90210 star Shannen Doherty has been in the news recently. It has been reported that she was diagnosed with breast cancer and is suing her former manager for allowing her health insurance to lapse. Doherty claims that she was unable to seek medical care during the year she was without insurance and the cancer went undetected during this time. This is a really sad story and my heart goes out to her.
Working in HR, I have seen instances where individuals have not monitored with health insurance and have had lapses in their coverage. Many life events have a limited window – often just 30 days – to make changes to health insurance coverage. Very often, insurance providers require dependent verification. Dependent verification is a key aspect that many people overlook. It is very important that you fully understand all the aspects of benefit enrollment including dependent verification.
Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, if your insurance coverage ends to to a change in employment like what happened with Shannen Doherty, there are provisions for you to enroll in a private insurance plan or a plan offered through the ACA Marketplace in your state. Again, there are time limits for enrollment so be sure to act fast. COBRA is another option for individuals who have lost insurance coverage from their employer. If this happens to you, be proactive and reach out the the Human Resources professionals at work to be sure you fully understand the time-line and all of the implications.