What To Do If You Lose Insurance Coverage During The Coronavirus Pandemic

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The flaws — and ironies — in our healthcare system have been laid bare for the whole world to see, but our leaders are doing absolutely nothing about it. Tens of millions of people recently lost their jobs (about one-fifth of the American workforce), and most will lose their health coverage as a result. How aggravating is it to lose coverage because of coronavirus, the very thing that requires people have health coverage?

Employer-provided insurance does not work. That should be obvious to everyone living through this time.

Professor of healthcare law Allison Hoffman from University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School says options are limited, but you might have them. Hoffman explained, “For those lucky enough, a spouse or domestic partner might have job-based coverage that allows for a family coverage.”

Young adults under 26 can also get on their parent’s plan thanks to Obamacare — which is another option. The Affordable Care Act provides a marketplace to shop around for insurance online, although the plans at certain pricepoints aren’t that great and might not be affordable to all. But if you can find one that is both affordable and works for you, now might be the time to opt in.

For those who have little income, Medicaid is a good option. Federal laws determine who is or is not eligible to opt into the system, so now might be your chance to see if you qualify — even temporarily. State laws come into play as well. Some go above and beyond when offering coverage, but federal law prohibits states from going below a certain bar. 

COBRA is available for those who wish to continue employer-based coverage but lost their job. This means you will pay the expense for that coverage out-of-pocket rather than rely on your employer to pay for some of it. COBRA premiums are almost always extremely expensive, and rarely a good option if you’re out of work.

Still, if you’re only temporarily unemployed, Obamacare, Medicaid, or COBRA might be your best options.