With the U.S. economy continuing to reel from the impact of COVID-19, many Texas residents have found themselves in the precarious position of having to sacrifice medical insurance due to job loss. A staggering 2.5 million Texas residents have filed for unemployment since mid-March, and researchers estimate that between 23 million and 43 million people in the U.S. will lose health insurance through their employers in the coming months if the country’s unemployment rate continues to rise. Will losing your job impact your credit score? And if so, could this affect your insurance premium? Let’s take a closer look.
Unemployment and Your Credit Score
The stress of job loss has only been compounded by the current global pandemic. Many in Texas and across the country are scrambling to figure out their next steps, wondering how far-reaching the impact of unemployment will be.
While job loss inevitably means a decrease in your income, which could impact your credit score down the road due to inability to maintain bill payments, unemployment itself does not automatically equate to a credit score decrease.
In fact, insurance companies are prohibited from charging you more or refusing coverage if your credit score has been hurt by the following:
- A major illness or injury
- The death of a spouse, child, or parent
- Temporary job loss
- A recent divorce
- Identity theft
Your insurance company must inform you if your premium changed as a result of your credit score, and if this the case, you should certainly reach out to them and ask for an exception because your score decrease resulted from a pandemic-related job loss.
This is a protection that Texas consumers are entitled to in regard to their credit and will hopefully bring a welcomed sigh of relief for those navigating these unprecedented times and facing the loss of employment due to the Coronavirus.
Important Things to Know About Insurance Premiums & Job Loss
If you have lost your job due to COVID-19, this constitutes a “qualifying life event,” making you eligible to apply for health insurance through the government marketplace at healthcare.gov. You are also more likely to be eligible for a higher subsidy, or assistance, due to the decrease in your household income.
What to Do If You Can’t Afford Your Monthly Premium
The first thing you should do if you’re afraid you won’t be able to make your monthly premium is reach out to your insurance agency. Most agencies are offering extended grace periods or other help for policyholders who are having trouble making on-time payments due to the pandemic.
On March 23, the Texas Department of Insurance issued guidance requesting that all insurance companies “offer grace periods for payments, temporary suspension of premium payments, payment plans, and other actions to allow continuing insurance coverage as appropriate.”
If you have questions regarding your options and rights when it comes to your insurance policy during this time, please reach out to the friendly team of experts at Evans, Ewan & Brady Agency. Call us today at 512-869-1511 or schedule your free consultation online. We are committed to helping you navigate through these difficult times, offering guidance and unmatched service for all of your insurance needs.