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The Rebound: What to do if you lose your health insurance

Medical expert discusses the options and a way to save on Rx
Posted at 10:37 PM, May 06, 2020

WXMI — More than a million people in Michigan are now unemployed due to the coronavirus pandemic and a good portion of those have also lost their health insurance.

We have some tips that could help save money on your premiums and prescription costs.

According to a new study, up to 35 million Americans could lose their health insurance over the coming weeks and with no coverage, many are worried about affording prescription costs.

“‘I’m an insulin dependent diabetic who cannot get medications due to the fact that I do not have health insurance,” a FOX 17 viewer said.

“This is one of those really difficult sort of aspects of collateral damage we're seeing from this pandemic that we’re in,” Medical Expert Dr. Holly Phillips said.

Dr. Holly a board-certified internist says if you like your old insurance you are able to keep it for 18 months under the COBRA Act but it is costly.

Now some good aspects of the plan is that it does offer a lot of stability in that you get to keep your doctor for example, and you don't have a disruption in your healthcare, but it can also be expensive,” Phillips said.

“And that's because the individual and the patient may be required to pay the entire premium, whereas when they were employed, they shared that premium cost, with their employer. Thankfully, there are some other less expensive options still available,” Phillips added.

Dr. Holly says the first place people should look is through the Affordable Care Act.

Here in Michigan, people have 60 days after losing healthcare coverage due to a job loss, to qualify for the special enrollment period.

That includes options through the ACA Marketplace, Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

Low income individuals may also qualify for Healthy Michigan.

“They do allow you to shop for different plans that can kind of suit your needs and your level of income, and they can form. So if you've suddenly found yourself jobless, they can be very inexpensive, because they can cap premiums, if your income is in fact low enough,” Phillips explained.

Another option could be through Priority Health, last month they established a new option that provides combined same day coverage with ACA special enrollment, to bridge any gap

As for those prescription costs, Dr. Holly says to make sure you are taking the generic version of the drug you need.

“Generics are almost always less expensive than the brand names and of course just as effective. There are also some tools out there to help you save,” she added.

One of those tools is the app Rx Saver, it shows user the lowest price of prescription drugs at pharmacies near you, they also have coupons available right on the app.

“A lot of us aren't aware that different pharmacy chains actually charge different prices for medicines you know sort of seems like they would all be one price. But it turns out that they're not. So, rx saver can show you where the lowest prices are near you. So you can make sure you're, you're paying the least amount you can,” she added.