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Obtaining Health Insurance if You Have Lost Your Job

Apr 13, 2020
Press Release

Many people have lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which could also mean a loss of health insurance coverage. As the coronavirus continues to spread in New Jersey and throughout the country, it is absolutely essential that individuals have access to the coverage they need to protect themselves and their family. The good news is that if you have lost your job, there are options. The type of coverage you are eligible for is based not on your employment status, but your household size and income.

  • If you have lost your job, regardless of the reason, you are eligible for a Special Enrollment Period to get coverage through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) Marketplace within 60 days.
  • You will have to estimate your income in order to apply for coverage.
  • Many people qualify for some type of financial assistance, which may make options cheaper than you think.
    • When estimating your income, you will need to include any unemployment compensation in that calculation.
  • If you are below a certain income level, you may also qualify for Medicaid coverage, which was expanded by most states.
    • The Marketplace application will notify you of what types of plans you qualify for including Medicaid, or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

If you had employer-based coverage, you may qualify for COBRA insurance through your plan.  

  • COBRA extends your job-based health coverage for up to 18 months after your job loss.
  • Individuals typically have 60 days to enroll in COBRA and it is important to note once enrolled, you cannot switch to a Marketplace plan until the Open Enrollment period begins, unless your cost changes.
  • However, COBRA coverage can sometimes be expensive because the employee has to cover the total cost of a plan, which was once covered in part by the employer.

More information on COBRA options can be found here: https://www.dol.gov/sites/dolgov/files/EBSA/about-ebsa/our-activities/resource-center/publications/an-employees-guide-to-health-benefits-under-cobra.pdf

To learn more about health coverage options if you are unemployed and what next steps to take, visit: https://www.healthcare.gov/unemployed/coverage/

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