The health and lives of people from around the globe have been affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. If you are one of the millions of people who lost a job and/or health insurance because of COVID-19, this is an especially challenging time. We’re here to help.
It’s very important that you take care of your health and the health of your family, and be prepared for any unexpected issues. There are options to make sure you don’t go without care. Let’s take the first step together.
Are you eligible for assistance?
Did you know you may qualify for assistance to ensure you have some form of healthcare coverage? This could be Medicaid, a free or low-cost health coverage plan that covers millions of Americans, including some low-income people, families and children, pregnant women, the elderly and people with disabilities, or it could be financial assistance to help cover the cost of health insurance. This is called a subsidy and it’s not a loan, so you don't have to pay it back.
See if you qualify for assistance with your healthcare costs by using this helpful interactive calculator, or go to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) marketplace, healthcare.gov. This is the federal health insurance marketplace, also known as an exchange, where you can get coverage and find answers to your questions.
Options to join COBRA after job loss
If you had insurance through your job you may have the option to keep your health insurance through COBRA. This is a program that allows eligible employees and their family members to receive health insurance after job loss or a reduction in work hours.
Before you choose COBRA, consider looking at other options. You might find a less expensive healthcare plan and/or subsidies through healthcare.gov.
To get started go to healthcare.gov and click “Get Coverage.” You can choose the name of your state from a drop-down menu. If your state has its own marketplace, you’ll be automatically taken to that site. If your state doesn’t have its own health insurance marketplace, you’ll be prompted to apply on the healthcare.gov site.
Are you eligible for Medicaid?
You can qualify for Medicaid based on income, household size, disability, family status, and other factors. Eligibility rules differ between states. In the 36 states that have expanded Medicaid coverage you can qualify based on your income alone. If your household income is below 138% of the federal poverty level, you may qualify. Even if you don't qualify for Medicaid based on income, you should apply. You may qualify for your state's program, especially if you have children, are pregnant or have a disability. You can apply for Medicaid any time of year — Medicaid and CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program) do not have open enrollment periods.
The best way to apply is through the marketplace or your state Medicaid office.
Let’s say you’re not eligible for Medicaid because you have a higher monthly income, but you don’t have health insurance. You may be able to get insurance through the marketplaces. While the 2020 open enrollment period has ended, losing your healthcare coverage and other qualifying events make you eligible to enroll for coverage.
Additionally, eleven states and D.C. have opened their marketplaces for a special-enrollment period because of the pandemic. If your income is between 100-400% of the federal poverty level ($12,760 for an individual and $26,200 for a family of four) you qualify for premium tax credits or subsidies that lower your monthly premium for a marketplace health insurance plan. Go to healthcare.gov, click “See if I can enroll,” and then enter your zip code.
We understand how difficult it can be to lose your job and health insurance, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. You’re not alone in this. We’re here, offering resources and support that can help you navigate this challenging time.
As a healthcare provider, we know that well-being is about more than just healthcare. It’s about ensuring equity of care for everyone by providing access to a comprehensive suite of social and health services.