GREAT FALLS - Workers across the state face layoffs as non-essential businesses in Montana close their doors to keep the coronavirus out. Even so, losing your job doesn’t necessarily mean you have to lose your health care coverage as well if you apply and qualify for a certain federal program.
Anyone laid off from private businesses that employ 20 or more people can continue their employer-based health insurance under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, or COBRA for short. Through it people can keep their workplace plans for up to 18 months, but they’d be responsible to pay for all premiums involved on top of a 2% administrative fee.
Whether that’s best for you depends on what your needs are, according to the State Auditor Office.
“They will have to consider the cost of that plan and their employer will be able to provide them with that information,” said Matthew M. Rosendale Sr., the state commissioner of securities and insurance, “and then they can judge that and compare that against other options that are currently available out there.”
Going through the Affordable Care Act is another option you can take if you’re looking for healthcare. Losing your job and its associated health benefits counts as a qualifying event for coverage if you apply within 60 days of your termination.
Plus, some companies like UnitedHealth Group offer more short-term plans that include support for anyone affected by COVID-19.
If you’d like to explore any of the options mentioned, you can find the links to each one listed below:
Short-Term Limited Duration Health Insurance: https://csimt.gov/news/rosendale-reminds-montanans-of-year-round-options-for-immediate-health-coverage/
While the Montana State Auditor doesn’t cover employer-sponsored health insurance, the office encourages anyone to reach out to the office with questions or concerns as the coronavirus pandemic continues to impact communities financially.