What Can You Do If You Lose Your Health Insurance During the Coronavirus Crisis?
It is an understatement to say that we are living through an unprecedented time in our lives. The world we have known is at least temporarily halted with us facing many unknowns as we move forward.
While the Federal and State governments have been trying to proactively help us all, there are many things that are out of their control and, in most cases, yours.
One of the biggest is either being laid off or just outright being let go from your job/company.
Outside of the loss of income, many are also finding out that their health coverage is also disappearing.
The question we get asked daily is, "what are my options if I suddenly find myself without coverage"?
First, COBRA is not your only option, and secondly, take a deep breath, relax, and know that we are here to help.
Here is a simple list of options that you can consider with a little point/counterpoint to how good of a solution this may be for your current situation (Please know that this is not a political statement on any level but the reality of our current world):
1) COBRA: You may have heard this term before, and it stands for the “Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act.” If you have/had health insurance through your employer and are laid off or lose your job, you should be offered COBRA. The benefit is that it is the exact health insurance you currently have, and the bad news is that you are now going to pay for ALL of this coverage plus a small administration fee (remember you were paying for only a portion of this coverage and your employer paid the larger potion typically). For many, this is not something you can afford, especially if you just lost your job.
2) No Insurance: If you just lost your job, you could risk it and just not take COBRA or look for other options. The benefit is that you will save money on not having to pay for health coverage going forward, and the bad news is that if you get sick, you will have to PAY out of pocket for anything that happens to you or your family. Even a not so serious injury or a hospitalization could bankrupt the average person/family.
3) Obamacare/ACA coverage: As an individual/family without health insurance from an employer, you will qualify to get REAL health insurance through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) or what people call Obamacare. If you have lost your job, you have had a QLE (qualifying life event), which will give you instant access to either the Federal Health Insurance Exchange (also known as the Marketplace) or your state version depending on where you live. The benefit is that these are all plans that have to cover you if you have preexisting conditions and in many cases, you may qualify for a subsidy depending on your financial situation to help pay for some or even all of the premiums; the bad news is that there is not a true bad part outside of affordability if you do not qualify for a subsidy and unless you go through a reputable broker (like Lighthouse) you will have to navigate the Exchanges on your own which can be a daunting ordeal for most. Please note that as of this writing some states have opened their exchanges and there are rumors that the Federal Exchange will open back up for everyone.
4) Short-Term Coverage Options: An alternative to the ACA coverage is what is known as “short-term” or “off-exchange” plans. These are typically very affordable options for you and your family. The idea for the short term is that you can get coverage for a specific length of time, so they are a good option if you are looking for a short-term solution. The benefits are that these plans are typically affordable and give you many of the same options and coverage that you will get with an ACA plan. You can purchase these plans at any time of year (i.e., no need for a QLE), the “bad” part is if you have a preexisting condition you may not qualify for a short-term option (there are other limitations, and that is why you want to talk with our licensed advisors to see if this is a good option for you).
5) Medicaid: You may qualify for free or low-cost care through Medicaid based on income and family size. In all states, Medicaid provides health coverage for some low-income people, families, and children, pregnant women, the elderly, and people with disabilities. The benefit is that depending on your financial and family situation, you may qualify for this type of coverage, and there is not a “bad” thing about Medicaid if you or your family qualify.
6) Medicare: If you are 65 or over and have lost your job where you were on a group health plan, you should qualify to get Medicare. The benefit is that if you are 65 or over, this is the best option for you, and you will want to make sure you also get the correct Medicare Supplemental coverage to make sure you will need it. Talking with our team of licensed advisors can help guide you on the right options for you and your family in this situation.
7) Other Health Coverage Options: If you had a group health plan through a job, you might have also had other health coverage options like vision, dental, life insurance, critical illness that went along with your major medical plan. If you want to continue having these types of coverage options, you will not have access to them through the ACA/Obamacare and will need to purchase these separately. The team at Lighthouse can also find you these types of affordable options to ensure that you have similar coverage to what you had while employed.
The point to all this is that you do have options when it comes to having health insurance if you have lost your job. While you can do some of this on your own, it is my opinion that now is the time to ASK FOR HELP!
If you go to a reputable health insurance broker, they should be able to guide you through this process. Remember that no broker should be charging you any extra fees outside of your premiums, and you should pick a broker that has access to all available insurance carriers rather than just one or two plan options.
The team at Lighthouse Insurance Group is this type of broker. We are licensed in all 50 states and can help guide you through this process to find the coverage options that best fit your needs today and in the future.
Our licensed advisors will help you concierge style get direct access to individuals, families, and businesses/employees coverage options with ACA Major Medical, Short Term Policies, Vision, Dental, Critical Care, Supplemental Insurance Coverage and Small Group/Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs) programs across the entire country.
If we can assist you in finding excellent and affordable HEALTH insurance options to help protect you and your family or if you want to discuss other coverages, please call us at 866-229-9888.
You can also visit www.LIGmembers.com/LIGcares for updates or to schedule an appointment with our licensed advisor team.
Thank you, and we hope that you and your family stay safe and healthy.