Since the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic began spreading in the United States, millions of Americans have lost their jobs. As of May 21, 38.6 million have filed for unemployment. Along with the Americans being laid-off, others are being furloughed or working reduced hours.
If you are facing any one of these situations, you may have suddenly found yourself without health insurance and prescription coverage. Here’s what you can do.
Options if You Have Lost Prescription Coverage
Losing your health and prescription insurance is scary. Fortunately, you have options.
You may have had your own health insurance plan through your job, and your spouse has their own coverage through theirs. If you have been laid-off or furloughed and lost your insurance, but your spouse is still working, you may be able to get coverage through their plan.
COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act) is a plan that provides individuals and families who have lost their healthcare coverage the ability to continue group health benefits provided by their group health plan. The coverage period is limited, and you do have to pay the entire premium, but this gives you the ability to continue your insurance for a while.
Health Insurance Exchange
If you have lost your current health insurance plan due to job loss or reduced hours, you may be able to get new coverage through the Health Insurance Exchange (Marketplace). The service helps individuals and families shop for and enroll in affordable insurance plans. You can also find out if you qualify for additional assistance, such as CHIP or Medicaid.
The CARES Act and Health Insurance
The CARES Act, signed into law on March 27, was a $2.2 trillion package that included a wide range of policies and funding to provide relief from the coronavirus pandemic. Included was the expansion of unemployment insurance.
While the CARES Act expanded provisions for those with health insurance plans, it didn't do too much to address those without insurance. The Families First Coronavirus Response Act, signed into law on March 18, however, provided a bit more assistance.
Under this act, states can expand their Medicaid coverage to uninsured individuals so they can receive access to free COVID-19 testing.
You are, however, still responsible for the cost of your treatment if you test positive and need medical care. Many hospitals offer charity programs, however, which can help to reduce the cost of your medical expenses.
How to Save Money on Healthcare While Uninsured
Even without health insurance, you still need care. Here are a few ways to save money on healthcare while uninsured.
Visit a Community Health Center or Clinic
Community health centers provide affordable healthcare to individuals who are uninsured or underinsured. Many receive government funding and services are typically on a sliding payment scale. Your care may even be free depending upon your financial situation.
You can also use a retail clinic, such as Walmart, CVS, or Walgreens. Clinics offer well visits, health screenings, vaccines, and other routine services at a lower cost.
Use Urgent Care
Urgent care centers provide services at a much lower cost than a hospital emergency room. They can treat numerous issues, such as ear infections, broken bones, and cuts. If you experience a life-threatening emergency, though, you should always go to the ER.
Try a Direct Primary Care Provider
With a direct primary care provider, you pay a monthly subscription fee to receive a specified number of visits and services. While this option is affordable, labs and prescriptions generally aren’t included.
Get a Prescription Savings Offer
Losing your prescription insurance can be devastating. Many prescriptions are expensive and may be unaffordable without coverage. A prescription savings offer like those shown by rxless can help to ease the financial burden.
The offer is free, and with savings of up to 20% off name brand and 80% off generics, you can more easily afford the prescriptions you need during these uncertain times.
rxless works with over 60,000 retailers to negotiate the best prices for generic and name brand prescriptions. Use the free online search tool to find the best offers from pharmacies in your area. Present your savings offer at the pharmacy and receive your discount instantly.