For jobless Americans, Obamacare is still a potential lifeline

“Millions of Americans losing their jobs may still be able to sign up for Obamacare — but Trump officials haven’t been urging people to grab onto that safety net while they can.

People who’ve lost their workplace health insurance during the coronavirus outbreak may qualify for private coverage through Obamacare, along with generous subsidies, despite President Donald Trump’s decision last week not to re-open signups for everyone. Many may also qualify for free or low-cost coverage under Medicaid, especially in the two-thirds of states that joined Obamacare’s expansion of the low-income health care program.

Some states that depend on are trying to broadcast these options to their citizens — through media campaigns, the governors’ microphones, social media and patient groups — while advocates say the federal government needs to bring in money and a marketing plan to help.”

“most of the 12 states and the District of Columbia that run their own ACA exchanges have reopened their markets.”

“For those advocacy groups or insurers who do try to spread the word, the enrollment task is made even more challenging by steep cuts the Trump administration made to the government’s Obamacare outreach. That started soon after Trump took office and intensified right through the most recent open enrollment, which ended in mid-December.”

“the usual red-tape involved in getting people who qualify for special sign-ups into ACA plans has only grown more complicated and cumbersome in the time of social distancing — when people can’t just present the documents they need to an insurance broker and fill out the necessary forms in real-time. The process is even harder if the person trying to get covered doesn’t have access to a computer. During normal signup seasons, people can call for help, go use a library computer, or get help from a broker or ACA navigator.

The Trump administration says its plan to pay Covid-19 hospital bills is better, as it promises to make direct payments for care.

But critics note that’s not health insurance. It won’t help a newly uninsured person who breaks a leg, has a heart attack, or is undergoing chemotherapy.”

“People who lose jobs can get COBRA, meaning they can extend their job-related insurance after being laid off. But that is massively expensive — particularly for anyone who has just lost their livelihood.”

“People have just 60 days after losing job-based coverage to get documentation in order and figure out a new plan.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *