Your Health Insurance and the Coronavirus Pandemic

The Coronavirus Pandemic is having an impact on every part of our lives.

According to Moody’s Analytics, nearly 80 million jobs in the US are currently at risk due to the coronavirus or COVID-19, more than half of the jobs in the US economy. Impacts are being felt throughout the retail, food, hospitality, service and entertainment industries with many businesses and productions completely shutting down.

coronavirus testingIf people continue to delay travel plans and cancel flights and hotel rooms, service-industry workers will likely be laid off, experts say. Health professionals advise people to only travel if necessary to lower their risk of catching the virus, but also to prevent the risk of spreading it. The virus has a median incubation rate of 5.1 days, a recent report found, which means people could travel without showing any symptoms at all.

Many corporations are not paying their workers, extending health insurance benefits, or offering severance in the case of layoffs or reduced schedules caused by the coronavirus.

What is being done

Congress is working to pass a major stimulus plan that includes provisions aimed at making coronavirus testing free, expanding unemployment insurance and food assistance, as well as providing Americans with emergency paid leave and sick days.

But even with moderate fiscal stimulus, the Economic Policy Institute estimates that the U.S. is likely to lose 3 million jobs by summer. With 49% of Americans getting health insurance through their employer, a spike in unemployment could leave millions uninsured in the middle of a national health crisis. 

What can you do?

COBRA CoverageThe Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) is a program that extends your current health insurance plan for up to 18 months after you lose your job. 


Typically employers with at least 20 full-time employees are required to offer COBRA coverage, and it’s generally available to former employees and retirees, as well as their spouses, former spouses and dependent children if they were originally covered. Some states have expanded coverage, so if you’re not sure, ask your HR rep, or reach out to your state’s labor office. 

Marketplace Plans (ACA) - Several states are now reopening enrollment in marketplace plans. More states are likely to follow.

If COBRA proves too expensive, you can also check out your state’s health insurance marketplace options. Losing job-based health insurance coverage, even if you quit or get fired, qualifies you for a special enrollment period.

The national average premium for a silver level, or benchmark, marketplace plan in 2020 is $462 a month, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. However, that does not include any subsidies, which about 87% of Americans are eligible to receive. 

You have about two months, 60 days, after you lose coverage to enroll in a marketplace plan. Keep in mind that coverage may not start immediately. Marketplace plans go into effect the first day of the month after your job ends, so if you were laid off this week and you pick a Marketplace plan by the end of March, your coverage would start April 1. 

Short-Term Medical - While these plans are designed to be an affordable stop-gap measure, many lack essential coverage and may not include coronavirus coverage.

Short-term health plans can be an alternative to Marketplace health insurance plans. However, these plans may exclude preventative and maternity care. If you are considering this type of plan, read through the plan’s coverage very carefully. 

How Can I help?

To research Marketplace (ACA) plans in your area, please go to: 


For more information about short-term medical plans, please visit:


Enrollment in a new health plan can be self-directed and I will be here to help.

Stay safe.

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