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 current monthly income is below 138 percent of the federal poverty level, and you live in a Medicaid expansion state, you may qualify for Medicaid. In non-expansion states, only very low-income parents with dependent children may qualify.

If you are not eligible for Medicaid in an expansion state, and your projected annual income for 2020 is between 138 and 400 percent of the federal level, you should be eligible for premium tax credits.

If you live in a non-expansion state, and your income is between 100 and 400 percent of the federal poverty level, you should be eligible for premium tax credits. However, if your income is below 100 percent of the federal poverty level, you may be ineligible for Medicaid or premium tax credits.

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.

In August of 2020, federal funds became available to supplement unemployment insurance payments. Consumers in almost every state filing for unemployment insurance due to the COVID-19 pandemic were eligible to receive an increase of $300 per week to unemployment benefits (possibly up to an additional $400 in some states) for a limited time period. While the federal government hasn’t provided clear guidance on how this will be counted for purposes of determining marketplace subsidy eligibility, federal guidance indicates the additional $300 is not included in assessments for Medicaid and CHIP eligibility (treatment of the additional $100, if available, has yet to be determined for either subsidy or Medicaid eligibility determinations).

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