During the current COVID-19/Coronavirus pandemic, business owners, employees, and their families are being forced to make difficult decisions when it comes to staffing and benefits. If an organization comes to the decision that layoffs are needed, there are important resources and information to keep in mind for impacted employees and their families.

First, employees will be offered the ability to continue their existing benefits package through COBRA. Through COBRA, the cost of the entire premium shifts to the individual and their family for any tier plan (subscriber, subscriber & spouse, family, etc.) that the employee had in place. The total amount owed by the COBRA eligible subscriber will be 102% of the total monthly premium. A benefit of electing COBRA is that it’s a continuation of the exact plan that the employee had in place during employment. This can especially be beneficial if the employee has reached their deductible or out-of-pocket maximum, or is close to reaching either amount.  One negative impact of electing COBRA is the cost. The upfront monthly premium can be prohibitive to many Americans, especially those living paycheck to paycheck. Although COBRA is an option for all individuals who experience layoffs, it may be the best solution for only a small amount of these affected individuals.

A second option for individuals that experience a layoff is to sign up for health insurance through the individual marketplace on the NY State of Health. Due to the loss of employer-sponsored coverage, individuals that experience a layoff will become eligible for this enrollment. Those affected may also be eligible for a monthly tax credit that can reduce their monthly premium significantly. This is based on factors such as estimated adjusted gross income for 2020, the size of their family, and the county of their residence.  The loss of employment may also allow an individual and their family to be eligible for subsidized programs such as Medicaid, Child Health Plus, and the Essential Health Plan. Medicaid and Child Health Plus provide full coverage for all medical and dental services. The Essential Health Plan allows an individual to access a plan with no deductible and low co-payments for $20 per month. These plans are available through the major health insurance carriers in your area of residence.

Finally, if an individual is laid off and their spouse is still offered coverage, this qualifying event would provide the couple/family the opportunity to join that employer’s coverage.

Here at Bond, we know that these uncertain times can cause stress and uneasiness for yourself, your family, and your entire network of friends and loved ones. Please know that Bond Benefits Individual Marketplace Account Team can provide you with a resource to provide answers to the important question of “what do I do now if I lose my job?”

Please stay safe and healthy during this time and do not hesitate to reach out with any questions or concerns.

Mark Shannon

marks@bondbenefits.com 248-5870 ext. 157