Quit your job? Here’s what to do about health insurance

In November, 4.5 million people quit their jobs, according to Department of Labor data released earlier this week.

And they’re leaving for a variety of reasons: higher salaries, better benefits, more flexible schedules, more satisfying work, new challenges—including starting their own business—and even they’re retiring early.

While it is a hot market for job seekers at the moment, workers should think about the benefits they might give up when they leave their jobs.

The largest is employer-sponsored health insurance.

“Most employees know that their employers offer health insurance benefits, but they don’t always realize how much support their employers pay for,” Tammy Simon, head of corporate advisory at employee benefits firm Segal, told CNN Business in November.

Here’s what you need to know about health insurance options once you call it quits.

Life after work: continuous health insurance

The Comprehensive Uniform Budget Settlement Act (COBRA) generally requires employers with more than 20 workers to provide a temporary extension of health coverage for former employees, usually up to 18 months.

“Employers will sometimes subsidize the cost of Cobra, but most don’t,” Simon said. “Employers are allowed to charge up to 102% of the premiums applicable to COBRA.”

She added that employers are required to file a COBRA notice detailing the employee’s rights and responsibilities, including coverage costs.

Keep in mind that getting family health insurance while on the job costs workers and employers more than $22,000 a year, on average, according to the 2021 Kaiser Family Foundation Employer Health Benefits Survey. An employee typically pays about $6,000 from the tab, The company pays the rest. Average annual premium per employee in 2021 Exceeded $7,700 a year. The worker usually pays about $1,300, and the remaining fees are covered by the employer.

But under Cobra, workers are generally responsible for the entire tab.

(The federal government had introduced a COBRA-paid benefit for involuntary job losses and work-based coverage, but that benefit expired at the end of September.)

Another option is to find Affordable Care Act coverage at public health exchanges. You can review the plans available at health.gov.

Open enrollment for 2022 coverage continues through January 15 in most states. But those who lose their work-based policies can enroll at any time of the year, usually within 60 days of ending their plan. The Biden administration has also made it easier to obtain coverage in 2022 through special enrollment periods.

Registrants are entitled to more generous federal benefits for 2022, as part of last year’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package. Four out of five consumers can find a plan of $10 or less per month after federal assistance, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.

But without some kind of support Whether from the government or your employer – to help you afford health insurance, buying it yourself can be very expensive. So consider your options before you make the decision to leave your job.

“[Health care] Much more expensive than people expect,” Isabelle Barrow, director of financial planning at Edelman Financial Engines, For CNN Business in November. “It’s really important that you consider that part of your overall budget before you leave your job.”

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