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How To Afford Health Insurance When Unemployed

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Individual Private Health Insurance

About Affordable Health Insurance for the Unemployed : Health Insurance

Individual private health insurance is a plan you purchase from a non-government exchange. Shopping on a private exchange, like eHealth, allows you to have more variety in your coverage options. You will also have the option of shopping for ACA-compliant plans, and youll even be able to apply for subsidies through eHealth by proxy.

Keep in mind that since the ARPA expanded qualifications for subsidies, you might now be eligible for assistance even if you did not qualify before. According to the new rules, enrollees now do not pay more than 8.5% of their income towards their insurance coverage, which has been reduced from nearly 10% under the prior limits. In addition, those earning more than 400% of the federal poverty level may now qualify for subsidies. In 2021, that includes individuals making about $51,000 or less annually and families of four making more than $104,800 annually.

If you find that subsidies arent an option for you, youll also be able to shop for alternative individual and family plans that may offer less benefits but be within in your price range. Short-term health insurance and catastrophic plans are two options that fall into this category.

Can I Drop My Health Insurance Without A Qualifying Event

You can cancel your individual health insurance plan without a qualifying life event at any time. On the other hand, you cannot cancel an employer-sponsored health policy at any time. If you want to cancel an employer plan outside of the companys open enrollment, it would require a qualifying life event.

Health Insurance Options If You’re Unemployed

Whether you’re unemployed or a part of our nation of job hoppers, youll probably wind up with short gaps in employment. This means youll need to find health insurance while youre between jobs.

Finding health insurance without a job can be challenging, because money is often tight during such times. So what choices do you have when you need health insurance and have no income? The answer may surprise you. In addition to COBRA, which allows continued coverage under your existing group benefits, options may include short-term health insurance, individual major medical insurance , and Medicaid.

What you choose will depend on a few factors, including your circumstances, how long you need benefits, what coverage you qualify for, your budget, and your healthcare needs. Lets take a closer look at each of the four affordable options to see how they differ and why you might pick one over another.

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Is Cobra Your Best Health Insurance Option

COBRA is a great way to temporarily withhold employer-sponsored health benefits. The costs can be high, but when you have the savings in the HSA, your costs can be offset. Make an informed decision by weighing all your options during the 60-day registration period, rather than focusing on the rewards.

Option : Membership Organization

How to Find Affordable Health Coverage During Unemployment

Another option for freelancers, the self-employed, or even the unemployed is to join a membership organization that offers a group plan. The idea is similar to getting insurance through an employer. Instead of everyone sharing the same company, they share the same industry, interest, or another common tie. Like employers, membership organizations can use their many members to negotiate for better coverage and lower premiums and deductibles.

You may find youre already part of an organization that offers group health insurance. Organizations like AARP, the Freelancers Union, and Writers Guild of America all offer membership health care coverage. In general, unions, guilds, alumni associations, and even your local chamber of commerce are all good places to check.

Before signing up with any organizations coverage, be sure to compare their offering with what you can get through the ACA. Some membership organization plans are not ACA compliant and may not cover pre-existing conditions.

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Need Health Insurance A Guide To New Options Under The Stimulus

There is more financial assistance for more people seeking coverage. And many people who are already covered can get discounts, too, if they sign up.

The stimulus package signed by President Biden on Thursday provides new options for Americans who need health insurance and new resources to help lower costs for those who are already insured.

Few of these changes apply to Americans who get insurance at work or through Medicare. But if you buy your own insurance, have been uninsured, or have recently lost job-based coverage because of a layoff, the bill introduces new programs and new funding to help you get and stay covered. The new programs are temporary none last longer than two years.

The array of programs can be complicated and tough to navigate, and some will take a little time to update. Here is some guidance.

Can I Get Health Insurance Without A Job

BY Anna Porretta Updated on August 02, 2021

If you lose your employment for any reason, one of the biggest concerns is how to ensure your potential medical needs are covered. The good news is you can get health insurance without a job. While group health insurance is not an option for those without an employer, you can still qualify for individual or family plans. Individual health insurance offers all the same coverage options as you may find from employer-sponsored plans.

If you are unemployed, your employer doesnt offer health insurance, or you do not qualify for benefits offered at your job, you still have a few health insurance coverage options:

  • COBRA
  • Affordable Care Act insurance
  • Individual or family health insurance

Most Americans do get their health insurance through their employer. According to a 2017 survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation about half of Americans get employee sponsored health insurance.Even if youre in the minority, you can still find unemployed health insurance thats right for you, your situation, and your budget. At eHealth, our licensed brokers have the expertise and experience to help you find the best individual or family health insurance plan for your needs and budget.

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What Are The Eligibility Requirements To Receive Unemployment Benefits

In order to receive unemployment benefits, you must meet all the requirements to apply for and prove your benefit. When applying for unemployment benefits, you must receive sufficient wages during the base period to be eligible for: being wholly or partially unemployed. Without exception, without any work on your part.

What Do You Need To Know About Student Health Insurance

Millions who received unemployment benefits can qualify for free health care coverage
  • Students can get health insurance from their college or university.
  • You should let your insurance company know that your child is going to college.
  • Discuss health care options and parent involvement.
  • You will likely want to keep students with pre-existing medical conditions on your plan.
  • Enjoy the benefits of a college health insurance plan.

Personal Automobile Insurance

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Selecting The Best Fit For Unemployed Applicants

Costs and budgeting may be a high priority for unemployed persons. It is important to update application figures to reflect unemployment and future earnings. Comparison shopping is an ideal method for assessing the features of plans that matter most. These might be facilities, in-network services, or locations.

For those seeking to lower costs, the degree of out-of-pocket expenses may be the most important factor. Comparison shopping is a tool for the consumer to get the best plan for their individual or family situation.

What Can You Do If You’re Facing Unaffordable Premiums

Most Americans get coverage from a subsidized government-run program , an employer-sponsored plan that includes significant employer subsidies and tax breaks, or a subsidized individual market plan through the exchange. So the people who have to pay full price for their coverage are sometimes lost in the shuffle. But if you’re faced with a premium bill that amounts to a substantial portion of your income, you’re not alone. Let’s take a look at what you can do in this situation.

First, understand why you’re not eligible for financial assistance with your premiums. In most cases, you’ll be in one of the three scenarios described above.

Switch to the Exchange

If you’re enrolled in a plan outside the exchange/marketplace in your state, you can’t receive a subsidy. Switching to the exchange might result in much more affordableand possibly more comprehensivecoverage. This is especially true now that the American Rescue Plan has been implemented.

Talk to Your Employer

If your family is affected by the family glitch, it may help to discuss the situation with your employer. If, for example, your employer offers coverage to spouses but requires the entire premium to be payroll deducted , they may not realize that they may be inadvertently consigning familiesparticularly those with lower incomesto unaffordable premiums due to the family glitch. Once they understand the implications for their employees’ families, they may consider changing the benefits they offer .

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Best For Telehealth: Cigna

All Cigna individual health insurance plans include free access to two of the largest virtual care networks in the United States, making Cigna our choice as best for telehealth.

  • All individual plans include $0 virtual care

  • Partners with two major telehealth networks

  • $25 monthly copay limit on insulin

  • Offers 24/7 customer service

  • Dental coverage starts at $19 per month

  • Individual plans only available in 10 states

  • Policies must begin on the first day of the month

  • Higher-than-average premiums

Access to telehealth services can be a lifesaver for anyone dealing with unemployment. Not only does virtual care save you the time and cost of getting to a doctors office, but you can also even get remote treatment for some minor ailments without having to pay for an in-person visit. Cigna includes $0 telehealth visits with all of its individual plans through partnerships with MDLive and Amwell, two of the largest telemedicine providers in the United States.

Virtual health visits arent the only advantage to purchasing health insurance from Cigna. In-house customer service is available 24 hours a day to answer questions and provide assistance. The company also places a $25 monthly out-of-pocket cost limit on insulin regardless of your coverage level.

How We Chose The Best Health Insurance For The Unemployed

 How to get health insurance for the unemployed

Our analysis looked at 30 health insurers nationwide to identify the best companies based on the benefits they offer to those facing unemployment. We chose insurers with widespread geographic representation who provide flexible policies geared toward individuals with short-term insurance needs. Since financial strain is a main concern during periods of unemployment, we weighed policy pricing heavily by comparing quotes from five sample markets. Finally, we evaluated accessibility to care, including the number of in-network providers and the availability of telehealth services.

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What Do You Do If You Dont Have Health Insurance

If you find yourself without health insurance and need medical attention, you should be prepared to pay full out-of-pocket costs for any treatment you receive. In case of an emergency, U.S. law prohibits hospitals from refusing treatment due to your financial situation. However, if you are truly unable to afford coverage, you should see if you qualify for insurance through Medicaid. Those who dont meet Medicaid requirements should at least consider purchasing a low-cost catastrophic plan to protect you financially in case of serious injury or illness.

What Youll Pay When You Need Medical Care

If you enroll in a Silver plan, youll get the full benefits of the unemployment-based subsidies, meaning that youll have fairly low out-of-pocket costs if you need medical care later this year. Any Silver plan you choose will have a maximum out-of-pocket of no more than $2,850 in 2021, and its common to see these plans with deductibles that range from $0 to $500. Copays for office visits and many prescriptions also tend to be fairly low.

If you choose a non-Silver plan, the normal cost-sharing will apply. No matter what plan you select, your out-of-pocket maximum for in-network care wont exceed $8,550 this year, but the specifics of the coverage will vary considerably from one plan to another.

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How Long Does Cobra Coverage Last

Depending on your situation COBRA coverage can last anything from 18-36 months, or until you find another place of employment.

This is also dependent on your premiums being paid timeously. To ensure that you are fully informed as to what youre eligible to under the coverage contact your health insurance provider.

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Shop The Health Insurance Marketplace

Health insurance options for recently unemployed

You can apply for CHIP and Medicaid on the Healthcare.gov website and immediately learn whether you qualify. If you dont qualify for either program you can purchase private health insurance through the site and see if any tax credits may be available to help pay your monthly premiums. You can get an advance on any tax credit for which you qualify to buy your insurance right away, rather than wait for the Internal Revenue Service to give you a refund at the end of the year.

Through 2018, the Affordable Care Act imposes penalties on taxpayers who do not acquire health insurance privately or through the Marketplace. However, you may request an exemption from the penalty. An exemption granted because your income cannot support health insurance premiums may qualify you to purchase catastrophic health benefits using the Marketplace.

Not sure if you are exempt from the tax penalty or from the requirement to purchase health insurance? See “Are You Exempt From Health Care Coverage?” to help determine whether you might be eligible to waive the tax penalty entirely and apply for a health care exemption.

Beginning in 2019, there is no longer a penalty for not having health insurance.

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Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act

These plans are available if you’ve been laid off, or if you’ve had your work hours cut. You may be able to remain on your former employers’ health plan through COBRA. College students may be able to remain on their parents’ plans with this option.

You might be eligible for COBRA due to include voluntary or involuntary job loss, having your hours cut, if you’re moving between jobs, or if there have been changes in your family such as death or divorce.

COBRA is an option for people who may have lost their jobs while they’re still receiving treatment for medical problems.

COBRA may not be the cheapest health insurance option, but it can provide good coverage, depending on your needs.

Best Health Insurance Companies

Now that you understand more about free and reduced health insurance and how to qualify, you might be wondering which healthcare provider is the best. While providers may vary based on the coverage youre looking for and your location, weve compiled 5 of the best health insurance companies and grouped them into categories to help you make an informed decision.

# of Healthcare Providers

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What Are The Perks Of Cobra Insurance

  • With COBRA, you can follow the same plan as if you were still working.
  • Spouses, ex-spouses or children are eligible to participate.
  • COBRA can help fill the health insurance gap until you qualify for another health insurance policy.
  • If you don’t sign up for COBRA right away, you have up to 60 days to accept retroactive coverage.

What Happens To Your Employer

Affordable Care Act and Divorce (and other Life Changes)

If you are laid off from your job, your health insurancecoverage typically ends when your job does. Some employers will extend benefitsto the end of the month in which you are laid off, but this varies from companyto company. Under a federal program known as COBRA, you may keep your currentinsurance, but you must pay the full amount of the premiums and any otherexpenses previously covered by your former employer.

The cost of keeping your current coverage under COBRA can bequite high. Many individuals find it is more cost-effective to enroll in anunemployed health insurance plan that will offer similar coverage for lessmoney in many cases.

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I Need Insurance But My Income Is Very Low

In most but not all states, simply having a low income can qualify you for Medicaid coverage. Medicaid generally charges no premiums and has very low co-payments for doctor visits or prescriptions. In the states shown below, you can qualify by having an income that is lowerthan around $1,400 monthly for a single person or $2,950 for a family of four.

Missouri and Oklahoma are in the process of expanding Medicaid, so people there may also become eligible later this year. The stimulus bill provides a financial incentive for other states to expand their programs, too. So far, it is unclear whether any of them will take advantage of the offer.

In the states that havent expanded, you may also qualify for Medicaid if you are poor and fall into some other category, such as being the parent of a young child. If you think you could qualify for Medicaid, it is worth applying to find out.

If you have received unemployment insurance and live in one of the states that havent expanded, you will be eligible for a free silver marketplace plan even if you would not normally earn enough to qualify for such coverage.

Eligibility for Medicaid will endure even after stimulus provisions expire.

About The Childrens Health Insurance Program

Often referred to as CHIP, the Childrens Health Insurance Program is a good way to ensure your childrens health needs are covered, no matter how much income youre bringing in. As an unemployed resident, your children may qualify for CHIP coverage. Most routine health checkups are free under CHIP coverage, but there may be copayments for other services or prescription drugs. If you qualify for CHIP, you can sign up for coverage at any time of the year and start receiving benefits immediately.

CHIP focuses on keeping children healthy and well by helping cover: doctors visits, prescriptions, immunizations, X-rays, dental visits, vision checkups, emergency services, and other health care requirements as needed. The monthly premium required for CHIP differs in every state and depends on the funds available for the state. If there is enough government funding, the state is able to offer CHIP to families at no cost. If the program requires a premium, families are never charged more than five percent of their annual income for coverage.

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