covid-19-health-insurance-options

What to do if you lost your health insurance during COVID-19

It is no secret that COVID-19 has had catastrophic effects on the lives of people as well as entire economies around the world. Many people have found their lives upended due to the pandemic. People have lost their jobs and homes, and many cannot see a secure future in sight. 

Similarly, in counties and states across America, the social and economical conditions of governments and citizens seem to be worsening since no one can determine for certain when this worldwide pandemic will wane.

Unemployment has reached record heights 

As a result of COVID-19, many businesses, regardless of their size, have been forced o reduce, cease, or entirely shut down their operations. Subsequently, as many as 47 million people, according to the officials of the Federal Reserve, have filed for unemployment. This means that not only have millions of people around the country lost their jobs, but many who depended on employers for health insurance have also, unfortunately, lost health insurance coverage

Are you a victim of the devastating socio-economic effects of COVID-19?

If you have landed on this article, it is likely that you, like many other Americans, have fallen victim to this tsunami of unemployment, and you are unsure of what the future holds for you. Undoubtedly, your mind is perhaps racing with questions about how to make up for lost health insurance coverage that has resulted from you losing your jobs. Maybe you are looking into what kind of health insurance options are available for you, and you want to know how you can register for these facilities. Or still yet, maybe you want to know if you are eligible for a special and specific type of help that you can benefit from in these bleak times.

To make this process easier for you and save you some time and worry, we have taken to compile a list of all the possible options you can avail of to get some semblance of stability and security for the future back into your life. 

So what are your options?

The following comprehensive contains all the likely options that you can select from. These include COBRA coverage or coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), as well as some other, more specific alternatives. So read on for a quick rundown of COBRA and ACA coverage, and some guidelines as to how you can find the plan that best works for your exact needs:

COBRA Coverage

Say you have lost your job due to large scale layoffs that took place in the organization you worked for, but the organization itself is still continuing operations. Under such circumstances, you may be eligible to extend your health insurance coverage on account of an employer-sponsored plan, regulated by federal law, which more commonly is referred to as COBRA. COBRA coverage makes it possible for you to fund your health insurance coverage from your own pocket under the same plan that you had when you were an employee for the business; for a period of about 18 months. 

However, the catch with COBRA coverage is that it can be a bit costly for you. This is because, in the time that you were employed, you were funding your health insurance coverage with little more than a percentage of your total monthly premium, while the rest was taken care of by your employer. With COBRA coverage, on the other hand, you are solely responsible for paying the entire premium on your own. 

Coverage under the Affordable Care Act

The other alternative to the COBRA coverage is the option of purchasing an individual or group health insurance plan for your family on your own. This can be done under the rules laid out by the Affordable Care Act (ACA). 

In the case of the affordable care act, you will usually be required to wait for the enrollment period each year that opens up in the fall so that you can sign a new health insurance plan. However, in the case of lost health insurance coverage that was covered by your employer, your case will be considered a “qualifying life event” which will allow for a 60-day window to enroll.

To see what fits you best, you can shop around for group health insurance for your family or individual health insurance coverage using an insurance marketplace run by your state government. In addition to the state-run marketplace, you can look up your options on an online marketplace, or you can hire the services of an insurance broker to help your compare plans directly from insurance companies and find the perfect plan for you or your family. 

If you are going to be going it alone and conducting the research into health insurance plans and providers on your own, maybe the following tips can be of some help to you  

  • Compare health insurance plans on the market- this will help you make sure you find the best plan to not only fit your exact needs but also not exceed your budgetary allowances. As mentioned above, you can enlist the services of insurance brokers or insurance brokerage agencies 
  • Look for plans that provide coverage for your prescriptions and preferred doctors- when selecting a plan, make sure it covers the doctors you would like to continue seeing and that will cover the drugs you need to manage a condition or illness you or a member of your family has
  • Check if you are eligible for government subsidies to help make coverage affordable– if your annual household income is below a certain level, you may qualify for subsidies that can help you new plan be more affordable for you
  • If you’re under age 30, consider a “catastrophic” plan– these are health insurance plans that will cover most of the basic benefits of other ACA plans. Moreover, these plans are slightly more affordable. The only downsides to these plans are that they have higher deductibles attached to them and you cannot avail of help for government subsidies to make them more affordable.  

As there seems to be no end to this economic and public health crisis, now is a time as good as any to make sure your health and future are secured. If you find that you do not qualify for either of the options we have mentioned in this article, look into Medicaid, for which you might be eligible if you check some specific boxes. To get more details on Medicaid and whether you qualify for Medicaid, you can contact the Department of Insurance in your state.

What is the CARES Act - COVID19 - Health Insurance - Claimlinx

Impact Of Covid-19 On The Health Insurance Industry

As the viral pandemic continues, health insurance and Covid-19 has become a hot topic of conversation and concern for individuals and businesses who want to provide benefits for their employees. Although individual policy providers have unique rules and coverage options, the US government put into place the CARES Act to help people get treatment as needed. This is especially important as so many American workers are forced out of work and away from the usual medical insurance policies that help them during ordinary times.

 

What Is the CARES Act?

 

This healthcare act was created to help the uninsured or underinsured receive treatment if they were diagnosed with Covid-19. Much like Medicare functions, this system reimburses doctors and other healthcare providers for testing and treatment. Instead of giving money directly to the individual with the diagnosis, it encourages the medical community to treat them even if they do not have insurance. People or families who currently get the state equivalent of Medicaid are automatically covered beyond their usual cancellation date.

 

Can I Get Health Coverage Now?

 

If you do not have medical benefits from your employer or another source, may be difficult to sign up for coverage during the pandemic in some cases. However, the CARES Act does require you to seek out insurance first before utilizing the system. Either do searches at your policyholder website for opportunities or go directly to the government’s healthcare platform to look for extra help during your time off work.

 

If you represent a company who wants to offer more insurance options to workers at this time, it makes sense to discuss your options with a qualified healthcare consultant. It may be possible to assist employees in getting the treatment they need even with a Covid-19 diagnosis. The benefits of providing health coverage go far beyond treatment for this growing problem.

 

How to Get Health Coverage Now

 

One of the major roadblocks to solving the healthcare insurance and Covid-19 problems is the rampant unemployment caused by the shutdown of most industries across the country. While many people can work from home or on a rotating schedule that does not affect their medical benefits, others have simply lost their jobs and are left without coverage during a time when they desperately need it.

 

The industry and government have responded in ways beyond the CARES Act. Enrollment periods for a variety of policies including Medicare and Medicaid have been extended. Options to buy short-term insurance have increased. Employers are looking for new and more affordable ways to provide their workers with the best options possible.

 

Businesses who want to help need to look outside the regular options when it comes to healthcare offers and the potential for improved coverage with reduced costs. After all, if the company or organization is not working out 100% capacity during the Covid-19 pandemic, it needs to save as much money as possible so it survives these difficult economic times.

 

Investigate all options for group health or supplemental insurance, third-party administrator management, healthcare savings or reimbursement plans, and more by contacting ClaimLinx.

Man Next to Doctor

You Missed Open Enrollment, Now What?

It’s a sinking feeling many people have had — the open enrollment period for health insurance has ended, and they forgot insurance to purchase a plan for the year. If you missed open enrollment and are now in need of a health insurance plan, ClaimLinx is here for you. There are still options out there for employees, and especially employers.  

 

The 2020 Open Enrollment period for the individual marketplace through Healthcare.gov was November 1st, 2019 to December 15, 2020. Some states, especially those that do not use Helathcare.gov have extended enrollment periods, but most finish by the beginning of February. For future reference, Open Enrollment is on the same dates each year, unless specific extensions are made.

If you did not enroll during this time, individuals can still qualify for a Special Enrollment Period with a Qualifying Life Event. Aside from this option, short-term plans are available throughout the year. They are not perfect, but they are a great alternative to having no coverage at all. 

 

Special Enrollment, or a Qualifying Life Event 

Some people may quаlіfу for a ѕресіаl enrollment реriod to ѕіgn uр fоr hеаlth іnѕurаnсе. Certain lіfе еvеntѕ, lіkе lоѕіng hеаlth соvеrаgе, moving, getting married or a change in income can trіggеr a special enrollment period, which lasts up tо 60 dауѕ. Lіfе changes thаt quаlіfу fоr a special еnrоllmеnt реrіоd gеnеrаllу fаll into three саtеgоrіеѕ: сhаngеѕ in thе household, сhаngеѕ in residence оr losing hеаlth іnѕurаnсе.

 

Qualifying сhаngеѕ іn hоuѕеhоld саn іnсludе:

  • Getting mаrrіеd
  • Hаvіng a bаbу оr adopting a child
  • Getting divorced оr legally ѕераrаtеd аnd losing health іnѕurаnсе
  • Hаvіng ѕоmеоnе in your hоuѕеhоld dіе

 

Qualifying changes in residence саn іnсludе:

  • Moving to a new home in a new ZIP соdе оr county
  • Moving tо thе U.S. from a fоrеіgn country
  • If уоu’rе a student, moving to or from the рlасе you attend school
  • If уоu’rе a ѕеаѕоnаl wоrkеr, mоvіng to or frоm thе рlасе уоu lіvе аnd work
  • Moving to or from a ѕhеltеr or trаnѕіtіоnаl hоuѕіng

 

Qualifying lоѕѕеѕ of health аvеrаgе іnсludе:

  • Lоѕіng jоb-bаѕеd соvеrаgе
  • Losing individual hеаlth coverage
  • Lоѕіng eligibility for Mеdісаіd or CHIP
  • Lоѕіng eligibility fоr Medicare
  • Lоѕіng соvеrаgе thrоugh a family mеmbеr

 

Short-Term Health Insurance Plans

These are a special type of plan that can be purchased when a person is between health plans, outside of open enrollment. Short-Term Health Insurance plans provide temporary coverage for certain situations and can be a chance for some coverage in case of emergency. 

Short-term plans come with a wide range of coverages because they are not required to comply with Affordable Care Act (ACA) guidelines. That means they typically include some coverage for preventative care, doctors visits, urgent care and emergency care. It may also have some discounts on prescription drugs. But because it is not an ACA plan, be sure to read the plan limitations before enrolling on a plan. That will tell you what is covered and can help you decide if it’s the right coverage for you. 

You can shop for a short-term plan now by going to the ClaimLinx marketplace. On the site, you can request a quote and someone will reach out to you to talk about your options. 

 

What Happens Without Health Insurance

As of January 1, 2019, there is no tax penalty for not having a health insurance plan. Technically the individual mandate is still in effect but there is no penalty to enforce it. So it may seem to some like going without health insurance is not a big deal. After all, health insurance plans are expensive and if you don’t use many medical services through the year, it can feel like a waste. 

Health insurance is still important to have, for all those unforeseen moments. No one expects to need their insurance plan. People buy it every year because there’s always a chance that an accident, or even a small medical issue, could cause huge financial damage. 

Shop for a health insurance plan at any time at ClaimLinxMarketplace.com. You can purchase short-term plans or, if you qualify for a special enrollment period, you can also take a look at plans through a regular carrier. 

ClaimLinx reclaims thousands of dollars for consumers

Business pioneers strategy for employers to pay less for company health plan

CINCINNATI, Dec. 20, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — As health plan premiums rise nationally, so too do insurance companies’ earnings, but one local business has found a way to return some of those would-be profits to consumers.

ClaimLinx is a consultant, insurance agency and third-party administrator specializing in an alternative strategy for purchasing health insurance that saves companies money while delivering quality benefits.

Nationally, insurance companies reported strong growth in 2018, amassing an estimated $47 billion of global profit by the end of the second quarter, according to an analysis of company documents by Axios media company.

Not all of that money is being funneled into improving care or services. Insurance companies spend only 80 percent of funds collected in plan premiums on actual medical care, as required by the Affordable Care Act.

Packed into those huge premium bills are charges for administration, marketing and company profits for share-holders. That’s thousands of dollars each year being given to insurance companies instead of being spent on what workers really need: quality medical care.

Tom Quigley, National Benefit Consultant at ClaimLinx, says buying traditional health plans leaves a lot of money on the table, an especially difficult prospect for small businesses where profit margins are slim.

“It’s really a shame, because people are really just giving all this money away to health insurance companies without even realizing it.” 

So ClaimLinx abandons traditional methods of purchasing health insurance. Instead, it shows clients how to combine a high deductible plan from a major carrier with a self-funded medical expense reimbursement plan. 

The plan with a major carrier offers a wide physicians network with discounts for services and a stop loss in case of high medical costs. The medical expense reimbursement plan offers the ability to add a lower deductible and better cost-sharing measure for services, like copays.

Christy Quigley, President of ClaimLinx, compares this strategy to other types of coverage.

“People have car insurance, but they don’t buy it for $40 oil changes. Imagine how expensive it would be if it did. We use the same concept for health insurance.” 

This two-prong strategy allows small businesses to restore some of its health care dollars to its employees by delivering better benefits at a much lower price. 

Contact: Whitney Faber, (617) 892-4655
wfaber@claimlinx.com
www.claimlinx.com

View the published release

Another lawsuit aims to take down the Affordable Care Act

A federal judge in Texas heard arguments Wednesday in a case aimed at doing what the Republican Congress has not yet been able to do — dismantle the Affordable Care Act.

The suit hinges on the change to the individual mandate as a part of the tax overhaul President Trump signed into law in December, which zeroed out the requirement that most Americans have health insurance or pay a fine.

The GOP plaintiffs also sought a “preliminary injunction” of the law, which would mean the law would be suspended while the case is decided. The judge has not made a decision on the injunction yet.

Judge Reed O’Connor, a conservative jurist appointed by George W. Bush, heard arguments from GOP plaintiffs, the Justice Department and 17 Democratic attorneys general, with the bulk of his questions going to the defendants of the law.

The lead Democrat arguing the case, California attorney general Xavier Becerra, cautioned against ending the law, even temporarily, as it “would wreak havoc in our health care system.”

The case was filed in February by 18 GOP attorneys general and two GOP governors. They argue the Supreme Court upheld the individual mandate in 2012 as a part of Congress’s authority to tax. Now that the mandate carries no penalty, it can no longer be justified as a tax and should be struck down. And without the mandate, the rest of the law crumbles, including the law’s arguably most popular requirement, that insurers must cover people with pre-existing conditions at no extra cost.

Legal scholars across the political divide believe this is a weak argument, but the case could be the first to go before the more conservative Supreme Court.

Although the Trump administration is technically the defendant in the case, the administration announced in June it would not defend the law. The Justice Department wrote in its filing with the case that it did not think the entire law needed to be eliminated, but it did agree the protections for preexisting conditions should be eliminated January 1, 2019, when the tax penalty goes away.

Filing a case that could put protections for those with pre-existing conditions at risk has already had some political fallout for Republicans, as Democratic candidates have started using it in their campaigns for Congress.

In response, a group of 10 Republican senators introduced legislations last month that prohibits insurance companies from denying coverage or charging more for a pre-existing condition. Democrats point out that the new legislation would not require insurer’s plans to cover treatment for those illnesses, as the Affordable Care Act currently does.

What all of this means is that this is once again a wait-and-see moment for the Affordable Care Act, a daunting concept with open enrollment and an election quickly approaching.