Nearly 17 million people have filed unemployment claims in the last three weeks with the U.S. Department of Labor. Forecasters predict as many as 20 million people could lose their jobs by the end of April. Millions of workers who have lost their jobs also will lose their health insurance. The potential severity of COVID-19 means that being uninsured could leave people at risk for catastrophic health care costs. Here are some key things people who lose their jobs or who are currently uninsured should know.
Coverage Options for People Who Lose Their Jobs or Are Uninsured
If you have insurance through the job you lost: Maintaining your coverage through COBRA is a possibility, but you might find a cheaper option through the Affordable Care Act’s marketplaces. As always, even though open enrollment is closed, anyone who loses a job with health insurance is automatically eligible for a special enrollment period through the marketplaces. The first thing to do after losing job-based coverage is visit HealthCare.gov to check out options. If you qualify for a premium subsidy or Medicaid, there may be options much cheaper than COBRA.
If you have coverage through the ACA marketplaces: If you lost your job, your income is likely dropping, which means you may qualify for a subsidy. Go to HealthCare.gov and update your income information.
If you have coverage through Medicaid: Keep your coverage and make sure your enrollment status is up to date, so you don’t lose your coverage if you forget to reenroll.
If you are uninsured, you have a few options — and there may be more in the coming weeks:
Recent Legislation and Executive Branch Actions on Coverage
Congress has passed three major emergency spending bills to address the pandemic and the administration has declared a national emergency. Here is what you should know about what this means for coverage:
The staggering economic disruption triggered by the coronavirus pandemic is revealing the importance of the Affordable Care Act in providing coverage options for people who lose their job-based insurance. But the pandemic also shines a bright light on the remaining holes in the system: 30 million people uninsured and at least 44 million who are underinsured because of unaffordable deductibles and copayments. The crisis will place added pressure on the states that have not yet expanded Medicaid and may encourage them to move forward with expansion. It also may push Congress to permanently patch the holes in our insurance system. If it does, the next time we face a public health crisis we can be secure in the knowledge that everyone has health coverage and that illness will not be compounded by personal financial catastrophe because of health care costs.
If you need assistance or don't know what your next step should be, feel free to call us and get help. We can offer Short Term Health Plans, Limited Medical Plans, and Major Medical Plans with loss of other coverage, to individuals who may be in need, or just offer friendly advice during this difficult time!
Disability insurance is not always top of mind for people — many of us likely think that it's only needed in the event of a serious accident or diagnosis. In truth, Disability Insurance is important for everyone.
According to the U.S. Social Security Administration, 1 in 4 of today’s 20-year-olds will become disabled during their working years. In addition, Guardian’s Workplace Benefits Study also reveals that 55 percent of employees found the financial impact of their disability incident to be major or devastating. Despite these statistics, only 54 percent of working Americans have disability—down from 65 percent in 2017.
The Theodore & Associates team wants to showcase the value of disability insurance for both employees and employers thinking about offering this key benefit.
1) Disability insurance can increase employees' financial security
Research shows that 66 percent of employees whose disability happened more than six years ago feel that they still have not completely recovered financially. However, more than half of Americans live paycheck to paycheck, which means they are unprepared to go without a single paycheck should they be out on disability. Disability insurance can help alleviate some of the financial strain caused by unexpected disabilities.
2) Disability insurance can be customized to your specific company's size, needs, and financial portfolio.
Employer-sponsored programs have features such as online enrollment, seamless payroll deduction and no medical exam requirement to enroll. This makes disability insurance efficient and attractive to employees.
But if your company cannot provide an employer-sponsored benefit, you may be able to provide access via an employee-funded disability insurance product. This helps shift the cost to the employees, yet helps demonstrate an employer’s commitment to enhancing their employees’ financial security. It’s a win-win.
3) Disability insurance can help integrate absence management
One critical component of an effective disability management program can be the integration of absence management capabilities. As more states pass paid leave laws, more companies need help navigating the complexities of absence management. Managing absences is a demanding job for even the most sophisticated HR teams. More worrisome is that if employers mismanage absences, they leave themselves open to costly lawsuits, fines, misuse of leaves and other issues. A well put together disability insurance plan can help deliver a holistic, integrated plan that includes both disability and absence management for their clients.
4) Disability insurance can boost employee satisfaction and retention
Research validates that utilizing disability insurance can sway employee perceptions of employers and enhance overall employee satisfaction (71 percent versus 54 percent). Employees with disability insurance—especially if they had it at the time of their incident—are more satisfied with their employee benefits and much more likely to feel that their company cares about them.
Additionally, a positive experience with a return to work (RtW) program can go even further to bolster an employee’s perception of its employer. For example, 70 percent said they feel their company cares for them after completing a RtW program. This is notable and something to consider when speaking with carriers about a RtW program, how it’s implemented, and its success rate. There’s a lot of value for both the employer and employee in helping employees return to work through an effective RtW program.
These are just some of the many benefits of one of the most misunderstood employee benefits available. For business owners and employees alike, there are misconceptions about not just the necessity but also the cost of disability insurance.
If you're considering offering a disability insurance benefit but have questions, or if you want to make sure your plan is still right for you, the Theodore & Associates team can help. Together, we'll explore a plan that works for your business and financial goals. Contact us today to start the conversation.