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Can I drop my employer health insurance coverage? Consumer Q&A

By on March 16th, 2012
Filed: Advice, Health Insurance, You, Young Adults

Unless the health reform law is repealed or struck down, in 2014 most people will be required to have health insurance. Those without employer-based coverage are going to need to buy their own or face tax penalties. Until that time, however, you’re pretty much free to go without coverage if you really want to.

Believe it or not, some people want to.

Last week on Yahoo Answers we took a question from a young man who has employer-sponsored health insurance. He’s young and healthy, however, and feels like it’s a waste of his money paying for coverage he never uses. He’s not alone. There are plenty of young people who feel the same way.

Should he drop his employer health insurance coverage?

The eHealthInsurance reply was voted Best Answer:

Before dropping your coverage, see if you can find a plan that’s more affordable.

Do you get your current coverage through an employer, or is this a plan that you bought on your own? If it’s an employer-based plan, you may not be able to cancel it until your annual open enrollment period comes around. Talk to your HR department to learn more, and ask them if they have a more affordable option for you too.

If you are able to get out of your employer-based plan or if the plan you have now was self-purchased, you may have some other, more affordable choices in the individual health insurance market. It’s going to depend to some degree on where you live, your health history, and what kind of coverage you currently have. But, for example, a plan with a higher deductible may save you money on your monthly premiums. If you’re a single male you may also be able to save by going with a plan that doesn’t cover maternity care, or one that only covers generic drugs.

Work with a licensed agent in your state or online to see what you’re other options may be.

You may be tempted to go without coverage in order to save money, but what happens if you have a bad accident or unexpectedly get ill and end up in the hospital? Without some kind of coverage to back you up financially, you could end up in a worse place, money-wise, than you already are.

Best wishes.

Photo via Flickr user DorkyMum


About Douglas Dalrymple

Doug Dalrymple is a member of the communications team at eHealth, Inc. and has worked in the health insurance and technology industries for fifteen years. He works on communications strategy, content creation and management, project management, and corporate messaging.

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