Via @AP: Pennsylvania’s Department of Labor and Industry said unemployment compensation claims were 50,000 on Monday, and Tuesday’s filings were on course to exceed that. In the entire first week of March, the state received barely 12,000 claims, according to federal data.
— Marc Levy (@timelywriter) March 17, 2020
Pennsylvania is not unique. Ohio is having a similar spike in claims. Every state that is shutting down this week will have a similar spike. The states that have not shut down this week will have a spike next week when they shut down. And then there is another wave of secondary lay-offs coming as firms that have a little bit of work available for their current work force run out of work and cash stockpiles in the next couple of weeks.
When one is laid off, there are five major insurance possibilities:
- Go uninsured
- Attempt to qualify for Medicaid or CHIP as appropriate
- Go on Exchange
- Go underwritten
- Continue COBRA
I strongly recommend against going uninsured during a pandemic. Medicaid will have the lowest premium and lowest cost sharing if you qualify. Income qualified Medicaid looks at monthly income. So if you had a job that paid really nicely in January and February, and not a lot of income in April, you can qualify on your April income. This is especially important in the states that have expanded Medicaid due to the ACA (Minnesota and New York Residents, you will also look at the Basic Health Program).