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COVID-19 - Unemployment and Insurance
COVID-19 continues to impact our citizens in new ways, and we are having to adapt to these changes quickly. With many South Carolinians losing their jobs due to this pandemic, another real concern is people losing their health insurance. Depending on each individual’s circumstances, there are a variety of options available to ensure you and your family have the health insurance coverage you need following a job loss:
The best option for many of our citizens may be to ask for a special enrollment opportunity for major medical coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace. You get 60 days of eligibility from when you lose your employer-sponsored coverage to enroll in an individual or family policy through the Federal Marketplace. Consumers can call 1-800-318-2596 or visit healthcare.gov for details on available coverage and pricing. Many of our citizens may be eligible for premium or cost-sharing assistance to help offset the costs of this coverage.
Another option, although it may be more expensive, is a continuation of your employer-sponsored coverage through COBRA or state continuation. Unfortunately, this is an expensive choice because you have to pay your and your employer’s portion of the monthly health insurance premium, plus a small administrative fee. However, it may be a good choice for those that have ongoing health issues and need access to specific providers that aren’t in the network of a Marketplace plan.
There are fewer comprehensive plans available as well (typically at a lower cost due to the lower benefit levels) in short-term medical products.
In general, the SCDOI recommends that any citizen in this situation reach out to their local, trusted health insurance agent or broker. If you don’t know one, get a referral from a friend or neighbor. A licensed agent can help you work through all of your options and help determine which option is best for your wallet, your health care needs, and your family.
For more information, visit our dedicated coronavirus webpage at www.doi.sc.gov/coronavirus