05-15-2020 Healthcare

What to Do if You Lost Employer Health Insurance

Almost 50% of Americans rely on employer-sponsored healthcare insurance1. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many people are now without a job or health insurance. As of April 30, the Economic Policy Institute reported 9.2 million people lost their coverage2.

Fortunately, there are ways to reduce your healthcare costs and find coverage if you are unemployed. We’ve compiled some resources to help you get started. For questions regarding health insurance, contact services such as USA.gov for assistance.

1. Apply for Coverage Through a Marketplace

Finding coverage can be a complicated process, but HealthCare.gov lists several options if you are unemployed3. Your household size and income will determine what healthcare plans are available to you. You may qualify for Medicaid, Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), or a Marketplace insurance plan.

If you lost your employer health insurance within the last 60 days, you may qualify for a Special Enrollment Period. Visit HealthCare.gov for coverage information and resources relating to the COVID-19 pandemic4.

2. See if Your Family’s Plan is an Option

Loss of employer-sponsored health coverage is considered a qualifying life event, so you may be able to join a family member’s plan outside of open enrollment. If you are under the age of 26, the Affordable Care Act allows you to join your parents’ healthcare plan. If your spouse or partner has employer-sponsored healthcare, you can enroll on their plan5.

3. Research Low-Cost Healthcare

Community health clinics can provide free or low-cost services such as prenatal care, vaccinations, and primary care. Some clinics may also be able to provide referrals for specialized treatment, such as mental health treatment. Importantly, you should contact the clinic before you visit to make sure they offer the services that you need. Find health centers in your area

4. Reduce Medication Costs

Understandably, you may be concerned about prescription costs without health insurance. It’s important to continue taking your medications, even if you lack coverage. You should not stop taking prescribed medications without consulting your physician first. Fortunately, there are ways you can reduce your prescription costs.

Start with comparing drug prices to ensure you’re paying the lowest price. Prices can vary from pharmacy to pharmacy. The good news is that it is free and easy at www.AmericasPharmacy.com

You may be able to save on your medication with a prescription discount card or coupon. With the America’s Pharmacy program, consumers can save up to 80% on their medications at over 62,000 pharmacies. It’s an entirely free program with no eligibility requirements, so consumers can start using their card or coupon instantly.

Even if you have insurance, it never hurts to double check the price of your prescription. While you can’t use a discount card and insurance together, America’s Pharmacy prices are often lower than insurance.

5. Start an Emergency Fund When You Can

When you can, you should consider setting aside funds in the event of an unexpected medical emergency or change in employment. If you are unemployed right now, plan to make this a priority when your financial situation is stable. Every dollar counts, and even a small emergency fund can help.

Healthcare can be expensive, but it’s also one of the most critical things you’ll ever invest in. Preventative measures are often cheaper than treating a major condition, so make sure you continue to take your medications and visit your doctor at least once a year. If you are recently unemployed or you expect to become unemployed, look into other coverage options and resources to help you save.

Sources:

  1. https://www.ehealthinsurance.com/resources/small-business/how-many-americans-get-health-insurance-from-their-employer
  2. https://www.epi.org/blog/9-2-million-workers-likely-lost-their-employer-provided-health-insurance-in-the-past-four-weeks/
  3. https://www.healthcare.gov/unemployed/coverage/
  4. https://www.healthcare.gov/coronavirus/
  5. https://www.webmd.com/health-insurance/features/health-spouse