Find Affordable Health Insurance Coverage If You Lost Your Job
Congress is currently passing a major stimulus plan, which includes provisions meant to make coronavirus testing free and expanding unemployment insurance, food assistance, paid leave and sick days. But even with that stimulus, based on data by the Economic Policy Institute, about 3 million people will lose their jobs by the summer. This is unfortunate. Many Americans, about 49%, get job-sponsored health insurance. So, millions will remain uninsured in the middle of a health crisis.
It’s crucial to have
health insurance now. The good news is almost all healthcare plans, including
Medicaid and Medicare, are waiving out-of-pocket costs, co-pays, and
deductibles for testing COVID-19. Also, many insurers are waiving telehealth
fees or covering various treatment options for COVID-19. Yet these benefits are
not available for those without health insurance.
If you are
unemployed as a result of COVID-19, make sure you read carefully through your exit
package to see what extra coverage is available. There are still ways to get
- COBRA coverage: This program extends your current health plan for up to 18 months after losing your job. Employers with 20 full-time employees or more are required to offer COBRA coverage. Also, some states have expanded coverage. Nothing changes with COBRA. You remain on the same health plan and with the same benefits. However, this can be an expensive option as you will have to pay 100% of the premium plus a 2% administrative fee.
- Health Insurance Marketplace: If COBRA is too expensive, make sure you check your state’s health insurance marketplace options. Losing your job qualifies you for a special enrollment period. Keep in mind the average marketplace plan will cost you $462 a month based on reports by the Kaiser Family Foundation, so it can be expensive. This cost doesn’t include subsidies.
- Short-term health plans: This can be a great temporary alternative to traditional health insurance plans. It can help bridge gaps during times of transition. Coverage may start as soon as the next day you apply. These plans last 364 days and offer major medical benefits in case of unexpected illnesses.
- Cost-sharing plans: This is an affordable alternative with benefits comparable to those you would receive with a regular health insurance plan. The way it works is the money is pooled from members to cover the medical services of those in the group. The religious medical cost-sharing programs, for example, offer the benefit of interacting between members. These plans operate just like health insurance. You pay your monthly premiums and have access to a network of doctors and hospitals.
- Other options for health coverage: Losing your job qualifies you to join your spouse or family member’s plan. If you are under 26, you may join your parents’ job-sponsored plan. Keep in mind, you have up to 30 days from the time you stopped receiving benefits from your previous employer to enroll in a family health plan. Some states also have Medicaid available for adults if they are under a certain income. This is something you need to check with your state.
We know this is a turbulent time for people but there are still options to get you covered. We are here for you.