The COVID-19 pandemic has claimed hundreds of thousands of lives and the livelihoods of millions of people worldwide. Nearly 8 million Americans have lost their jobs due to this pandemic, resulting in them losing their employer-sponsored health insurance. This insurance also covered their dependents, which totals almost twice the number of laid-off employees. Even though these people’s primary concern is survival, they could qualify for subsidized health care for the upcoming year, which falls under the umbrella of the Affordable care act. Here’s how:
Checking your eligibility for Medicaid
39 States in the country cover unemployed Americans under Medicaid. The qualification metric for Medicaid is if a household earns annually 138 percent of the FPL (federal poverty level), which equals $17,609 per year. If you do not qualify for Medicaid, then you should explore the Affordable care act marketplace. Do note that ACA has an enrollment period, unlike Medicaid, which is open throughout the year. Your Children, however, can qualify for Medicaid. Check Healthcare.gov to know if they are eligible.
The Case Pending in the Supreme Court will not affect your coverage for a while
A case is being heard in the supreme court, which might change or abolish the Affordable care act. However, it will take some time to finish. In the meantime, you can apply for the ACA. Those who get their insurance under the ACA can also keep it for a while, maybe even after it has been repealed.
Navigating through the ACA Marketplace
There are some states that have ACA marketplace of their own, while many do not, and they use the federal, Healthcare.gov website. You can look up your state to see which category you fall under. You will be asked for your income that might be expected in 2021.
If you are out of employment, you can enter $12,760 considering an individual person while $17,240 considering the couple. The website will compare your income to your last filed tax returns, and if your income is different from that, then it will give you some subsidies but may require you additional documentation. This documentation may include something that can prove your unemployment or maybe a letter that explains your earnings decline. Incase the documentations are not provided, the subsidies will be revoked in ninety days.
Switching Cobra is possible and it is never too late
COBRA lets employees at companies that employ more than 20 employees get health insurance for almost eighteen months after them being laid off. If you had chosen COBRA, believing you would have a job lined up in a few months but are still without jobs, then you can opt-out of it during the open enrollment period for ACA. This will save you from paying the expensive premium of COBRA.
The open enrollment for the Affordable Care Act has already begun and will last till 15 December. If you are unemployed, then do apply to take advantage of the subsidies offered by it.