Health Insurance Options for People Who Lose Their Jobs Amidst the Coronavirus Pandemic

Millions of Americans have lost jobs — and often the health coverage that came with those jobs. Millions of Americans had their work hours reduced or have received drastic pay cuts, so monthly premiums that may have been manageable before are now out of reach. It is important to understand your options and take action right away, so you don’t have gaps in health insurance coverage.

First, find out when your coverage is ending. You may have coverage until the end of the month you’re laid off or longer, depending on your employer. After your employer’s coverage ends, you can usually continue your employer’s coverage (but pay much higher premiums) or buy a policy on your own. Your best choice depends on each policy’s premiums, coverage, provider network – and what medical needs you and/or your family members have.

Here are some things to consider when evaluating your options.

COBRA

  • COBRA is a federal law that applies to employers with 20 or more employees that requires employers to let employees keep their health insurance coverage for up to 18 months after they lose their jobs
  • COBRA is a good option if you want to keep the same coverage and providers, but your premiums will increase – you will have to pay both he employee’s and employer’s share of the premiums, plus 2 percent in administrative costs
  • For additional information about COBRA go to the U.S. Department of Labor  website

Consider Your State’s Insurance Marketplace

  • You may qualify for a “special enrollment period” if you lose health coverage through your job – to see if you qualify, click HERE
  • Compare the costs of getting your own insurance with the premiums for COBRA – the individual policy may have different coverage and providers, and you will need to start the deductible period again

Is Your Spouse Employed?

  • If your spouse (or domestic partner, under some plans) has coverage through their employer, you may be able to be added as a dependent mid-year because you lost your coverage
  • Find out if you can get coverage through your spouse’s employer and how much extra the coverage will cost

Sign Up for Medicare (or add Part B) if You are 65 or Older

  • If you are 65 or older, you can sign up for Medicare
  • If you signed up for Medicare Part A when you turned 65 but had not signed up for Medicare Part B because you were working, you have up to 8 months after you leave your job and lose that coverage to add Medicare Part B
  • Because of the coronavirus Social Security field offices are closed – click here for additional information on Medicare coverage and instructions on how to apply

If you or someone you know are being denied medically necessary health care by your insurance company, please call Kantor & Kantor for a free consultation at 800-446-7529 or use our online contact form. We understand, and we can help.

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