It’s been a tough year for everyone. And if you’re like thousands of Americans, you’re also without a job right now. And while you’re probably knee-deep in job postings and doing your best to try and land virtual interviews, you have other worries on your mind. You have monthly bills to pay, a family to feed, and the holidays are just around the corner.
But there’s another expense you need to consider right now, too. It’s Open Enrollment time now, and health insurance options are just a click away. You don’t want to wait and miss the December 15th deadline to enroll. However, the prospect of signing up for another monthly expense when you don’t have any income might be nerve-wracking. But being unemployed doesn’t mean affordable health insurance isn’t within your reach.
You Have Options Regardless of How You Became Unemployed
The good news is, no matter what happened that led you to be unemployed, you still have health insurance options via the Marketplace. If you’re unemployed now, you can take advantage of plans available during the Open Enrollment period. But also, should you find yourself without work at any other time of the year, the event would afford you a Special Enrollment Period.
You Got Fired
Even if your employer officially fired you, you are still entitled to affordable health insurance. You could explore your health insurance options with the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) coverage through your former employer-provided plan. But those extension plans will require you to pay a hefty monthly premium. And without a job, you may find that figure a hard number to swallow. Or you could browse available plans on the Marketplace and sort by cost to see the plans that fit a monthly budget you can work with right now.
You’ve Been Laid Off
Through no doing or fault of your own, your employer is forced to cut back on staff and resources. Or it could be that your former company is one of the thousands forced to close their doors due to the pandemic. Countless Americans were furloughed temporarily, early on. But with the Paycheck Protection Program loan balances coming due and revenue losses felt across a multitude of industries, those temporary furloughs soon turned into permanent layoffs. Furloughed and laid-off workers are also eligible for health insurance via the ACA Marketplace.
You Quit or Resigned
Buying affordable health insurance on the Marketplace is available to you even if you’ve quit or resigned from your position willingly. Unlike some unemployment benefits, leaving on your own accord doesn’t affect your accessibility to affordable health care options. You’ll find as you browse plans on the Marketplace, quitting a job won’t change which coverage choices you’ll have from which to choose.
Programs Available to the Unemployed
Those who are facing a job loss or experiencing unemployment may have a few various options for program coverage and discounted health insurance plans.
Browse Low-Cost Premium Plans
When you’re unemployed, your priority may be to find a health insurance option that doesn’t cost a fortune. You can browse available plans on the Marketplace right now and calculate your potential tax subsidies. Because your annual income projections, based on your unemployment, will be lower than normal, you may qualify for substantial savings in monthly premiums. Once you identify your eligibility, you can search for available plans that you’ll more than likely find relatively affordable.
Medicaid & CHIP Options
Based on your personal information, with regard to income and family dynamics, you may qualify for Medicaid. Millions of Americans use Medicaid, including those with lower incomes and individuals with disabilities. Medicaid is usually administered at the state level but is coordinated by the federal government and based on federally-determined guidelines.
For those who are unemployed with children, the Children’s Health Insurance Program may be another option. This platform of health insurance options applies to those who may not qualify for Medicaid but still don’t earn enough to afford private health insurance costs. And in many states, CHIP also covers pregnant women. Your eligibility for CHIP isn’t determined by your employment. Instead, it’s based on your household size and projected income levels.
Short-Term & Catastrophic Health Insurance Plans
If you are 30 or younger and are facing serious financial hardships, you may qualify for a catastrophic health insurance plan. These plans are available via the Marketplace and feature extremely low-cost premiums. However, you’ll pay more out-of-pocket should you experience health-related issues that require doctor visits, scans, or treatments. Short-term health insurance may be another option, especially if you anticipate getting back to work soon and just need a plan for the first few months of 2021. These plans are forbidden in some states and don’t usually cover everything other comprehensive plans do. So, before you make your decision, be mindful of what each plan offers.
Now Is the Time to Enroll
If you find yourself unemployed now, you can visit the Marketplace and enroll in a plan straight away. Open Enrollment is happening now and will remain open for Americans to find affordable health insurance options through December 15th.
If you don’t take advantage of the Open Enrollment period now, you could find yourself without health insurance coverage for 2021. Once the window closes, you won’t be able to shop for plans, explore potential subsidies, or enroll in coverage unless you apply and qualify for a Special Enrollment Period. Special Enrollment Periods are granted for any Qualifying Life Event that occurs to you or your family outside of the Open Enrollment Period. If you’re unemployed now, your best bet is to secure an affordable health insurance plan right now.
Browse the Marketplace Directly
You can hop onto the Marketplace directly and begin exploring your health insurance options and potential discounts. Plans are rated in tiers and labeled and by metal, including gold, silver, and bronze level selections. Each tier of health insurance plans can be sorted to represent low-premium, high-deductible coverage through high-premium, low-deductible providers. Based on your current finances and unemployment, you can decide which type of plan is best for you and your family.
Let the W3ll Experts Help Guide Your Search
You don’t have to navigate the Marketplace on your own. If you’re still not sure how to begin applying for subsidies or browsing plans, let us help. Visit W3ll today, answer a few basic questions about your situation, and discover your available premium tax benefits, compare health insurance options and plans that fit your budget, and enroll directly to secure a plan. And the best part is all of the W3ll guidance and tools are available to you free of charge.
If you find yourself unemployed right now, like so many Americans are today, you still have affordable health insurance options. Don’t assume you’ll secure a new position in time for 2021. The pandemic is still affecting the economy in many regions, and unemployment may become a more long-term reality than you think. Instead, browse with W3ll today and secure a health plan to protect yourself and your family for whatever lies ahead next year.