Affordable Health Insurance for the Unemployed

Affordable Health Insurance for the Unemployed

Are you unemployed and are looking for health insurance?

We are here to help. In this section, you will find a long list of affordable, low cost and even free health insurance for the unemployed.

In the recent years, hundreds of thousands of people have been affected by downsizing (some companies like to call this “rightsizing”).

Few were spared. Several big companies outsourced jobs to other countries to save on costs. Even small companies are cutting back…trying to do more with fewer people. Most companies downsize to achieve their growth and profitability targets. Others need to do it in order to survive.

As a result, many people (who for years have benefited from employer-sponsored insurance) now find themselves, for the first time, trying to understand the health insurance market and figuring out what health care benefits they are entitled to.

If you are unemployed or recently laid off, you may be asking the following questions:

“What are my health insurance options?”
“What is COBRA? Who is entitled to COBRA?”
“What if I’m not eligible for COBRA?”
“What if I can’t afford the COBRA premiums?”
“Do I have other insurance alternatives?”
“Should I risk not having health insurance for a few months?”

Before we answer the questions above, you must know that:

YES, you have options. There are several health insurance for the unmployed that are affordable and even free. And…

NO, you shouldn’t opt to be without health insurance coverage even if you think you are healthy. A knee injury or a major illness could cause you significant financial losses. And in most states, you’ll lose your pre-existing-conditions coverage if you go without insurance for more than 63 days.

So please don’t delay. You need to act right away to keep your health coverage and ensure you have adequate protection during this transition period.

Here are the various options available to you:

Private Sector Options
1. Elect COBRA Coverage
2. Convert to non-group plan
3. Get in your spouse’s employer-sponsored health coverage
4. Consider short-term insurance
5. Buy individual insurance
6. Look into HSAs
7. Join trade associations

Public Options
8. Check out Medicare
9. Apply for Medicaid
10. Visit your local health care clinics

Let’s now explore each health coverage option…

Carefully review each and determine which one is appropriate to your situation. Contact your state insurance commissioner office to learn more about your rights and protection under the state insurance laws.

1. Elect Cobra Coverage.

COBRA is the federal Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act. Under COBRA, companies with 20 or more employees are required to offer continued group plan coverage to you, your spouse and children for 18 months in the event of layoff, strike, reduction in hours or other displacement from job.

You must notify your employer within 60 days if you wish to elect COBRA coverage. You also must pay the entire premium, which your employer used to pay, plus 2% to cover the COBRA administrative cost.

True, COBRA can prove to be a relatively expensive option. But it is definitely worth considering if you or any member of your family suffers from a pre-existing condition or is pregnant since COBRA offers guaranteed coverage from your previous plan. Click here to read more on COBRA. Once you’ve exhausted all of your COBRA benefits you have the right to buy a guaranteed issue individual policy (guaranteed issue since the insurance cannot exclude coverage for pre-existing health conditions), under HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act), provided you obtain new coverage within 63 days. Otherwise, you lose your right to a guaranteed-issue policy. If you wish to learn more about HIPAA, click here.

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