Health insurance still available for Californians who lost COBRA benefits


As many as 16 million Americans lost their employer-sponsored COBRA health insurance benefits after the government’s stimulus bill expired Thursday.

With the loss of federal health insurance companies, some people may not be unlucky, but a little on the dollar. Millions of Americans who have taken advantage of the government’s free COBRA benefits in the past six months need replacement coverage immediately. That’s because that benefit was part of the $ 1.9 trillion US bailout that expired Thursday.

Professor Janet Coffman, health insurance expert at UCSF’s Institute for Health Policy Studies, says there are real alternatives.

“If their income is low enough, they will be eligible for Medi-Cal and Medi-Cal will not have any premiums either. So they have a way to get insurance at no cost,” Coffman said.

To qualify for Medi-Cal, singles cannot earn more than $ 17,774 and families of two can earn up to $ 24,040 and get coverage. A family of four making up to $ 36,570 is eligible. Families of eight who earn up to $ 61,630 are also eligible for Medi-Cal.

But that’s not all.

“If their income is above the Medi-Cal threshold, which is 138% poverty, then they would be eligible for Covered California coverage,” Coffman said. California Covered, the Golden State’s version of the Affordable Care Act, can be very affordable for low-income people.

“For people who would be, say, below 250% poverty, so among those very low premiums, $ 1 per month,” Coffman said.

Even individuals and families with higher incomes will benefit from discounted California covered grants, which will still lower your out-of-pocket expenses. And, Coffman says, the actual number of people cut could be less than the 16 million predicted.

“Some people have probably taken jobs under employment-based insurance, but a lot of others are still unemployed,” Coffman said.

Covered California says at least 138,000 Californians have become eligible.

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