Source: Family Features

What to Do About Health Insurance in Tough Times

Practical Choices for Meeting Your Health Care and Budget Needs

MISSION, KS--(Marketwire - February 8, 2010) - (Family Features) Preserving health insurance coverage is a continuing concern in today's economy. The lingering recession has cost millions of Americans their jobs -- and the health care benefits they have relied on.

While COBRA coverage is a viable option for many workers and families losing their employer-sponsored coverage, it can be costly, even with the government's 65 percent subsidy.

Fortunately, there are lower-cost alternatives available today. According to UnitedHealthcare's Golden Rule Insurance Company, which has offered health insurance to individuals and families for more than 60 years, short term health plans might be a more affordable option for many laid-off workers and their families.

In fact, short term plans are designed for workers between jobs, new graduates looking for work, students dropping off their parents' plans, new employees not yet covered by employer plans, early retirees awaiting Medicare eligibility and others whose lives are in time of transition.

Depending on the state, Golden Rule's short term plans can offer anywhere from one to 12 months of coverage and a wide range of deductibles starting at $250 up to $10,000. The plans are easy to understand, the application process is simple and applicants generally hear back within 24 to 48 hours. In many states, you can reapply for consecutive short term plans. Importantly, you can drop the plans at anytime without penalty.

In addition to short term plans, a wide range of other plans is available to individuals and families not covered by health plans through their employer, including lower-cost high deductible plans and health savings accounts (HSA), which can help consumers save on both their health insurance premiums and their taxes.

When evaluating your health insurance options, the key is to find the coverage that meets both your family's health care and budget needs.

Golden Rule provides the following tips for individuals and families looking for health insurance today:

  • Do business with a reputable company. Ask a trusted friend or family member, or check companies' websites for their A.M. Best rating, which indicates financial strength and stability.

  • Understand the plan that you are buying, what it covers and what it doesn't. Know what you are responsible for paying. Ask questions.

  • Find a company with a strong national network of doctors and hospitals. Network discounts might save you 30 to 40 percent or more on the cost of your medical care. And it's helpful to know that there are doctors and hospitals you can use wherever you might visit or if you have to relocate to find employment. 

  • Consider plans that offer higher deductibles, which generally mean lower premiums for you. 

  • Be certain that you can drop your coverage without penalty if you find a job with health benefits.

For more information on short term or other health plans, talk with a local health insurance broker or go online to health insurance company websites such as

To see if Golden Rule plans are available in your state, please visit