By Libby Pellegrini MMS, PA-C
According to a report released by the Department of Labor, more than 6.6 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits during the last full week of March. Coupled with the 3.28 million Americans who had filed for unemployment the previous week, this means that nearly 10 million Americans are facing sudden changes to their livelihoods.
With a job loss, a loss of income is not the only concern. Many people also experience the loss of other benefits, such as employer-sponsored health insurance. A loss of health insurance also comes with a loss of prescription benefits, which can take a hefty financial toll.
The landscape of health insurance can be confusing to navigate. Read on to learn more about the laws behind health insurance coverage, your rights when it comes to health insurance, and your options as a consumer.
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires that all Americans are covered by a health insurance plan throughout the calendar year.
If you lose your employer-based health insurance coverage, you may consider enrolling in a spouse’s or domestic partner’s plan. However, if this is not an option for you, you still have two other choices:
The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) is a federal law that allows a person to stay on their employer’s health insurance plan for up to 18 months after a discontinuation of benefits. In order to accomplish this, you will likely have to pay for the plan (which can be expensive), and there may be other administrative fees.
If your company has more than 20 employees, you are likely eligible for COBRA, and your employer will have to inform you of this upon your termination. You can learn more about your eligibility for COBRA coverage by contacting your employer.
As an alternative to COBRA coverage, you can research other available plans through the health insurance marketplace. If you have lost your job-related health insurance, you are entitled to a special enrollment period.
At the health insurance marketplace, you can answer a few questions to determine if you may be eligible for an insurance program such as Medicaid (this typically phases out at a certain income level), or another plan through the ACA. Even if you are ineligible for Medicaid, your children may still qualify for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
Many health insurance programs are managed locally, by the state. If your state is listed on the health insurance marketplace, you will have to search for plans through the state website instead of the government website. You can also apply for Medicaid through your state, which may be a faster process than going through the federal government.
If you need assistance navigating the health insurance labyrinth, you can find help here.
If you need to obtain a prescription medication before you are able to secure new health insurance coverage, consider using ScriptSave® WellRx. At ScriptSave WellRx, we are trying to do our part to help consumers save money, adhere to treatment plans, and stay healthy during the pandemic.
Because we want to help in any way we can, and we know that many are losing their jobs and, potentially, their health insurance, we have put together a special invite code: Relief.
Anyone can enroll on WellRx.com and type in the invite code “Relief.” This enrollment will provide you with a free prescription discount card that can be used across all major pharmacies; more than 65,000 pharmacies accept prescription drug cards. Your free prescription discount card can be downloaded, emailed, sent to your phone via text, or downloaded via the mobile app.
The prescription savings card will discount the cash price of a prescription by up to 80 percent, with average savings of around 60 percent. This will help you get the lowest prescription price. Even if you have health insurance, you can still save money using this free Rx savings card.
At Scriptsave WellRx, we have worked really hard to focus our discounts on the top medications that healthcare providers commonly prescribe for chronic conditions, as well as commonly prescribed medicines for acute conditions. You can search for the price of medication right on the app or website. We also have tools on our app to help guide you toward healthy food choices in order to keep your immune system in premium condition during the pandemic.
On behalf of ScriptSave WellRx, we hope that everyone can stay safe during this unfortunate time. We hope that our service makes it just a little easier to adhere to your medical provider’s recommendations and treatment plans. We wish you all the best—stay healthy!
Libby Pellegrini is a nationally certified physician assistant. She currently works in emergency medicine where she sees and treats a broad spectrum of illnesses across all age ranges. She holds a journalism degree from Northwestern University.
Department of Labor. Jobless Claims News Release.
Healthcare.gov. Coverage If You Lose Job-Based Insurance.
Healthcare.gov. The Marketplace In Your State.
Healthcare.gov. How to Qualify for Medicaid and CHIP Healthcare Coverage.