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Americans Have Options for Health Care Insurance During Coronavirus Pandemic

April 06, 2020
Updated 4/16/20


  • The Families First Coronavirus Response Act provides $1 billion to cover providers’ expenses for testing and diagnosing the uninsured.
  •  Among other provisions, the CARES Act includes a $100 billion fund to support health-care providers.
  • A portion of that funding will cover providers’ costs of delivering COVID-19 care for the uninsured, sending the money to providers through the same mechanism used to reimburse testing costs.
  • As a condition of receiving funds under this program, providers will be forbidden from balance billing the uninsured for the cost of their care. Providers will be reimbursed at Medicare rates.

As Americans have to deal with an uncertain economic landscape, it’s important that they know they have options to access health insurance especially now that the CARES Act is law.

Employers have a responsibility—and the support of the American taxpayer—to keep their workers connected to their job-based coverage: Businesses small and large are encouraged to keep workers on the payroll thanks to incentives in the CARES Act, including deferment on payroll taxes, the employee retention credit, and the payroll protection act.

For more information on how employers can get help, click here.

If you’ve been laid off, you can keep your insurance: Most people are eligible for COBRA benefits, which allow you to keep the health insurance your employer provided for up to 18 months following a layoff. The boosted unemployment insurance and the coronavirus relief payment, combined with the medical expense deduction expanded as part of tax reform, can help Americans pay for that coverage.

Employees can work with their insurer or former employers to get signed up. If you’re an employee looking for information on COBRA coverage, click here. Employers can click here.

After being laid off, you can still use a “special enrollment period,” to get health insurance: If you decide not to take COBRA coverage, you could be eligible to enroll in an individual market plan instead. Losing job-based coverage qualifies you for a Special Enrollment Period. This means you usually have 60 days to enroll in a health plan, even if it’s outside the annual Open Enrollment Period.

For more information about enrolling in a federal marketplace plan, click here, or reach out to a local health insurance company or broker. 

If you are buying coverage on the marketplace, you may qualify for subsidies to reduce the cost of your coverage. To see if you qualify for subsidies, click here.

If you do qualify for subsidies, it is important that you inform the exchanges of any changes in your income, family size, or coverage offerings as these changes can impact the amount of subsidies you are eligible for. For instructions on how to report changes, click here.

You may also qualify for Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Medicaid provides coverage to certain Americans with limited incomes. CHIP generally provides coverage for children and in some states pregnant women in families with incomes too high for Medicaid but too low to afford private insurance.

Click here to learn about Medicaid and how to apply. Click here to learn more about CHIP.

Short Term Limited Duration plans may suit your needs: Thanks to the Trump Administration, “short term” health insurance plans are available to help those struggling to pay the high premiums caused by the Democrats’ health care policies. While the short-term plans are not for everyone, they may suit the immediate needs of families who need coverage amidst the economic turmoil of the coronavirus pandemic.

Health insurance brokers and insurance companies provide information about these plans, which vary by state. 

Americans deserve choice in their care, especially in times of economic turmoil. That’s why Republicans worked to remove taxes on health insurance and medical devices, and to get rid of the red tape blocking people from getting care they need from providers. Providing more options during this temporary economic crisis is the right thing to do.

Want to read more on the fight against Coronavirus? Read our Coronavirus Bulletin here which contains our extensive FAQ about recent federal actions.