Finding Health Insurance When COVID-19 Puts You Out of a Job
The detrimental impacts of COVID-19 affect us all, whether you have contracted the illness or not. In just two months, the economic fallout is already shaking the nation with many businesses closing and uncertain as to whether they will be unable to reopen once the pandemic subsides. Even those businesses that are not closing their doors are laying off or reducing the hours for large sectors of their employees. The unemployment and underemployment rates have taken a sharp upward turn, and there is no sign of the trend reversing.
For those who have yet to lose their jobs, there is an ever-present worry over how quickly their time will come. When people lose their jobs, they are not just losing income. For a majority of Americans, a job loss means a forfeiture of employee benefits. The most critical of these amid the coronavirus pandemic is health insurance.
Loss of Coverage
Current projections indicate that a majority of people in the U.S. will be infected at some point. For those who fall within high-risk demographics, maintaining a good healthcare plan is especially critical. What are your options if you lose your job and health insurance? For most people, there are two viable choices: COBRA and marketplace insurance, but making the best decision for you can be an overwhelming prospect. A health insurance broker can help you navigate your choices.
Continuation of Coverage
If you received healthcare benefits through your employer, chances are you are eligible for COBRA if the company had more than 20 full-time employees. COBRA coverage allows you to maintain the plan you were on while employed for up to 18 months. You have two months after your last day of employment to decide on continuing your current health insurance policy.
The obvious benefit in this option is that your insurance coverage remains unchanged. The downside, however, is the cost. Instead of your employer paying at least a percentage of your policy payments, you will now be responsible for the entire monthly rate. This is likely a hard pill to swallow when you have lost your source of income.
Your second option is to turn to the marketplace. A job loss is a qualifying event that allows you to procure health insurance outside of the open enrollment period. You have two months after leaving your job to apply for health insurance on the marketplace. The average rate for marketplace policies is less expensive than COBRA, even without the subsidies most people qualify for, which is a tremendous advantage in opting for marketplace coverage. On the other hand, choosing the right plan to ensure you have the coverage you need during the COVID-19 pandemic can be daunting and time-consuming.
A Health Insurance Broker Can Assist You With Coverage Options
Losing a job in the middle of the crisis we are all currently experiencing is stressful, to say the least. The loss of employee benefits, especially health insurance, only serves to amplify the worry. Using a health insurance broker to navigate your options can alleviate some of the pressure for you. Please contact us at Sackett & Associates Insurance Services for more information on how we can help you with your health insurance needs.