What to do if you lose your health insurance
The historic surge in unemployment claims in the past three weeks — nearly 17 million people reporting job losses, or 10% of the U.S. workforce — has also caused an unprecedented increase in the number of uninsured Americans. Almost half of U.S. workers get health insurance coverage through their employers. That suggests as many as 1.5 million people have lost their coverage in the last two weeks of March alone, according to estimates from researchers at Harvard Medical School and Hunter College. That number could swell to 7.3 million by June 30 based on Federal Reserve estimates of the number of workers who are expected to lose their jobs in April and May. And these numbers do not include family members who may be covered under an employer-sponsored plan. The wave of suddenly uninsured people comes as the ongoing pandemic makes it paramount to have health coverage. So what can you do if you’ve recently lost your health insurance? Depending on your overall health and financial situation, one of these options may work for you. COBRA This program, which gets its name from the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, allows you to extend your current employer-sponsored health insurance coverage for up to 18 months.