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How to get health insurance if you lose your job due to coronavirus

If due to coronavirus you have lost your job and payments in connection with this, then you will have one more problem added to your existing problems - the lack of health insurance, writes The Penny Hoarder.

Photo: Shutterstock

According to the Institute for Economic Policy, 49% of Americans received insurance through their employers. But by the end of summer, the economic situation due to coronavirus caused a reduction of 3 million jobs.

If you are afraid of losing your job, or if this has already happened, then the issue of obtaining insurance should be quite acute.

Looking ahead, we note that the risk of losing your job should not stop you from taking a coronavirus test if you suddenly have dangerous symptoms.

On March 18, the US Congress passed the Family Coronavirus Response Act, which provides free COVID-19 testing, regardless of whether you have insurance.

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However, the law does not cover the costs of coronavirus treatment if you do not have insurance. And COVID-19 is just one of the possible problems, otherwise how will you pay for your other medical services?

So how do you get health insurance if you lose your job due to a pandemic? There are several options:

Employer Insurance Extension

The possibility of this option depends entirely on your severance pay upon dismissal. One of its points may be the extension of medical insurance for a certain period, which is prescribed in the contract. If you haven’t signed anything yet, then it’s worth clarifying whether there is such a clause in your agreement with the employer and, if not, whether it can be entered.

Such a bonus is a short-term solution to the problem, so do not delay the search for a new job.

COBRA

The Consolidated Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 (COBRA) was signed by President Ronald Reagan. Its essence is that after dismissal, employees have the right to renew the insurance. This option is often available for companies with a staff of 20 or more. COBRA grants employees 60 days after termination - during which time they must decide whether to renew their health insurance. Even if initially a person refused this opportunity - within a specified period, he can change his mind.

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If you work for a company with fewer than 20 employees, you should contact your state insurance commissariat to find out if mini-COBRA coverage is available in your area.

You can extend insurance for up to 18 months. Your spouse, as well as people who are dependent on you, can also use health insurance for up to three years, depending on a number of circumstances.

But there are pitfalls.

Payment of the amount that the employer spent to cover your insurance will now fall on your shoulders.

Say, if your corporate insurance cost $ 400 per month, and the employer covered only 60% of this amount, then now you have to pay $ 1000 plus 2% for administrative expenses.

Most likely, these will be unaffordable expenses in a pandemic situation, but if you really liked your insurance, then on such conditions you can continue to use it.

"Health Exchange"

Registration in the program for 2020 is already closed, but if you have lost your job recently, you can do it in a specially set 60-day period for submitting documents. If you miss this period, the next application will be possible only from November 1 to December 15 of the next year.

Note that the submission deadlines coincide with COBRA, so you should decide which program suits you best.

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The program offers several insurance plans, the basic one, or silver, costs $ 462 per month. But the amount can change if you, like 87% of Americans, have any other payments, subsidies, shares in the business, etc. The final cost of insurance depends on the availability of private property, annual income and benefits that are due to you.

Fill out an application for Onlineto find out what insurance program they can offer you.

Before signing insurance documents, make sure that the policy covers COVID-19 treatment.

What to do if you have already lost health insurance

The cost of coverage under COBRA or a Health Insurance Marketplace (“Health Exchanges”) program may seem so high that you might start thinking about ditching insurance altogether.

In the current situation in the country, because of the coronavirus, this is definitely not worth doing! The cost of treatment in case of infection with coronavirus can be several times higher than insurance payments.

Some states have decided to officially extend insurance for citizens during a pandemic. You can find out if this works in your area at Online.

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However, if you really can't afford to pay for insurance, there are a few important steps worth taking.

If your previous coverage included contributions to a medical savings account, you can now use those funds to cover medical expenses even after your policy expired. You can also continue to deposit money into this account. The funds in this account are yours only and will accumulate, unlike the Flexible Spending Account, which works on the principle of “funds must be used or they will“ burn out ”.

Some states, such as New York, have suspended collection of medical debts. Read more about this on Online.

If you still had to seek emergency medical care without insurance, then you may have to go into debt. If you feel unwell, but postpone a visit to a doctor, then later on your treatment costs may increase significantly.

Its useful to note. that medical institutions, unlike banks and other lenders, do not always report your debts to a credit bureau. So, your credit rating will not suffer.

Always find out in advance about the cost of treatment and the possibility of participating in discount programs in order to avoid an unpleasant surprise in the future by receiving bills from the hospital.

As ForumDaily wrote earlier:

 

 

 

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