A company went bankrupt and left over 200 employees without jobs or health insurance. Enroll Virginia stepped in to help.

Monday, August 12th, 2019

Recently, 240 employees of a Virginia business showed up for work and were informed that their employer had gone bankrupt. These employees were afforded a few minutes to gather their personal belongings and left with no employment and, for those who were enrolled in the companies benefits, no health insurance.

Virginia Poverty Law Center’s Enroll Virginia Program has partnered with the Virginia Employment Commission’s Rapid Response program for the past five years to provide health insurance information to workers who are being laid off. Through this partnership, we were able to interact with and assist many of these employees. Among those we assisted were a woman who had given birth only three weeks earlier, a gentleman who was scheduled for a $24,000 infusion, and several employees with children who had special needs, such as heart disease and developmental disabilities.

Due to the company’s bankruptcy, these employees did not get an offer of COBRA. Some employees were able to be added to a spouse’s employer coverage. Others had to navigate the private market for individuals and public options such as Medicaid.

We gave presentations to these employees, participated in a large job fair, and worked with each family that wanted help understanding their options. If they sought coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace (Obamacare), it was important for them to know that they only had 60 days after their loss of coverage to apply. We also highlighted Medicaid and the new expanded coverage for adults. We went over the differences in these programs, different income limits and levels of assistance, how to apply, and what to expect from the application process. We sat with families and completed the applications as they expressed anxiety over their children’s upcoming doctor appointments and their job searches.

While this is a particularly difficult situation, layoffs and other causes of loss of health insurance occur regularly, leaving many families with a confusing bevy of options. The network of health coverage options in the US is very complicated. Each option (employer, private, public) has different eligibility rules and different times lines, and each family has different needs and priorities.

Get Help

If you’ve lost or risk losing your health insurance, contact Enroll Virginia for help. We offer free, in-person help in your language and in your community, and trained professionals are available to answer questions over the phone or in-person.

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