SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - More local employees are losing their employer health insurance benefits during the COVID-19 crisis.
10News was contacted about employees at the San Marcos Veterinary Clinic who were apparently working just as many hours but their medical benefits have been dropped.
10News spoke to the owner of the clinic on Thursday who said she was forced to make the tough and emotional call to drop her 13 employees' health benefits, including her own, in order to keep them on the payroll and keep the clinic’s lights on during the pandemic. She said the decision was made out of desperation. Not greed.
On Thursday, 10News interviewed Anthony Wright with Health Access California, a consumer advocacy group. “A stay in the hospital for say seven or ten days on a ventilator, which is the treatment for having a severe case of this virus, could be in the tens of thousands of dollars if you're not covered” he told 10News.
So, what if you lose your coverage during the pandemic?
Wright told 10News that Californians can try COBRA, which temporarily extends your same employer-based health plan, but there’s a downside. “That's a very expensive option for most people,” he added.
Wright said a better option could be Covered California, the state's health insurance marketplace that allows individuals to buy coverage at federally subsidized rates.
Covered California’s open enrollment period has been extended through June, amid concerns over the virus. “How much Covered California costs is very much dependent on your current income. It's a percentage of your income on a sliding scale,” he said.
Another option for those who've been terminated or had their hours reduced is Medi-Cal, the state's Medicaid program for people with little to no income.
“Let's face it, if you need healthcare for any reason but especially for the coronavirus, that can be incredibly expensive and you want that protection,” he added.
Below is a list of resources.
Health Access California: