Did You Lose Your Health Insurance Because Of The Coronavirus Pandemic Coverage Options For Laid
Vice President, Health Care Coverage and Access, The Commonwealth Fund
Vice President, Health Care Coverage and Access, The Commonwealth Fund
The millions of people who lose their health insurance along with their jobs because of the coronavirus pandemic can sign up for coverage through the Affordable Care Act marketplaces
The first thing to do after losing your job or if you are uninsured is to check out your coverage options at HealthCare.gov
More than 26 million people filed unemployment claims with the U.S. Department of Labor over the five-week period ending April 18. This unprecedented number of filings may climb if more businesses lay off workers as the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic continues. Forecasters estimate that the unemployment rate could hit 20 percent for the month of April. For context, during the Great Depression, unemployment peaked at 25 percent.
Millions of workers who have lost their jobs also will lose their health insurance. The potential severity of COVID-19 means that being uninsured could leave people at risk for catastrophic health care costs. Here are some key things people who lose their jobs or who are currently uninsured should know.
Work Requirements And Medicaid In 2018 And Beyond
In January 2018, the Trump administration allowed for the states to create and implement new eligibility requirements for adults without children or disabilities. These new requirements now allow states to remove Medicaid coverage from childless adults, who are not disabled, who do not have jobs, or are not involved in work-related or volunteer programs.
According to the Pew Charitable Trusts, since 2017, at least 15 states have either applied for or received permission to impose work requirements. The nonpartisan research and policy Center on Budget and Policy Priorities reported that in 2018, Arkansas, the first state to implement the new requirements, removed over 18,000 Medicaid beneficiaries off the rolls because they no longer met the new guidelines.
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Reduced Coverage / Medicare Cost Sharing Or Premium Payment
Qualified Medicare BeneficiariesCovered group: individuals covered by MedicareIncome limits: Income cannot exceed 100% of the federal poverty level. For more information, view the Guidelines for Medicare Cost-Sharing Programs brochure.Age: Medicare beneficiaries of any ageQualifications: Individuals must be eligible for Medicare Part A hospital insurance.
Specified Low-Income Medicare BeneficiariesCovered group: individuals covered by MedicareIncome limits: Income cannot exceed 135% of the federal poverty level. For more information, view the Guidelines for Medicare Cost-Sharing Programs brochure.Age: Medicare beneficiaries of any ageQualifications: Individuals must have Medicare Part A
Qualified IndividualsCovered group: individuals covered by MedicareIncome limits: Income cannot exceed 135% of the federal poverty level. For more information, view the Guidelines for Medicare Cost-Sharing Programs brochure.Age: Medicare beneficiaries of any ageQualifications: Individuals must have Medicare Part A
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Learn About Marketplace Health Insurance Plans
If your income is low or youre currently unemployed, shopping for health insurance through the Marketplace may be financially beneficial for you. The Marketplace offers tax breaks and discounts on health insurance plans for individuals who are on a tight budget, unemployed, or earn a low-income. The price of the health insurance plans is based on the number of people in your household and your yearly income. The health insurance Marketplace doesnt take into consideration if youre employed or not, so you can still qualify for low-cost coverage without a full-time job.
During regular health insurance enrollment periods, you can access the Marketplace website and input your household details and yearly income. The website will then display health insurance plans that you qualify for, so you can see your options. These health insurance plans will have different coverage options, so its important to review their details to make sure you choose a plan that suits you best. The Marketplace website will also take the details of your household and let you know if you qualify for Medicaid coverage. States are constantly expanding the reach of Medicaid, so its a good idea to keep checking back on the website to see if you can qualify for this program.
I Lost My Job During The Pandemic My Only Income Is From Unemployment Insurance Benefits Is There Affordable Coverage For Me
There are new affordable coverage options for you under the American Rescue Plan, depending on where you live:
Medicaid: In most states, you may be able qualify for no-cost/low-cost public health plan coverage under Medicaid. Eligibility is based on current household income. If your income is no more than 138% FPL you can qualify. To be eligible for Medicaid, you also must be a US citizen or lawfully-present immigrant who meets other requirements.
In 2021, people receiving UI benefits can qualify for specially enhanced subsidies for marketplace plans. Eligibility for marketplace subsidies is based on your annual income. However, during 2021 only, if you will receive UI benefits for even one week during the year, the marketplace will disregard your household income above 133% FPL That means you will qualify for a zero-premium benchmark silver plan, after accounting for your premium tax credit. In addition, you will qualify for cost sharing reductions that substantially reduce the silver plan deductible .
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What Coverage Can Families Without Job
Everyones circumstances are different, but in general people can qualify for a few different kinds of comprehensive coverage in the aftermath of losing a job and job-based coverage.
An initial assessment of the kind of coverage a family qualifies for requires three pieces of information: 1) the state of residence, 2) the households monthly income right now including some of their unemployment insurance benefit, 3) the households projected annual income for the entire calendar year, including from earnings before losing a job, from all unemployment insurance, and from income they expect to earn at a new job later in the year.
Monthly income and annual income are calculated according to different rules, which are particularly confusing because of some new rules related to COVID-19:
An estimate of monthly and annual income allows an assessment of what coverage a household may be eligible for.
Can You Have Medicaid And Medicare
Yes! This is known as dual eligibility, and most of your health care costs are likely covered. Medicare is typically considered to be the primary insurance , and Medicaid is the payer of last resort.
Medicaid pays only after Medicare, employer group health plans, and a Medicare Supplement insurance have paid. Note: If you qualify for Medicaid and your income/circumstances are unlikely to change, you should not need supplemental insurance.
Medicaid helps Medicare beneficiaries with Medicare premiums and cost-sharing. Also, it provides many of them with benefits not covered by Medicare, such as help with long-term care needs, some medications, or eyeglasses.
If you, as a Medicare beneficiary, qualify for Medicaid, you are automatically eligible for Extra Help, a Medicare program to help pay for drug costs like premiums, copays, and deductibles.
Some states and health plans offer Medicare-Medicaid plans for certain people who have both Medicare and Medicaid to make it easier to get the services they need.
As with anything that is Medicaid related, contact your state agency for assistance.
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Employer/insurance Carrier Requests Examination By A Health Care Provider
- Your employer/insurance carrier may designate a health care provider to examine you. You must submit to requested examinations under the following conditions:
- Exams may occur at intervals, but not more than once a week.
- You do not pay for the exams.
- Exams occur at a reasonable time and place.
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Spouses Or Parents Health Insurance Plan
We saved this option for last for a reason. Sometimes, being on your spouses plan isnt the most cost-effective option in typical circumstancesthats why you arent already on the same plan! And most people dont actually want to put their health care burden on a parent. But lets face itit could be the right move for a season.
If youre unemployed and married and your spouse has health insurance through their employer, you can be included on their policy in most cases. Or if youre under 26 years old, youre legally eligible to be included on your parents insurance policy.4
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How Do You Apply For Snap Benefits
SNAP is a federal program, but its administered at the state or county level. You need to apply in the state where you live. Some states have re-named the program: for example, CalFresh in California or Basic Food in Washington. You can find information for each states program.
In response to the COVID-19 crisis, many states have:
- Made it easier for people to apply for benefits
- Extended the certification periods for re-affirming eligibility
- Temporarily increased benefit levels up to the maximum allotment based on family size
Additionally, the federal government suspended the three-month time limit on receiving SNAP benefits for unemployed adults without dependent children.
Is Medicaid A Good Option
If you lose your health insurance, Blumberg says the first thing you should do is check to see whether youre eligible for Medicaid. And if you qualify, she recommends absolutely opting into it. Medicaid can essentially get you very comprehensive insurance coverage at virtually no cost to the family, she says.
Medicaid is a joint federal and state program that provides low-cost and often free coverage to eligible Americans. Medicaid generally has no premiums and copayments, and unlike COBRA or other insurance, you can enroll in it year-round. You can also cancel Medicaid at any point in the year and go back on employer-sponsored insurance if you find a new job.
Medicaid eligibility varies by state, although federal law requires states to cover certain groups, including low-income families, eligible pregnant women and children, and people on Supplemental Security Income .
If you live in those 14 states, your options are going to be much more limited. In most non-expansion states you cant get Medicaid if you dont have a dependent child, dont qualify for SSI and are under the age of 65. Most people who lose a job wont qualify, Hoffman writes. A parent to a minor child might qualify, but only if household income is extremely low for this year.
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When Should You Use Cobra
COBRA is usually not the most cost-effective way to get health insurance. We recommend that you only use it for a few months or in the following situations:
- Stopgap to continue coverage while waiting for another policy to begin.
- To keep using a plan’s benefits when you’re receiving ongoing health care and you’ve already met the plan’s deductible or out-of-pocket maximum. In this situation, the higher monthly costs of a COBRA plan are offset by lower medical costs because the plan details carry forward when it switches from employer coverage to COBRA.
Can A Non Citizen Get Medicare
Specifically, you will qualify for Medicare even if you are not a U.S. citizen if you qualify to receive or currently receive Social Security retirement benefits, Railroad Retirement Benefits , or Social Security Disability Insurance . In any of these cases, you will qualify for premium-free Part A.
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Social Security And Supplemental Security Income Benefits
Social Security and Supplemental Security Income benefits are suspended after 30 days of incarceration.
However, formerly incarcerated people are eligible for reinstatement upon release by applying at a local Social Security office.
There are many different grants that people who were previously incarcerated can apply for.
Whether you are starting a business or getting back on your feet, there are many options waiting to help.
Medicare recipients continue to be eligible for benefits during their incarceration.
However, after 30 days, SSDI payments, which are usually tied to Medicare, will stop.
Upon your release, you can have your SSDI and Medicare coverage reinstated.
Get On Your Spouse’s Domestic Partner’s Or Parent’s Health Insurance
If your spouse or domestic partner’s job offers health insurance coverage to employees’ spouses and dependents, getting added to their plan can be a simple solution.
A spouse’s or partner’s health insurance is a known quantity: Your spouse is already familiar with the benefits, costs and deductibles, and knows the level of coverage, which can help in assessing its value. On the other hand, if their coverage doesn’t fit your needs, you may want to explore other options.
Normally, you can enroll in health insurance only once a year, during “open enrollment,” which takes place in the fall. However, leaving your job is considered a qualifying event, and gives you 30 days to sign up for your spouse’s or partner’s plan no matter the time of year. You’ll need to complete an application and may need to provide proof that you are losing your health insurance.
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How Ssi Is Impacted By Unemployment Benefits
So, can you collect unemployment and disability from SSI? Similar to SSDI benefits, you might have a problem if you are claiming on your SSI application that you are unable to work yet you are applying for jobs while receiving unemployment benefits. The other consideration here is that SSI payments require you to have limited income and resources. If you receive unemployment benefits, then you might be making too much money to receive SSI benefits as well. This could present a problem for SSI beneficiaries. You should know that the Social Security Administration has access to your unemployment records, so they can stop your SSI payments if you start earning too much unemployment income.
I Am Now Unemployed How Can I Find Health Insurance
Health coverage options are available for people who have recently been laid off or lost their employer sponsored health insurance benefits:
- Granite Advantage Health Care Program: Medicaid Expansion coverage for no or low income individuals, ages 19-64
- Childrenâs Medical Assistance
You can enroll in the Granite Advantage Program or other Medicaid Programs if you are low or no income and need health coverage. There are also Medicaid programs available for children, pregnant women, and the medically frail.
- Learn more about the Granite Advantage Program
- Enroll in the Granite Advantage Program or Medicaid coverage through NH Easy or HealthCare.gov.
- There are several Medicaid Managed Care plans to choose from. Do your research to make sure that the plan you choose includes your preferred medical providers.
Health Insurance Marketplace
You can purchase medical and dental plans for yourself and/or your family on HealthCare.gov.
- How do I know if I qualify for the Marketplace outside of the Open Enrollment Period?
- HealthCare.gov provides Special Enrollment Periods for people who may have recently lost their employer sponsored health insurance coverage.
- You can apply for the SEP 60 days before they know their coverage will end and 60 days from the date you lost coverage.
- If you do not apply 60 days from the date your health insurance terminated, you will not be able to take advantage of the SEP.
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What Is The Time Limit For Unemployment
In most states, you may receive unemployment for up to 26 weeks. In some situations, the government might decide to extend those benefits. The COVID pandemic is a great example. With so many people losing their jobs, unemployment rates rose quickly. In that case, the government decided to extend unemployment benefits as well as add an extra amount onto each payment. But can you draw unemployment if you have filed for disability? Yes, you can, but your application for disability might be denied due to the fact that you are certifying that you are willing and able to work on your unemployment claim.
Your Options Depend On Your Household Income
When you apply for Marketplace coverage youll estimate your income for the current calendar year.
- How to estimate your income if youre unemployed
Its hard to predict your annual income if youre unemployed. Still, its important to make your best estimate based on all current or expected sources of income for the year.
Types of income to include on your application:
- Unemployment compensation that you receive from your state. Visit CareerOneStop’s Unemployment Benefits Finder for more information about unemployment in your state.
- All household members income
- Additional types of income, including interest income, capital gains, and alimony
- Most withdrawals from traditional IRAs and 401ks. for information on non-deductible contributions, and IRS Publication 590-B for information on Roth accounts.)
Note: Its very important to immediatelyupdate your income information with the Marketplace if your income changes during the year. This will ensure you get the right amount of savings based on your new annual income estimate.
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Free Health Insurance For The Unemployed
If you’re unemployed, you could qualify for free health insurance through Medicaid. The state where you live can affect your eligibility. In order to qualify, you will need to meet your state’s criteria for income, disability or pregnancy. Learn more about Medicaid and CHIP, including what you’ll need to apply.
About The Childrens Health Insurance Program
Often referred to as CHIP, the Childrens Health Insurance Program is a good way to ensure your childrens health needs are covered, no matter how much income youre bringing in. As an unemployed resident, your children may qualify for CHIP coverage. Most routine health checkups are free under CHIP coverage, but there may be copayments for other services or prescription drugs. If you qualify for CHIP, you can sign up for coverage at any time of the year and start receiving benefits immediately.
CHIP focuses on keeping children healthy and well by helping cover: doctors visits, prescriptions, immunizations, X-rays, dental visits, vision checkups, emergency services, and other health care requirements as needed. The monthly premium required for CHIP differs in every state and depends on the funds available for the state. If there is enough government funding, the state is able to offer CHIP to families at no cost. If the program requires a premium, families are never charged more than five percent of their annual income for coverage.
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