Millions of Americans are currently facing the daunting reality of coronavirus induced unemployment due to being laid off or fired. For a majority of these people, job loss comes with the additional burden of losing their employer-based health insurance coverage. If you are one of these people, you may have other options to help protect yourself while searching for a new job.
Losing employer-based coverage is considered a life changing event, and it may qualify you for a 60-day Special Enrollment Period. This means, if you lost your job within the past 60 days, you can enroll in an Affordable Care Act (ACA) health plan. If you miss this window, you will have to wait until the 2021 Open Enrollment Period which will start on Sunday, November 1st and end on Tuesday, December 15th, 2020.
If you want to take advantage of the Special Enrollment period, then quickly enroll in an ACA plan before the 60-day time frame is gone.
ACA plans are required to cover pre-existing conditions. In order to meet this requirement and to cover other benefits, such as maternity care, you might need to qualify for a subsidy to help with the costs. Not everybody qualifies for savings while searching for an ACA plan. These government tax credits towards your monthly premium are based on a few factors such as income, age, and household size.
A cheaper and temporary solution to tide you over till your next job may exist in the form of Short-Term Health Insurance. You can enroll in this program at any time – no waiting necessary. If you missed the 60-day window for special enrollment, or you need quick coverage then this might be your best option. Short-term plans may cost you less than Marketplace coverage. It is cheaper than major medical plans and best suited for Americans who had their hours cut or laid off.
CoverPlusHealth provides an online platform for access to free health insurance quotes and offers multiple carriers to meet your short-term health insurance purchasing needs.
Healthy people especially will benefit from short-term health plan’s low premiums. The length of the coverage period can range from 30 days to 12 months, and it is renewable.
It is important to note that short-term health coverage is not required to cover minimum health benefits such as mental health care, pregnancy and maternal care, or preventative services. They also do not cover pre-existing conditions.
However, if you have no coverage and are looking for possibly low premiums, then short-term health is a great option to consider.
You may also have the option to continue the coverage that you had from your employment. Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) is a federal law that might let you keep your employee health insurance for a limited time. However, you will have to pay the full premium yourself, and there will be a fee associated with your coverage.
COBRA coverage may cost you more than if you decide to enroll in a short-term health plan.
If you have lost your job recently then you are not alone. COVID-19 has put millions of Americans in a vulnerable situation. The most important step you can take right now is to plan ahead and get health insurance coverage to better safeguard yourself and your loved ones. Dust off your resume and reach out to your personal and professional network to secure a new job, better understand your options, and get health insurance coverage now.
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