What to Do After Unexpectedly Losing Your Health Insurance

Dave Ramstack
Dave Ramstack
Published on November 12, 2020

If you have unexpectedly lost your healthcare due to unemployment, here are a few coverage options to consider.

Millions of Americans have lost their job in 2020, and unemployment rates are still on the rise. Because of the sudden loss of employment, many Americans are now without health insurance coverage.

Options for Individuals Who Have Lost their Health Insurance

With this ongoing surge of uninsured people caused by the pandemic, many are left wondering what they can do to cover their healthcare costs after losing coverage. Depending on your financial situation and your overall health, one of the following options may provide you with some relief.

ACA Exchange Plans

Those who have recently lost their jobs can look through the Affordable Care Act’s exchange to find new health insurance coverage. Losing health insurance through your employer is one of the events that qualify you to sign up for a new policy without having to wait for the open enrollment period.

Those who have recently lost their income could be eligible for government-sponsored cost-sharing programs or premium subsidies available to ACA exchange plan members. Anyone who is already insured through the exchange may apply for subsidies or choose a more affordable plan. To determine if you qualify for any government-sponsored programs and get more information about ACA Exchange Plans, you can visit Healthcare.gov.

COBRA

The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act allows recently unemployed workers to extend coverage from their former employer for up to 18 months. Most companies with over 20 full-time workers offer COBRA to their former employees and their family members. In most cases, you have 60 days to sign up.

The catch with COBRA, however, is that it can be expensive. You will be expected to pay the full premium cost as well as a portion of the premium your employer once paid for you. You are also responsible for any administrative fees that were paid by your employer in the past. Therefore, you can expect to see a significant increase in your premium costs if you choose COBRA for your health insurance coverage.

Medicaid

If you have endured a significant decrease in your monthly income, you may be eligible for Medicaid benefits. Recently 36 states have expanded their coverage and raise the threshold for which low-income individuals are eligible for Medicaid benefits.

Your Medicaid eligibility is based on your monthly income, unlike the ACA exchanges that base their monthly premiums and subsidies on your projected annual income. If you have recently lost your job, it would be worth seeing if you qualify for Medicaid.

Anyone over the age of 65 who didn’t sign up for Medicare Part B benefits because their employer’s plan still covered them may sign up for Part B if they recently lost their coverage due to losing their job.

Additional Solutions for Those Who have Lost Healthcare Coverage

If you are still looking for healthcare options after losing your job, there are a few more things to consider. If your spouse is still working and has a health insurance policy through their employer, you may qualify for a special open enrollment period under their plan.

Also, as part of the Affordable Care Act, adult children under the age of 26 are eligible for health care coverage under their parent’s plan. That means young adults who are age 25 and under who have lost their health insurance coverage through their place of employment should look into the possibility of getting coverage under their parent’s plan.

With so many people losing their health insurance coverage during this troubling time, it can be overwhelming. Most individuals are left wondering how they will pay for their routine doctor visits or how they will cover the cost of their prescriptions. Fortunately, a few options are available to help these individuals and their families make ends meet until things get better.

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