QUESTION

I lost my job due to the COVID-19 pandemic and am now uninsured. What are my options for health insurance?

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ANSWER

If you were previously enrolled in your employer’s group health plan, you should be eligible for a special enrollment period for 60 days from the day you lost your job-based coverage. You can go onto your state’s health insurance marketplace website and file for a special enrollment period. Some important income information applies:

If your projected income for 2020 is within 100 and 400 percent of the federal poverty level, you will either be eligible for premium tax credits or expanded Medicaid depending on your income and the state in which you live.

If your projected income for 2020 is below 100 percent of the federal poverty level, in some states that have chosen not to expand Medicaid, you may be ineligible for premium tax credits. Check with your state’s marketplace or Medicaid agency to determine if you are eligible for Medicaid.

Note that for your state health insurance marketplace, your income is a projection of what you expect to make over the entire year. For more information on income projections, see our federal poverty level table and our FAQ on what counts as income for HealthCare.gov.

On March 27, 2020, Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act which includes a one-time tax rebate payment to a majority of Americans as well as an increase of $600 per week to unemployment insurance (UI) benefits for up to four months, until July 31, 2020. Note that both the one-time tax rebate and the increase of $600 per week in UI benefits will be disregarded in the assessment for Medicaid and CHIP eligibility. The increased UI benefits, however, will be counted as income when applying for premium tax subsidies on the individual insurance market. For more information, see this FAQ from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

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