Woman Filling Out PaperworkBeing human means each of us is born with free will. We have an independent mind with unique ideas and thoughts. If you doubt this, try spending an hour with a two-year-old child. However, for adults, actually exercising that free will to be different from everyone else can be a bit scary and intimidating.

In today’s tough economy, you may feel lucky to even have a job right now. If your job includes health insurance benefits, it might seem like you have really hit the employment jackpot. Indeed, for many people, the health insurance benefits package can be a key factor in choosing one company over another during a job search. Nevertheless, there could be reasons why you want to explore other health insurance options and you need to know if you can drop your employer health plan.

What are some of reasons why it might be wise to drop an employer health plan?

Any business that has 50 or more employees must provide health insurance. If you work at least 30 hours a week at one of these companies, you are eligible for health insurance coverage. However, what they offer may not be what you need, so you might have reasons why you want to drop your plan.

Saving money for your family has become more of a necessity than a luxury today. Therefore, you may wish to stop having funds taken out of your income to pay for health insurance. This desire is common among dual career households in which the employer for one spouse has a better health insurance plan than the other. You may also simply want to shop around for a better or less expensive option.

Additionally, if you have experienced a drastic change in your life, such as the birth of a child, marriage, divorce, or death of a loved one, you might have to re-evaluate your healthcare needs. Alternatively, you may be facing the prospect of an adult child leaving the nest and obtaining his or her own employer-sponsored health insurance.

An adjustment in your employment situation, like a new position or a decrease in hours, could also be cause to make changes. When these aspects of a job change, benefits do too, and you may want to think differently about your coverage.

Another motivation for dropping your employer-provided plan might involve your doctor. For instance, if your primary physician or even a specialist you are seeing for specific treatment does not participate in your employer’s chosen health plan, and you can’t pay the costs yourself, you may have to go with another health insurance company in order to receive the same level of care.

What steps should you take to drop an employer health plan?

As with many aspects of life, timing is everything. In order to change your healthcare plan, you have it do it at the right time. Typically, there is a specific window of opportunity during which you are allowed to review the various options and make changes. One of these changes might be dropping your employer-sponsored plan altogether.

You can begin by having a conversation with your human resources representative to learn what rules may apply. The request to drop your coverage might have to be presented in writing or there could be a special form or document to complete for the insurance company.

What are the disadvantages in dropping your employer health plan?

More than 150 million Americans have a healthcare plan that is partially paid for by their employer. In addition, experts believe millions more will soon have access to employer-assisted plans under the new healthcare initiatives. Going against the status quo and selecting another health insurance plan is a huge decision. Before making a final determination, it is crucial to have all the facts.

It is important to avoid any gaps in coverage, so the first thing you want to do is find out about any deadlines to change or drop your plan. If you or a covered family member is receiving treatment for an illness or condition, your new health insurance plan most likely will not provide protection right away and you could be stuck paying for treatments out of pocket until coverage kicks in.

If you are thinking of opting out of your employer health plan and going without insurance completely, this could be ill-advised. Even if you are basically healthy, anything can happen, from accidents to sudden illness. Then, you might find yourself out of a job as well because you are unable to work.

Having to face the expenses of medications, doctor visits, and the incredible cost of hospital care without health insurance to help pay for it all can quickly wipe out any savings and assets. Studies have shown that a major factor in bankruptcies is often debt related to healthcare issues. It is always best to maintain some type of healthcare coverage, even if it’s not the best one offered.