Millions of Americans have lost their jobs due to the novel coronavirus and measures that shut down thousands of businesses around the country.
It's not just a paycheck many of these workers are going without, some have also lost their health insurance, whether it was employer-provided or it was merely a casualty of their lost income.
While the thought of no longer having health insurance may leave you anxious, there are options for unemployed individuals.
Read on to learn more about these insurance options and which product makes the most sense given your particular situation.
Affordable Care Act
The Affordable Care Act, which took effect in 2010, was designed to extend health insurance coverage to millions of uninsured Americans. By using subsidies, or tax credits, ACA reduces the cost of coverage for families making a certain income.
Typically, the ACA Marketplace is only open for enrollment during a certain period of time once a year, or if a consumer experiences a life-changing event or a qualifying event, such as the loss of health insurance.
It only makes sense this would be an option for those seeking health coverage during the COVID-19 pandemic. Of course, there are a few scenarios that come into play:
• You lost your job-based health plan - If you lost your employer-provided health coverage or your family member who carried your health insurance lost their employer coverage in the past 60 days, or you expect you'll lose coverage in the next 60 days, you qualify for what is called a Special Enrollment period, according to HealthCare.gov.
• You lost hours at your job, and you currently have a Marketplace plan - Healthcare.gov reports that you may qualify for additional savings.
In this scenario, you have 30 days to update your ACA application to report household income changes.
• You were furloughed from your job - This scenario is a bit more dependent on your current employment situation. You may be eligible for a special enrollment period or a premium tax credit. Healthcare.gov suggests you create an account or log in to the Marketplace to see if you qualify.
• You lost your job, but didn't have health insurance - Unfortunately, you generally won't qualify for this limited enrollment period in this situation, as a job loss or change in income alone does not count as a life-changing qualifying event.
Before you begin looking at your Marketplace options, you'll need to check to see if your state has instituted a specific enrollment period.
According to the AARP, there are 12 states that run their own insurance exchanges under the Affordable Care Act. Many of those states have opened the exchanges for a limited enrollment period.
The rest of the states will have enrollment based on the federal government, which is still determining when to set such a period.
For many Americans who have lost their jobs, they may be able to keep the same health plan as a result of the federal law known as COBRA.
Under COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act), some newly unemployed Americans will be allowed to temporarily keep health coverage even though their employment has ended.
This option will provide the most continuity of coverage for consumers because they won't experience any change in their current plan. That means they'll be able to keep the same network of doctors and other health coverage elements.
However, coverage under COBRA can be more costly for some. If you elect for COBRA coverage, you'll pay 100% of the premiums, including the share the employer used to pay, plus a small administrative fee.
Coverage under COBRA can last up to 18 months but can last longer under certain circumstances.
Though we don't know what the future holds concerning COVID-19 and the economic bounce-back we hope will follow, you may be optimistic that you'll soon find yourself once again employed with insurance.
If this is the case, you may want to consider short-term health insurance plans.
Short-Term Medical Plans are similar to individual and family health insurance plans. Coverage can last anywhere between one month to a year, depending on your specific situation and state.
While you only have a certain amount of time to enroll in a health plan through ACA, those who qualify for Medicaid can enroll at any time.
Medicaid, along with Medicare and Children's Health Insurance Programs, is run by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).
Your state of residence and income will be determining factors on whether you qualify for Medicaid. You can find specifics on your eligibility by visiting your state Marketplace or your state's Medicaid office.
If you're 65 years or older, you can sign up for Medicare or add Part B coverage to your plan.
Many Americans may have signed up for Medicare Part A when they turned 65 but opted not to enroll in Part B because they were still working. You have eight months after losing or leaving your job to add Part B coverage.
To learn more about Medicare and to view your options visit this page.
Though losing your job and your health insurance can be a stressful situation, there are options available to you.
First Family Insurance can assist in customizing the perfect plan for your situation.
You can speak to one of our licensed professionals by calling 1-800-327-5579
Click the button below to receive your free quote now!