As thousands of Louisiana residents are applying for unemployment due to being furloughed or laid off as a result of COVID-19, another dilemma arises: coupled with a loss of income, people are losing their health insurance during a pandemic. Navigating the complex world of health insurance policies and premiums is already complicated enough without the added stress of finding a replacement policy as soon as possible. The best thing you can do? Stay calm and examine your options.
Find out if you qualify for Medicaid.
Due to a loss in income, you may qualify for Medicaid, the federal government program that provides free or subsidized health insurance for low-income Americans. Enrollment is year-round and based on your monthly income, rather than annual, so you can enroll immediately if you’re eligible. To find out if you qualify, click here. Additionally, if your unemployment has resulted in your children losing their health insurance, you can apply for coverage through the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Click here to apply.
Explore insurance plan options through the Healthcare Marketplace.
If you don’t qualify for Medicaid, you may be eligible for low-cost plans through the Health Insurance Marketplace, also known as Obamacare, or the Affordable Care Act. Losing your health insurance through an employer is a qualifying event, which means you can enroll in a policy through Louisiana’s insurance exchanges even though open enrollment is over. Apply through healthcare.gov. Or, if you already receive coverage through the marketplace but experience a loss of income, you may be eligible for a premium subsidy.
Consider your cost options with COBRA.
COBRA is a federal policy that allows you to keep the same plan you were on through your employer, so you can continue your coverage with the same care network of physicians, and identical deductibles, but it can be an expensive option because you’re responsible for 100% of the monthly premium cost.
Over the next few weeks, Bank of St. Francisville is publishing a series of Coronavirus-related articles with financial advice for this unprecedented time. Check back here for local resources and additional information on how to handle your debt, investments, and more during the pandemic.
Now more than ever, BSF is here to help. Call us at 225-635-6397 to speak with a loan officer to explore your options, or click here to make an appointment. To access our Covid-19 resources page, click here.