The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted workers and businesses across America. Almost every state has required non-essential businesses to close, resulting in mass furloughs and layoffs. As of April 9th, around 16 million people had filed for unemployment insurance. The amount of unemployed workers in America is becoming unprecedented, shattering previous records in the worst ways.
If your employer furloughed you, it is essential that you know what it means, how it affects your health insurance, the benefits you may be entitled to, and how to find affordable insurance in Florida.
What is Furlough?
To be furloughed is to be temporarily laid off from work. The coronavirus has caused businesses everywhere to shutter or temporarily close. If your employer furloughed you, that means that they intend to continue your employment once they are financially able to do so.
Private businesses generally furlough employees when they cannot financially afford them. Employees are told not to come to work, and there are strict orders implemented against working during furloughed periods. Furlough is common in seasonal industries where work is more limited during certain parts of the year. Government agencies may also furlough employees, most notably during government shutdowns.
Your employer determines the length of time of a furlough. In the case of COVID-19, your furlough will likely continue until businesses can reopen, and your employer can afford to bring you back.
Does Furlough Affect Health Insurance?
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused mass furlough and health insurance fears. While testing for the coronavirus may be free, treatment can be costly. Having health insurance during this pandemic is essential to your health and safety.
If you previously received health insurance benefits through your employer, your coverage will likely continue. Health benefits enrollment may continue for up to 365 days while you are in a furlough status. You can pay your premiums directly to your insurance agency. Alternatively, you can allow your premiums to accumulate. When this happens, your premium amount will be withheld from your pay once you return to work.
Furlough vs. Layoff: Key Differences
The COVID-19 virus has caused mass layoffs and furloughs. Understanding the difference between these two statuses can help you understand your rights as a furloughed employee. Key differences between furloughed and laid off employees include:
- Furloughed employees are likely to return to work
- Furloughed employees generally retain their benefits, including health and life insurance, while laid-off employees do not
- Furloughed employees keep their employment rights during furloughed status
- Furloughed and laid-off employees are both potentially eligible for unemployment insurance
Alternative Options for Affordable Insurance in Florida During a Furlough
You may have a couple of options for furlough insurance, including Medicaid or a private insurer through the health insurance marketplace.
Medicaid provides health insurance to qualifying low-income adults and children. The program provides coverage to over 72.5 million Americans each year. The COVID-19 virus has amplified the number of applications for Medicaid, and there’s a good reason why. Medicaid provides insurance at little to no cost. If you have become furloughed, you may qualify due to a loss of income.
Non-financial eligibility requirements for Medicaid include citizenship-based qualifications and state residency criteria. Additionally, some states impose additional eligibility requirements.
The Health Insurance Marketplace (Obamacare)
The health insurance market place is the best place to find furlough insurance options. Filing or updating your application right away can help you avoid a lapse in coverage. The marketplace will inform you if you may qualify for Medicaid based on your income. Once enrolled, you will be allowed to browse through insurance plans and options.
To purchase an insurance policy from the marketplace, you must either live within a state that has open enrollment or qualify for a special enrollment period. You may be eligible for a special enrollment period if you have lost your insurance, got married, or moved within the last 60 days.
An Insurance Agent Can Help You Answer Your Furlough and Health Insurance Questions
Maintaining affordable furlough insurance is crucial during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you do not have insurance or you’re looking for a more affordable option, a licensed insurance agent can help. An insurance agent can help you find affordable insurance in Florida. By reviewing all of your options, you can make an informed decision about your healthcare. Do you need help finding furlough insurance? Fiorella Insurance Agency is one of the largest licensed insurance agencies in Florida. Contact us today to learn how you can join our 66,000 and rising healthcare customers. Or you can complete the form below to get started immediately.