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.

How Much Does Group Health Insurance Cost?

The decision to offer group health insurance benefits to your employees starts with questions about the overall cost. After all, you need to remain profitable, and paying for medical coverage can certainly cut into your bottom line. However, with the numerous benefits of offering health insurance and the possibility of current government regulations forcing you to do so, it makes sense to explore all your options and find out how you can provide the highest quality insurance at the lowest price possible.

 

When the figuring out how much does group health insurance cost, you need to gather a lot of information before coming up with a final dollar amount. In general, both the employer and the employees share costs for all doctor’s visits, prescriptions, hospital stays, and any other necessary medical care.

 

Employees must pay the following for health insurance benefits:

 

  • Deductible – Money paid before the insurance policy starts paying
  • Copayment – Payments made directly to the medical service provider
  • Coinsurance – Percentage of all bills the insurance does not pay

 

If you represent a company interested in offering the best health insurance benefits to employees, it makes sense to minimize all three of these payments as much as possible. However, you cannot amply take on 100% of all medical bill responsibilities. Consider working with an employer benefit consultant to learn about all your options for overall savings.

 

Costs of Group Health Insurance for Employers

 

According to a survey conducted by the nonprofit National Business Group on Health in 2020, the average expenditure for employees is approximately $15,000 annually. For many workers, this is a considerable amount of money that would stretch their budget and uncomfortable amount. In order to minimize these expenses, the employer themselves can make smarter choices about the policies and packages they provide.

 

Some Options for Minimizing Insurance Expenses

 

Far too many businesses look to eradicate benefits in an attempt to save money. This backfires with employee dissatisfaction, retention issues, lack of value for jobseekers, and an overall hit to morale that can affect productivity and profitability.

 

Employers can save their workers money on health coverage with the following:

 

Health Savings Accounts

 

Individuals who put money aside in a tax-free account specifically designated for medical expenses can save money in the long run in conjunction with healthcare benefits that involve high deductibles. Your business saves money by not paying out earlier, and the employee can save money on their taxes and ensure they have enough cash on hand to cover bills.

 

Optional Supplemental Insurance

 

Supplemental insurance policies add options for employees who want to avail themselves of extra coverage. This may keep your expenses down to begin with as you do not have to pay the maximum for every worker in a shared cost plan.

 

Medical Expense Reimbursement Plans

 

Combined with a high deductible group health insurance policy, a self-funded MERP can bridge the gap between what the employer and employee have to pay. This works well because workers do not have to sacrifice coverage while saving money.

 

Many options exist for overall savings when it comes to offering health insurance policies to employees. Working with ClaimLinx and a professional consulting team who has a strong track record of success can help you reap all the benefits of an affordable plan and employee policy management.

 

medical insurance reimbursement plan expenses

How to know if your business can deduct medical insurance reimbursement plan expenses?

The decision to use medical insurance reimbursement plans (MERPs) or not in your business requires a lot of consideration. It is important to understand if this will save you money in the long run and if you will be able to deduct the expenses on your taxes in the next year.

 

What Is a MERP?

 

A medical expense reimbursement plan helps reduce your employees’ costs when it comes to paying for doctor’s visits, prescription medications, hospital stays, and various types of treatment. MERP deductions happen because you as an employer contributes to these costs directly. In turn, you are able to take the money off of your tax expense when it comes time to pay income taxes for your business itself.

 

While this sounds very attractive because you get to pay less taxes overall, you still need to meet all the qualifications necessary to use one of these programs. Consider getting help from a ClaimLinx consultant to help navigate the process of signing up and using one yourself.

 

MERP Tax Information

 

There are multiple ways to get tax deductions when it comes to medical care and health insurance plans as an employer. Small businesses with less than 50 employees get specific rules that apply to them. In general, any company that pays for at least half of employee premium costs can use that total amount to get deductions to help them minimize their tax responsibilities.

 

When MERPs are involved, rules about specific plans in writing and contractual agreements apply, but these would exist anyway to make sure all workers understood their health coverage. When the terms of this reimbursement plan are met, employers can use the amount they pay as tax deductions. 

 

To answer the initial question, you know you can enjoy a MERP deduction when you avail yourself of this amazing opportunity to save money in your business. As long as you qualify for the specific plans and pay according to the contractual agreement, you can save on taxes every year.

 

The decision about what type of plan to offer and the specific coverage options for the people who work for your company includes some degree of complexity. You want to get as many tax deductions as possible to minimize costs and payment requirements.

 

One way to simplify your options and the administration of the MERP is to use a third-party administrator like one from ClaimLinx. Besides getting full employer health benefits consulting services to make the right choice in the beginning, you can also enjoy the convenience and affordability of having an outside consultant manage the plan itself.

 

You have enough responsibilities of operating your business smoothly and ensuring future profits. Let the health coverage and medical insurance reimbursement plan experts handle both the employee and business side going forward. We provide education for the workers so they fully understand their responsibilities and savings, access to local customer service, full employer reports and claims assistance, and so much more.

 

 

Third-Party Administrator ClaimLinx

What Does a Third-Party Administrator Do?

ClaimLinx is a full-service insurance company. We take care of anything and everything, such as finding the best possible employer-paid benefits and competitive health insurance rates. But at the core of the ClaimLinx Solution our consultants use, is the third party administration we offer employers. Today’s blog from ClaimLinx explains what a third-party administrator does for businesses.

Definition of a Third-Party Administrator

A third-party administrator accepts and processes medical insurance claims from healthcare entities and patients. Think of this as a service that makes sure everyone’s paperwork lines up with what’s covered, what’s not, and who pays what in terms of health insurance coverage. They connect and communicate among health insurance providers, employers, healthcare companies, and people who file health insurance claims for payment. Third-party administrators are experts in their field, and they typically only work with insurance.

Related Post: See ClaimLinx’s Complimentary Elite Services for clients

Duties of a Third-Party Administrator

Many employers choose to self-fund employee healthcare plans, and technology makes it possible to streamline payments to healthcare providers. However, a third-party administrator takes the hassle out of this process. ClaimLinx ensures everyone fills out the proper forms and that each participant receives the right amount of money. Employers and employees log in to our convenient online system to see their forms, claims status, and finances on a health insurance plan. Our team reduces paperwork and educates everyone on how to file claims for coverage.  

What ClaimLinx Does

ClaimLinx accepts claims from employees and providers and processes them to determine the correct payout for the employer and the member. We keep track of each client’s custom schedule of benefits and each member’s usage. Meaning we track who has hit their deductible and through which claims. All of that data lets our team help when it comes to finding new ways to save. Our system works for medical, prescription, dental, and vision coverage. We process claims and payments to providers and members while following strict HIPAA guidelines for privacy. Our team works for you, not for insurance companies. With Claimlinx as your third-party administrator, you and your workers are our top priority.

Related Post: What is an employer-sponsored, or self-funded, plan?

Hire ClaimLinx as a Third-Party Administrator

ClaimLinx does so much more than serve as a third-party administrator. We offer the security and convenience of all of your healthcare resources in one platform. Our employer benefits consultants teach employees how to take full advantage of their health insurance. Contact ClaimLinx or call toll-free 1-800-858-1772 to find out about the ClaimLinx Solution for your small business.