This article has been condensed for length, but the original can be found at https://medium.com/@realworld/realworlds-comprehensive-guide-to-adulting-during-coronavirus-366ad2e8fb9b.
So this isn’t the Spring we had envisioned — whether it’s your final semester of college, or business as usual at the office, we’re living indoor, socially-distanced lives. Though this means your jeans are being neglected and your loungewear game is on-point, there are a few tough realities that have emerged with coronavirus . As your experts in all things ‘adulting’ — we’re here with the 411 on the “real world” impacts of COVID-19 broken down by topic.
This is first and foremost a health crisis — our rule of thumb is, just stay home! That being said, health insurance might feel especially important at times like these. Though a global pandemic is not considered a qualifying event (maybe we should rethink that?), there are a few situations that could arise while we self-isolate that might require giving your plan some consideration:
You’re turning/just turned 26 — Looking at you, March/April babies! In most states, 26 is the golden age of getting cut off from your parent’s health insurance, and is therefore considered a “qualifying event,” meaning that you can enroll in a new health insurance plan. Starting 60 days before your big day and ending 60 days after, you have a “special enrollment period” during which you can choose a new plan. If you have the option, a logical choice is to get on your employer’s plan. If you’re not eligible for coverage through your employer, it’s time to head to your state’s health care marketplace (luckily this one is virtual) to check out alternative options. If enrolling in a marketplace plan you have only 30 days post-bday to sign up. We have lots of tips/tricks/information on our new platform — signup here.
You’re on your university’s plan — So your senior spring might not be what you pictured, but that doesn’t mean your health insurance is going to change as rapidly. The kick-off date with this one depends on your school’s rules — some provide coverage until graduation day, until the last day of the academic calendar, or until one year from enrollment (usually the start of the academic calendar in august), so you’ll need to check with your student services office to ensure you know their policy details. Options here include getting on your parent’s plan, enrolling in a marketplace plan, or signing up for a short-term plan to help bridge coverage if you know you have employer benefits kicking in shortly. If you’re not a senior, you may need to re-enroll in coverage, but can likely remain on your university plan.
You’re changing jobs (and starting a new one) — This is another situation that triggers a special enrollment period (woo!), so get ready to ask a bunch of questions (via email) and read the fine print if you’d like to enroll in your new employer’s plan. If your new employer doesn’t offer coverage you have a few choices — staying on your old employer’s plan if they offer COBRA (but watch out, this can get expensive!), enrolling in an individual plan through the marketplace, or becoming a dependent on another plan (think your spouse if you’re married, your parents if you’re under 26, etc).
You’ve lost your job — Another qualifying event, you’re now able to take advantage of a special enrollment period to sign up for health insurance. The same options apply: first you might be able to enroll in COBRA insurance from your now ex-employer, this will continue your existing plan but usually at an elevated cost for up to 18 months. Second, you can enroll in a marketplace plan (for the rest of the calendar year, or for a shorter term depending on the plan). Or finally, you can join a spouse’s plan if you’re married or your parent’s plan if you’re under 26.
We will be continuing to update this list with new developments. If there is anything we missed or you have advice to share with our community, please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Stay safe and wash your hands!