The numbers of Americans filing for unemployment benefits is staggering. Sadly, these people have not only lost jobs and income, but also their health insurance. If you’re among them, or will be soon, I’d like to offer my sincere condolences and advice on how to get health insurance after a job loss.
Tragically, up to 35 million Americans could lose their health insurance in coming weeks as businesses lay off workers due to repercussions of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new study by Health Management Associates, a health care research and consulting firm.
Here’s what a few experts recommend for continuing the insurance you had or buying new coverage:
COBRA. If you recently lost job-based plan coverage, you can typically continue enrollment for up to 18 months (sometimes longer) under a federal law known as COBRA, which stands for the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act. It requires firms with at least 20 employees to offer this option. You have up to 60 days to elect COBRA and another 45 days to pay the first premium (covering the period dating back to your coverage loss).