TEXAS – Over a million Texans have filed for unemployment since COVID-19 social distancing measures were put in place and many of those newly unemployed individuals may have lost health insurance along with their job.
That can be especially scary during a time when over 27,000 coronavirus cases have been reported across the state.
If you’re among those who have lost a job and health insurance along with it, there are a few options for getting coverage again.
The first is to check with your former employer to see if you can continue your health care coverage through the Continuation of Health Coverage program, also known as COBRA.
The program allows former employees to stay on their current employer health plan for a limited time, but you have to pay the full amount yourself, up to 102 percent of the cost of the plan, according to the U.S. Department on Labor.
The catch is the business has to be large enough that it had 20 or more employees on the health plan in the prior year.
Job losses are also considered “qualifying life events," meaning you may be eligible to purchase private health insurance outside of normal enrollment windows. For example, other “qualifying life events" would be moving, getting married, or having a baby, just to name a few.
You must sign up and purchase health care coverage within 60 days of losing your previous plan.
If you already have insurance purchased through the health care exchange and lost your job, you may also qualify for savings on your current plan.
Additionally, you can reach out to insurance companies or HMOs directly to purchase coverage.
If you need health care for a child you may qualify to sign up for CHIP or Children’s Medicaid. You may be required to meeting income restrictions but otherwise the child just has to be 18 years old or younger, a Texas resident, and a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident. According to the Texas Department of Health and Human Services, the citizenship status of the parent is not a factor in whether a child can receive coverage.
If you are an adult that is either pregnant, a former foster child, be caring for a child that is on Medicaid, have a disability, or are 65 or older, you may qualify for Medicaid. You can click here to see the exact details of who qualifies for what.