Filling a void left by the Trump Administration, the Association for Community Affiliated Plans (ACAP) recently announced a campaign to remind Americans who need health insurance because of the COVID-19 that they may be eligible for coverage through healthcare.gov.
Filling a void left by the Trump Administration, the Association for Community Affiliated Plans (ACAP) recently announced a campaign to remind Americans who need health insurance because of COVID-19 that they may be eligible for coverage through healthcare.gov.
“Tens of millions of people have lost employer-based coverage, but Federal agencies aren’t helping to lead people to the best resources available: the state and federal insurance Marketplaces,” says ACAP CEO Margaret A. Murray. “At a time when unemployment is skyrocketing to historic levels, it’s in everyone’s best interest to keep the public as informed as possible about coverage options.”
More than 27 million Americans lost employer-based coverage in just the first two months of the pandemic, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF). ACAP’s Safety Net Health Plan members will spend a six-figure sum on an advertising campaign aimed specifically at recently-unemployed individuals. This campaign will direct people searching for insurance options to the national resource healthcare.gov, where they can learn more about their coverage options, including the state Marketplaces where applicable, or whether they may instead qualify for Medicaid coverage.
The Marketplaces were designed to fill an important coverage gap that has been widely exposed by the pandemic. Many people who lose their employer-sponsored coverage think that buying COBRA coverage through their former employers is their only option. But COBRA is expensive, as it requires individuals to pay the premium-including the employer’s share-in full, plus a 2% surcharge to cover administrative costs. So many people go without.
Thanks to federal subsidies, 8 out of 10 Marketplace consumers can find a plan for $75 dollars a month or less, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation; Medicaid plans offer coverage with zero or token premiums.
“Americans who have lost their employer-based coverage need to know their best coverage options to maintain their access to care, whether it’s on the Marketplaces or enrollment in Medicaid,” Murray adds. “Since outreach budgets have been zeroed out, we’re doing what we can to step up into the void left behind.”
Since 2017, the government has cut funding for navigators who help people find plans by 80 percent, shortened the Open Enrollment period for obtaining Marketplace coverage, championed the repeal of the individual mandate, and encouraged junk insurance plans.
“We cannot sit by and allow families in America to go without coverage and proper access to care simply because they are unaware of available options. Coverage during a pandemic and economic downturn, doesn't just protect health, it’s also one of the most important ways to protect families' financial security,” says Frederick Isasi, executive director of Families USA. “Organizations like ACAP are working to inform the public, and I urge others to join them in this vital effort. Congress must include robust funding for enrollment assistance in the next COVID package. Families deserve to be informed about coverage opportunities so they can get the best health and health care they so desperately need and deserve.”
While the country is focused on COVID-19 related health issues, the need for non-COVID-19-related health issues has not gone away. As people begin to return to hospitals and doctors’ offices for routine visits and elective procedures, the need for coverage and affordable access to care will persist. People who lose employer-based coverage may qualify for Medicaid or a Special Enrollment Period for marketplace plans if they or anyone in their household lost qualifying health coverage in the past 60 days, or expects to lose coverage in the next 60 days.
For more information about affordable, comprehensive health coverage options, visit Healthcare.gov today.