Sunday, June 9, 2024

How To Get Healthcare If You Are Unemployed

Don't Miss

Health Insurance Discount Cards

Unemployed or Underemployed & Need Health Insurance for your Family? Here are Three Tips to Help

Health insurance discount cards give members access to negotiated low-cost healthcare. They’re not insurance plans, but rather an option you might want to explore as a last resort.

You’ll pay a small monthly fee and get a discounted rate on your services when you go to a doctor or hospital. You’ll still end up paying all your medical costs, but at least you’ll pay less.

If You Do Lose Health Care Coverage

The price tag for COBRA or a Marketplace plan may leave you feeling a bit ill, so you may be tempted to forgo health care coverage altogether. Thats not advisable, given the spread of COVID-19.

Amid the spread of the coronavirus, many health insurance plans are offering to waive the copay for teledoc visits and fees for prescription delivery. The cost of treatment on your own could far exceed the monthly premiums.

But if you have no other options, there are still a few stop-gap measures you can take to cover costs until you can afford a plan.

Some states have opened an emergency enrollment period for health insurance regardless of your employment status. Check your states eligibility by entering your zip code at

If you previously had a high-deductible plan and were contributing to a Health Savings Account you can use that money to cover healthcare costs even after you leave the plan.

You can still continue to use your HSA you just cant contribute to it while you dont have a high deductible health plan, said Alexandra Wilson, a Certified Financial Planner.

Money that you put into an HSA is yours to keep unlike a Flexible Spending Account, another health expense account, which has a use-it-or-lose-it annual requirement.

Some states are also helping out: New York state, for instance, is suspending collection of medical debt owed to the state. Check with your states attorney general for updates in your area.

Legislation Signed Today Provides Substantial Premium Tax Credits And Cost

A major provision of the American Rescue Plan ensures that most Americans who receive at least one week of unemployment compensation at any time in 2021 will be able to buy a Silver health plan with $0 premiums. | Image: deagreez /

  • Health insurance & health reform authority

Reviewed by our health policy panel.

EDIT, September 17, 2021: Although the COVID/American Rescue Plan special enrollment window on ended in mid-August, consumers who are receiving or have received unemployment compensation in 2021 can still enroll in coverage and take advantage of the premium subsidies and cost-sharing reductions described in this article.

This special enrollment period does not show up on HealthCare.govs SEP prescreener, but the . They will then reach out to those applicants to let them know that their special enrollment period has been approved.

If youre in a state that uses the marketplace, youve received unemployment compensation this year, and youre not eligible for Medicaid, Medicare, or another employers health plan, its in your best interest to begin the process of enrolling in a 2021 plan, as access to the American Rescue Plan benefits is still available to you.


Although the American Rescue Plan is about far more than just healthcare, its the most significant improvement to healthcare access and affordability since the Affordable Care Act.

Read Also: How To Sign Up For Unemployment Illinois

What Is Cobra Insurance And Is It Worth It

The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, commonly known as COBRA, is a federally mandated program through which you can retain your employer’s policy for up to 18 months. If you do elect COBRA coverage, be prepared to pay significantly higher monthly premiums youll be required to cover the amount your employer was contributing plus a 2% administration fee. Oftentimes COBRA isnt worth it, as most unemployed individuals can find a much more affordable policy on the marketplace.

Can You Really Get Free Medical Care If You’re Unemployed

Can You Collect Unemployment When You Quit Your Job?

BySophie Maddox | Submitted On September 21, 2009

No, the Term Free Medical Care is not a misprint, and yes you can get this care if you are not employed or covered by any major health provider. The huge debate about healthcare and what we should do to improve our broken system are forefront in everyone’s minds right now. But in my experience not only as an insurance agent there are some free options that most are not aware of. Some are well kept secrets that take an insider’s knowledge and or hours of research and knowing just where to look, so that’s why I’m wrapping up some simple solutions for you for free. Not everyone has the resources or time necessary for this.

Discover what’s available to you.

Did you know that there are Medical Centers that are free for you? I had no idea until I became involved in insurance and healthcare.

What types of treatment do they cover?

Any medical treatment, they are a fully staffed and functional hospital and or clinic.

Just how does this free clinic work?

This is often a government funded medical center, so if you do go you may have to wait depending on your health concern. It’s a first come first serve basis, so if possible go early in the day.

Side note: Bring something to read or do while you wait it can take some time depending on how busy they are.

Here’s how to successfully get treatment from a free clinic.

The next day or two,

Don’t Miss: Can You Refinance While Unemployed

Aca Plans Provide Comprehensive Longer

Even if youre unemployed, you may have a choice of affordable health plans that offer essential benefits required by the Affordable Care Act of 2010. Does your family need a wider range of benefits? Planning to work independently? Your income level and where you live could make ACA health coverage your best optionand well help find the plan you need.

Special enrollment period: Extended to August 15th.

Best With Dental: Ambetter

Most Ambetter plans can be supplemented with dental insurance starting at just $12 per month, a better deal than any other insurer, and our choice as best with dental.

  • Dental coverage available with most plans for as little as $12

  • Offers a healthy living rewards program

  • Affordable premiums

  • Operates a 24/7 nurse advice line

  • Lack of digital tools

  • Strict late payment terms

Unemployed individuals often find themselves having to purchase separate dental insurance or forego it entirely. With Ambetter, you can add dental and vision coverage in some states. Coverage can be purchased on the marketplace, and in our test markets, Ambetter was consistently in the top three cheapest insurers.

In addition to low-cost dental coverage, some of the benefits youll enjoy with Ambetter include a 24-hour nurse advice line and a healthy living rewards program. Through the program, youll be rewarded for positive habits like getting a flu shot and watching educational videos. The rewards you earn have a dollar value that can be put toward your premiums or used to pay for utilities, rent, childcare, and more.

Read Also: Does Unemployment Hurt Your Credit

Americans Are Losing Jobs And Health Insurance

During the course of the pandemic, more than 45 million people have filed jobless claims, resulting in an unemployment rate of about 13 percent. By the middle of May, the Kaiser Family Foundation was already estimating that close to 27 million people who are newly unemployed could lose their job-linked health insurance.

The Center for American Progress , a nonpartisan policy institute, suggested expanding Medicaid to as many unemployed people as possible is the best solution. The good news is that even with current legislation in place, there are options available to those who have or will lose their health insurance. In fact, of the 27 million newly-unemployed, an estimated 12.7 million people are eligible for Medicaid. An additional 8.4 million people are eligible for subsidized plans through the Affordable Care Act .

Heres How Old School Investing May Just Protect Your Retirement

Health Insurance While Unemployed?

Typically, an employer picks up close to eighty percent of the premium. Now, you pay the entire cost of the premium, plus up to a two percent administration fee, Fuerstenberg said.

This will be the most expensive option, says Karen Pollitz, a senior fellow at the Kaiser Family Foundation. But if you can afford it, and if youre already in treatment for an ongoing condition, it may be worthwhile to just remain in your job-based plan, not restart your deductible and keep access to the same doctors who are treating you today.

Medicaid. If you now have a low income and need health insurance, Medicaid is a good place to start, said Pollitz.

In 37 states and Washington, D.C., Medicaid offers free, comprehensive health coverage to people whose income has dropped below 138% of the federal poverty line. Thats about $1,467 a month for a single person or $1,982 per month for a couple. In some of these states, adults with higher incomes may qualify.

A caveat: In 14 states, low-income adults generally cant get Medicaid unless theyre over 65 or disabled.

If you qualify for Medicaid, you can apply anytime. Nearly all hospitals and many doctors accept Medicaid, although doctor participation rates vary by state. In most states, Medicaid coverage is delivered by managed care plans.

To see if youre eligible, go to the federal health insurance marketplace at Or go to the website for your states Medicaid agency directly.

Read Also: Can I Add Money To My Unemployment Debit Card

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 To Find The Right Health Insurance Plan

If you have encountered a change in your employment, eHealth can help you find the best health insurance plan available in your state. We offer licensed agents in every state, ready to help you find a health insurance plan that meets your needs and budget. When you enroll in a plan through eHealth, you can sign up on our website, through our live chat or on the phone. Once you are enrolled, we offer 24/7 support to help you manage your plan. Check out individual and family health insurance plans in your area to learn more about your options.

Don’t Miss: Can You File Bankruptcy On Unemployment Overpayment

How To Get Health Insurance While Unemployed

Keeping up with your finances when youre unemployed can be difficult and complicated. However, having health insurance is a vital part of keeping you financially stable. If you or a family member unexpectedly gets sick or hurt, the hospital, medical, and prescription bills can be astronomical. Medical bills can have the potential to put you into debt for years to come. Health insurance can help make medical costs cheaper and easier to handle. As an unemployed resident, you may have access to discounted health insurance that will help keep you healthy and financially secure while you transition to a new full-time job. Below are a few programs that may help you afford health insurance, even if youre unemployed and not currently insured.

Best Provider Network: Unitedhealthcare

Heres How Much Youll Get From the New Unemployment ...

Thanks to UnitedHealthcares expansive provider network, youll never be far from the care you need.

  • Works with more than 1.3 million doctors and 6,000 hospitals

  • Good variety of plan types

  • Save by bundling coverage

  • No special enrollment period for some policies

  • Expensive premiums

  • Coverage only available for up to three years

If you have to switch health insurers due to unemployment, you may be concerned about your current doctor not accepting your new insurance. With UnitedHealthcares network of over 1.3 million physicians and 6,000 hospitals in the U.S., theres a good chance you wont have to. UnitedHealthcare offers individual plans in every state and is the largest health insurance provider in the country, making it an easy choice for best provider network in our review.

There are a dozen different individual and family UnitedHealthcare policies to choose from. Plans are geared toward those who are facing unemployment or simply dont need insurance for an extended period of time. Full health coverage is only available for a maximum term of three years through the TriTerm program, a plan that is designed to offer a more prolonged solution than traditional short-term insurance. You may be able to get a discount by combining a health plan with supplemental coverage like dental or vision.

Recommended Reading: How Do I Change My Address For Unemployment Online

Health Care Sharing Ministries

A health expense sharing ministry isn’t insurance, but it can be an option if you can find a reputable group. An HCSM involves a group of people who pool their money to pay for each other’s healthcare needs.

This is something like self insuring, because the group functions like their own “insurance company.” Contributions are pooled and are often invested so they earn interest.

A health care sharing ministry involves a group of people who share similar beliefs. It’s a non-profit entity. These plans may have some limits that you wouldn’t find in insurance plans. There may be rules against procedures that the group objects to on a moral basis. Some religious groups use this model successfully, such as Medi-Share and Samaritan Ministries.

Newly Unemployed Uninsured May Be Eligible For Public Health Coverage

It all sort of came at one time, said Ramsey, 38, of Glenside. I lost my job. A couple days later the lockdown in Montgomery County happened. … I wasnt so concerned at first, but I quickly realized things were changing pretty rapidly.Coronavirus Coverage

Not only had Ramsey lost her job, her family lost their health insurance.

Newly unemployed and uninsured individuals may be eligible for a plan through the federal marketplace, Others may have low enough family incomes to qualify for Medicaid.

Even if you anticipate being rehired in a few months, its worth finding out if you are eligible for another insurance plan, said Antoinette Kraus, executive director of Pennsylvania Health Access Network , which helps people enroll in plans and Medicaid.

You never know when you might get sick or need health coverage, she said.

How to get MedicaidMedicaid may be an option for people whose income has dropped to within 138% of federal poverty $17,618 a year for an individual and $36,158 a year for a family of four.

Unemployment pay counts as income, but the federal stimulus payments promised by the federal government do not.

Medicaid coverage is retroactive, but processing the application can take up to 30 days. If you have an urgent medical need, note that in your application state reviewers may expedite your case.

People who sign up now will have coverage that takes effect May 1.

Read Also: How To Apply For Unemployment In Chicago

How Do I Get Health Insurance If I Lose My Job

There are many ways to get health insurance if you lose your job. The first is COBRA, which allows you to keep your same insurance plan but can be expensive. Becoming unemployed also qualifies you for a special enrollment period, which means you can purchase any new insurance policy for up to 60 days after you lose your job. In some states, short-term health coverage is an affordable option that can keep you insured for up to a year while you look for new work.

Health Care Programs Eligibility

Health insurance options for recently unemployed

Health care coverage is available to individuals and families who meet certain eligibility requirements. The goal of these health care programs is to ensure that essential health care services are made available to those who otherwise do not have the financial resources to purchase them.

It is very important that individuals and families obtain health care coverage. In Michigan, there are many health care programs available to children, adults, and families. Specific coverages may vary depending on the program and the applicant’s citizenship status . The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services determines eligibility for most of the health care programs that are administered by the State of Michigan).

All of the health care programs in Michigan have an income test, except Children’s Special Health Care Services, and some of the programs also have an asset test. These income and asset tests may vary with each program. For some of the programs, the applicant may have income that is over the income limit and still be able to obtain health care benefits when their medical expenses equal or exceed their deductible amount.

Also Check: Can You Draw Unemployment If You Quit Your Job

Will The 2021 Stimulus Bill Help With Health Insurance For The Unemployed

COVID-19 is finally in the rearview mirror for many Americans and the American Rescue Plan comes with a few major health care perks. Essentially, it makes health insurance for unemployed individuals much more affordable. Lets look at how it plays with COBRA and the ACA marketplace.

If you chose COBRA to get you through unemployment, the American Rescue Plan subsidizes COBRA premiums 100% for a limited time. It also extends the dates of COBRA coverage for individuals whose right to coverage previously ended. That can make a big difference if youre in a tough spot. But rememberyou have to be unemployed involuntarily to qualify for these perks.

If you chose to purchase a plan from the ACA marketplace, and youre unemployed involuntarily, theres more good news. The American Rescue Plan increases the size of the subsidy to help unemployed folks pay for ACA health care premiums. Depending on the size of your family and your yearly income, you might be eligible for more help.

More articles

Popular Articles