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Thursday, April 22, 2010

Stable coverage, no matter where you work

Erin Kelly

Staff Writer

Imagine this: You've been a hard-working employee for years. Then, all of a sudden, your company goes under. Now you have to say goodbye to your salary-and your health insurance. It could happen to anyone. So what do you do now?

One option is to find a new job that provides health care benefits, but thanks to the recession, that's easier said than done. Another option is to find insurance through the private individual market-but as many Americans have found out, it's a jungle out there.

Many seeking coverage in the private individual market find it difficult or impossible to find a plan that meets their needs. Those who are lucky enough to be relatively healthy may find that they simply can't afford the cost of premiums, and those who are-or ever have been-sick, may find that they can't get coverage at all. Far too many of these people will be forced to go without coverage

Being uninsured is not limited to the recently laid off, however. Small business owners have found it increasingly difficult to offer coverage to employees as health care costs have risen. Sometimes, providing health care coverage to employees ends up breaking the bank, and the business either goes under, or employers are forced to drop coverage -leaving employees uninsured.

With health reform, those who have been laid off will no longer have to choose between being uninsured or paying sky-high premiums. With health reform, Americans who work for small business or companies that don't provide health insurance will finally have access to affordable coverage thanks to the new insurance exchanges.

Americans will no longer have to dip into their kid's college savings to pay for health insurance when they're between jobs, or forgo necessary care just to save money.

Thanks to health reform, Americans will no longer have to worry about whether losing a job, working for a small company, or starting their own business will leave them without health insurance. From now on, Americans will have coverage they can always count on.