In the last several weeks over 30 million people have lost their job in the US. People are being laid-off, with some companies choosing to furlough their employees. Now, more than ever, it is important to make sure that you still have medical coverage. To understand your options, it’s important to know what happened with your job.
If an employee is laid-off, it’s the same as being terminated and you should receive your final paycheck, PTO payout, etc. If an employee is furloughed, you have not lost the job, but you have essentially been given leave without pay. It’s important to know which category you fall into to know what options you have for you and your family’s medical coverage.
If you were laid-off you have a few options. You may continue staying on your company’s plan through COBRA. While this will ensure that you have coverage (for up to 18 months, typically), COBRA plans can be costly with you paying up to 102% of the full premium. This is likely to be far more than what you are used to paying because you no longer have an employer contributing to the cost of coverage.
Another option would be to get individual coverage, which can range from a short-term policy to coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace. The cost of this can vary depending on your circumstances. If you are healthy, you can get coverage through an underwritten policy. The Miller Group’s Individual Medical Specialist, April Greig, can help with this. If you qualify, these costs are typically about 50% less than COBRA. For more information, visit our Individual Healthcare page on The Miller Group website.
While you may not be getting paid during this time, employers may choose to keep your medical coverage active. No action is required on your part and your costs remain the same. If they terminate coverage, they must give you notice and you would qualify for any of the previously discussed options.
Medicaid and CHIP:
If you are unemployed, you may qualify for free or low-cost coverage through the Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program. It’s important to note however, that these programs are income based. You may not qualify just because you are unemployed. For more information, visit: healthcare.gov.
By April Greig, Individual Medical Specialist, The Miller Group