Host: What happens if we lose our employer health insurance due to lay-offs?
Bob Hurley: One of the problems with all of us getting our health insurance through our employer is that when we lose our job due to lay-offs or for whatever reason, many of us lose our health insurance and that's one of the downsides to having employer sponsored health insurance coverage. Now certainly, there are programs available such as COBRA where we can continue that coverage for some period of time if the employer meets the criteria for COBRA and so certainly, there are options for us in many case when we are laid-off from our employer or in some cases employers will give you some kind of bridge where they will cover your insurance premium for an extra month or two or whatever. But the fact of the matter is many of us when we do get laid-off we lose our coverage and we are now out basically, on our own to find our own health insurance coverage.
The good news is with the internet there is far more transparency, there is far more visibility into the health insurance plans that are available in your specific area. You can see all of the pricing. In fact, I would encourage you, if you have heard that there are lay-offs coming up in your employer you may actually want start this homework before that pink slip actually comes in and actually, go out to the internet and start shopping for your health insurance coverage ahead of time to see what's available, what the pricing is and depending on your situation you may want to start the application process.
I have to tell you once you get on to individual coverage, your own health insurance coverage and you get comfortable with that, you may want to consider just holding on to that for the long-term and the reason for that is simply that once you have your own coverage it's completely portable between jobs. It's no longer tied to your job. So if you are the type of person that maybe is a little more transient with their work, there are people out there that like to move jobs every two to three years. It maybe that by buying your own health insurance coverage on your own and keeping that associated with yourself, it will give you more freedom and more flexibility to move between jobs without losing your healthcare coverage and that's important simply because that way you can maintain your relationships with your doctors and your pharmacy and so on and it's no longer a subject to whether you are employed with some employer that either does or doesn't offer those particular coverages or doctors.
So again, I would encourage you if you do go this route and you buy your own coverage you may want to actually stay on your own individually purchased health insurance coverage even if you do subsequently get employed by somebody, another new company.