Tags: Coronavirus | health insurance | affordable care act | employment | enrollment | copay | premium

If You've Lost Your Health Plan, Here Are Some Options

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By    |   Friday, 12 June 2020 12:19 PM

Over 21 million Americans lost their jobs during the COVID-19 crisis, and along with losing their employment, many lost their healthcare plans. According to Mark Van Arnam, a North Carolina insurance consultant, these newly unemployed people may not realize they have options to regain or maintain health coverage.

Arnam, director of the North Carolina Navigator Consortium, a group of organizations that offers free help to state residents looking for insurance, told Kaiser Health News that while options are available, time is of the essence. Enrollment periods are limited.

According to the The Washington Post, millions of people are without health insurance and millions more will struggle to pay premiums and copays on their existing insurance.

One option is the Affordable Care Act, which gave 20 million Americans new access to quality health insurance and guaranteed that 135 million more with preexisting conditions are eligible. The ACA also has a Medicaid expansion that covers people whose income is 138% of the federal poverty line, which is $35,535 annually for a family of four, said the Post.

Arman said that that under federal law, losing your job qualifies you for a special enrollment period to get coverage under the ACA umbrella, but applicants must provide documentation of prior job-based coverage. Applicants also must apply within 60 days after they lose their jobs, according to Kaiser Health News.

Arnam added that many states offer their own insurance marketplaces, and the window for enrollment may already have been shut. Some states, on the other hand, have extended the special enrollment period. For example, in California, special enrollment will remain open until at least June 30.

Medicaid is another option for many applicants, according to Kaiser Health News. This federal-state joint program does not require a special enrollment period and applicants can apply anytime based on income and other qualifying factors. Arnam warned that maximum income levels can vary from state to state.

COBRA, the acronym for the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, is another option. You can stay on your former employer’s health insurance plan under this law, but you must pay the full cost of premiums yourself. Congress is considering a full or partial subsidy, according to Kaiser Health News. The deadline to enroll in COBRA has been extended until 60 days after the COVID-19 emergency ends.

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Over 21 million Americans lost their jobs during the COVID-19 crisis, and along with losing their employment, many lost their healthcare plans. According to Mark Van Arnam, a North Carolina insurance consultant, these newly unemployed people may not realize they have...
health insurance, affordable care act, employment, enrollment, copay, premium, cobra
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2020-19-12
Friday, 12 June 2020 12:19 PM
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