In the United States, the COVID-19 pandemic has put millions of people out of work. A portion of the newly unemployed and their families are expected to seek health insurance coverage. Some have been furloughed, which allows them to keep their employer-sponsored health insurance while applying for unemployment benefits. Others may be able to find employer-sponsored health insurance coverage with parents or spouses.
Before the Affordable Care Act (ACA), newly uninsured adults and families could purchase Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) coverage, individual market plans, short-term plans, enroll in Medicaid, or participate more fully in federal health options for which they were eligible. Today, newly unemployed adults and their families have the following additional options not available prior to the ACA:
- Individual market plans through the state or federally run marketplaces with federal premium assistance for qualifying households
- Expanded Medicaid coverage in 36 states
- Young adults (under age 26) can enroll in their parents’ employer-sponsored insurance