How to Get Health Insurance if You Don’t Have a Job

If you have found yourself recently unemployed, there are many options for obtaining health insurance for those who currently do not have a job. It is important that you do not have a gap in your coverage in this type of situation because many people think the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) requires health insurance companies to offer coverage to those with pre-existing conditions.  This is simply not true; rather it protects you from being denied coverage when switching employers who offer health insurance. It will provide you no such protection in the open market when purchasing individual health insurance.

1. COBRA – Which stands for the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, requires your previous employer to keep you (the employee) on the company health insurance plan for up to 18 months after you were laid off.  However, this may be costly considering that the employer is no longer contributing to the cost.  So you’ll be responsible to 100% of the premium… which may be around $350 for just you, or $1000 for an entire family*.  This may be your best option if you have a pre-existing condition, which would jeopardized you being accepted when applying for an individual health plan on your own. Contact your employer within 30 days of leaving to enroll if they haven’t already provided you with the information to do so.

Questions about some of the terminology? See Health Insurance Terms for definitions.

2. Short-Term Health Insurance – If you are just in between employment, or you have a waiting period at your new company before their employer sponsored plan kicks in, you should consider short-term health insurance. This coverage will keep you protected in case of emergencies. The rates are affordable and provide the coverage you’ll most likely need during transition. Short-term plans are generally month-to-month, so you can cancel the plan at anytime.

3. Individual & Family Health Insurance – There are plenty of benefits in having an individual plan, even if your next employer offers health insurance.  You can continue with this plan no matter what your employment status and offers the best portability. Depending on how much you pay and how often you use your health plan, this may be your best option.  Just compare rates against what you would pay with your employer-sponsored plan/CORBA and that of an individual plan with the same benefits (co-pay, Rx, deductible, out-of-pocket-maximum, etc.)  If you have a pre-existing condition you may have to wait 12-18 months before the new health plan will cover the costs of claims associated with the condition(s).

Other options include Medicaid and health insurance though Group Associations.

Need health insurance? Get free quotes on individual, family, or group medical plans. Call me for a quote. 310.853.0782

*Kaiser Permanente Quotes

10 Things To Ask Yourself When Looking for a Small Group Health Plan

Finding an affordable group health plan for your business isn’t as challenging as it may seem. In order to help you get an idea on what type of plan will fit your company here are 10 things to ask yourself when looking for a small group plan. Use this list of questions, and together with the support of my insurance office we will help you find a plan that fits your company and your budget.

  1. Do you want to increase or decrease benefits?
  2. When does your group medical, dental and life coverage renew?
  3. What is the contribution you are able to put towards your employees plan?
  4. What do you like and dislike about your current plan?
  5. Do you have previous service issues with any carriers?
  6. Are there any doctors or hospitals you really like and don’t want to lose?
  7. What is most important to you and your employees about your medical plan? (i.e. doctors, benefits, cost)
  8. Are there any medications or health concerns we need to know about?
  9. What type of company are you? (corporation, sole proprietorship, partnership)
  10. When did your business start and what documentation do you have to support the start date?

Send us your answers and we’ll help you find a plan that fits your small business.

W. Ray Holt
310.853.0782
wrholt@walterrayholt.com

Walter Ray Holt Insurance Services CA Lic. #0G59076

5 Benefits of Offering Employee Benefits

When it comes to employee benefits, where does your company stand? Paid vacation? Tuition reimbursement? Medical insurance?  Unlimited vacation days? … wait, what?

That’s right, unlimited vacation days. This perk has become more common in today’s workplaces. Company’s like Red Frog Events have quite the attractive benefits package, which includes unlimited vacation days along with health/dental/vision insurance & a 401k plan where they match up to 10% of salary. It doesn’t stop there. They also offer $100/ month in cell phone reimbursement, one work from home day per week, sabbatical, a trip abroad, a birthday massage, free food and drinks, and much much more.

This isn’t even what caught our attention. Their 17,000-square-foot office is home to computers, desks, a tree house complete with zipline, a rock climbing wall, and a conference table made of 50,000 Legos.

A fun and creative work environment has surely has its benefits.

  1. Easier Recruiting. Simply, the more you have to offer you’ll start attracting top talent from even the most prestigious universities and company’s. Young innovative thinkers thrive for a creative work environment to express their talents.
  2. Mutual Appreciation. When employers invest in the office space it let’s employees know that they care that their work environment is comfortable, relaxing, and stimulating.
  3. Less Stress & More Happiness. Creative spaces encourage innovation, increase productivity, and inspire better performance.
  4. Free PR. Just like you’re reading about it here. Your company will draw more attention and may land yourself the spot of “Best Company’s to Work For” in your city.
  5. Enhanced Creativity. A work environment that is conducive to growth through the synergy between creative thinkers in a creative environment.

Tax-free compensation: Health care

When you’re due for a raise, ask your company to get creative in your compensation. There are numerous ways to receive nontaxable compensation. Let’s look at some of the best alternatives to taxable earned income. Any time you can convert taxable income into nontaxable income, you’ve given yourself a raise. And when both you and your company save money, it’s a win-win situation.

For example, health coverage. Health and hospitalization insurance premiums paid by your current or former employer are tax-free — a huge benefit. Let’s say your health insurance premiums come to $280 a month, or $3,360 a year (for an HMO policy for a family of four with a $1,500 deductible). If you’re in the 25% tax bracket and have to pick up the bill, the real cost to you would be $4,480. That’s $3,360 for the premiums and $1,120 for additional income taxes because you’ll be paying for the coverage in after-tax dollars. Having your company pick up the cost helps both of you. Your employer doesn’t have to pay the salary necessary to get you even, and it gets to write off the full cost of the coverage. Plus, neither of you has to pay the 7.65% payroll taxes on the premiums. And you, of course, boost your disposable income substantially.

By Jeff Schnepper, MSN Money

read full article or See Quotes for Group Health Plans

April 2010 – Update on the Health Care Reform

The new federal health care reform law may change how some consumers access health care and health care coverage. Kaiser Permanente is currently working to interpret and implement changes mandated by the new law in accordance with the schedule outlined by Congress. In some cases, like the coverage of adult children, the law calls for the benefit to be offered six months from the date the bill became law. Other provisions of the law will take effect in future years. In almost all cases, the government will need to put new regulations in place before we can make these changes.

Go to kp.org/reform to get detailed information about Kaiser Permanente’s principles and perspective on health care reform.

Kaiser Permanente Makes the Link Between Sustainability and Health

Kaiser Permanente’s commitment to responsible and sustainable construction practices is visible well before foundations are poured for new buildings. When workers demolish old structures, they separate for recycling metals, concrete, asphalt, and other materials. For example, 96 percent of the debris from the demolished buildings at the site of the new Oakland (Calif.) Medical Center was recycled and diverted from landfills.