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Health Insurance For Unemployed Individuals

Lewis Mark | Published: November 07, 2018

Businessman No Money Computer

After some major American retailers closed their doors, more people were added to the rolls of the unemployed. You have many options with respect to health insurance for unemployed. We will compare different unemployed health insurance programs, so you can choose the best one for you.

COBRA Program

The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) of 1985 has provided many valuable healthcare benefits for the unemployed. Under COBRA, you can take health insurance coverage with you, after you lose your job.

The COBRA health insurance for unemployed law applies to companies with more than 20 full-time employees. Generally, COBRA provisions will apply after a “qualifying event.” These “qualifying events” might include any of the following circumstances:

  • Death of Covered Employee
  • Unemployment
  • Divorce
  • Child Becomes Adult

If you qualify, then COBRA provides you with coverage for up to 18 months. If you are disabled, then you might have coverage extended up to 29 months. Divorced individuals and widows can be covered for 36 months. COBRA is a stop-gap until you find another unemployed health insurance plan.

Medicaid

The United States government has set up health insurance for unemployed individuals, who might not be able to afford private coverage. The Medicaid program offers unemployed health insurance for those with insufficient income. It has also been expanded to cover other categories.

The states set up programs that adhere to federal guidelines. Half of the states have signed contracts with managed care organizations (MCOs) to provide the poor with coverage - this accounts for about 80% of all enrollees. Senior citizens are more likely to be part of traditional “fee for service” Medicaid programs.

Health Insurance Marketplace

Health Insurance Marketplaces (also called Health Exchanges) provide individuals with a place to purchase health insurance. Many of these healthcare programs have been standardized. An estimated 8 million people have already signed up via these marketplaces.

The Health Insurance Marketplace is meant to provide you with an easy way to get the coverage that you need. Thanks to Obamacare, you have a number of rights for health insurance, including but not limited to the following:

  • Free Preventative Care
  • Pre-Existing Health Conditions Covered
  • Choice of Doctors
  • Right to Appeal

If you have a pre-existing condition, then the company cannot discriminate against you. You also are free to continue to see your same family doctor, if you want. This is significant because many private healthcare programs try to get you to use their network of doctors.

With the healthcare marketplace, you have more options, besides simply what your employer offers. You are also protected against employer retaliation after you choose a marketplace plan.

Determine Eligibility for Discounted Insurance & Subsidies

You might also be able to qualify for an unemployed health insurance subsidy under Obamacare. There are many provisions within Obamacare that can help you pay for your health insurance. You must satisfy the eligibility requirements to qualify for the Premium Tax Credit (also known as the Premium Subsidy).

You must apply for this Premium Tax Credit via your state’s health insurance exchange. Each state is different. If you need assistance, many states have enrollment assisters (or navigators). Some will work for free, some will charge a fee.

Basically, the Premium Subsidy can be used by those who earn between 100% and 400% of the federal poverty level (FPL). It also depends on whether your state has expanded Medicaid - this will change the threshold level. The government will also look at the second-lowest cost silver plan available and whether you qualify for an employer’s minimum value plan.

The government wants you to pay for a low-cost private plan, if it is available. The government will only pay for your healthcare, if you have no other viable options.

Short-Term Health Insurance

You can also apply for short-term health insurance. These plans can be used to fill gaps in your employment.

Unfortunately, short-term health insurance for unemployed tends to be more expensive. Furthermore, they might not cover pre-existing conditions. You would need to purchase your healthcare coverage from a health exchange to qualify for Obamacare protections.

Evaluate Health Insurance Options

Fortunately, the government has provided you with more rights, options and plans for healthcare. Estimate how long you might be unemployed to determine the best option. Then, find a plan with the right coverage for your needs. Find the best health care coverage for the unemployed to carry you through these difficult times.