance coverage in case of job loss. Every company has its own policies regarding the continuation of insurance post loss of job. Thus, it is recommended to discuss the possibility of extended coverage with your employer directly.
If your company has a group policy that covers existing employees and those laid off for some duration then you can continue at the same premium. However, if you are opting for an individual plan, you would need to be evaluated regarding your medical status, etc., based on which your premium would be decided. Individual policies typically have a higher premium than group policies.
If you port from a group policy to an individual or family policy after being laid off, some benefits accumulated under group policy might not be lost. Discuss the same with the insurer for details.
Even though your employer offers health insurance, it might be contingent on you being an employee of the company. Thus, try your best to keep your personal health insurance policy active by paying the premiums in time. This is important as a lapsed policy may lead to the loss of accumulated benefits, waiting periods, and other privileges.
Disclaimer: The content on this page is generic and shared only for informational and explanatory purposes. It is based on industry experience and several secondary sources on the internet, and is subject to changes. Please go through the applicable policy wordings for updated ACKO-centric content, and before making any insurance-related decisions.