Affordable health insurance for unemployed persons can be easily purchased. And if you’re without a job or out of work, you are probably uninsured. Many of the nation’s top carriers offer coverage that is ideal for anyone not working, laid off, or between jobs. Many low-cost plans are designed to keep rates within your budget and allow individuals or families to cancel coverage at any time. Part-time workers can also benefit from many Obamacare options that feature large federal subsidies.
Many $0 premium policies are offered with lower copays on office visits and most common prescriptions. Generic and preferred generic drugs are often available with $0 and $15-$20 copays. Non-generic drugs are always covered, although a deductible may apply. It’s possible to find plans with lower copays for specialist and ER visits (maximum subsidy or cost-sharing Silver-Tier contracts).
Design your own personal plan so that it fits within your budget. Since the cost of coverage is partly based on household income, many low-cost plans are available that can effectively bridge short-term and intermediate-term gaps. Savings is often based on the size of your household and projected household earnings. Although there is no longer a tax penalty for not having healthcare coverage, the financial risk is quite high. Without a job, quality medical care is still available from several sources, including non-ACA options.
Benefits can also be customized to meet just about any situation, whether the need is for a month, or much longer. Medicaid may be available in certain situations, depending upon your current income and eligibility requirements in your state. In many parts of the country, Medicaid expansion has been approved, which relaxes the requirements needed to qualify. Benefits are very comprehensive, and include preventative and catastrophic benefits. Dental and vision coverage is also available. Dual Medicaid and Medicare-eligible plans provide affordable options in all states. Often, major carriers offer these plans, including UnitedHealthcare, Humana, and Aetna.
Dependent children may be eligible for CHIP, while pregnant mothers may also be able to qualify for coverage. CHIP premiums are low and the benefits often feature small copays and low out-of-pocket expenses. It is possible for parents in a household to qualify for a federal subsidy while their children receive CHIP benefits. It’s also possible for one adult to be Medicare-eligible while the other adult is receiving a federal subsidy. However, a joint tax-return filing may be required.
Medical insurance for persons with bad credit is also available. We understand that your lifestyle may change due to not working, so we search for the most affordable options, including different trade associations. Fortunately, your credit rating is not an underwriting factor on 2023 Marketplace and most other plans. Also, temporary reductions in projected household income will increase your amount of eligible federal subsidies. A higher number of dependents will also increase federal and/or state assistance. Dependents can often remain on your policy until they reach age 26.
We Search For The Best Available Options
We are specialists in providing free comparisons of the nation’s best healthcare policies. We show you quality plans that are popular for persons that are between jobs, without coverage or not presently working. The policies found on our website feature the lowest rates from each insurer for private coverage. If your employer offers benefits, you should always consider and compare that offer, especially since it may impact the amount of federal aid you receive to pay premiums. Typically, Group Open Enrollment periods are towards the end of the year.
We never charge any fees and you can always communicate with a “live” person instead of computer-generated email responses. And of course, if you’re out of work, it may only be temporary, so easy cancellation of your policy is always a major benefit. If you need to keep your policy in-force for an extended period of time, many policies are available, both on and off the Exchange. Benefits, however, may not match Marketplace benefits, and qualified preventative coverage may not be provided without some out-of-pocket costs.
If you are eligible for COBRA, we will help you review the plans that are offered by your employer, which should be identical to the most recent coverage you lost. Typically, you will be offered up to 18 months of continuing coverage, with your spouse and dependents also eligible. You may also choose to elect coverage for specific family members instead of the entire household. Your COBRA subsidy could be impacted by which family members are covered. Once a selection is made, additional COBRA options will not be offered.
The cost of COBRA coverage can be very expensive since a federal subsidy is not offered, the employer is not contributing towards the cost of the plan, and deductibles and maximum out-of-pocket expenses are often lower than a typical Exchange plan. Once COBRA benefits are declined, generally all household members can not obtain that coverage, although separate benefits may be offered through a different employer and job position. This would include ancillary products, including vision and dental benefits.
NOTE: Many additional unemployed benefits that are not healthcare-related, are offered by the federal government. This includes disability coverage (short-term and long-term), workman’s compensation, wrongful discharge and termination of employment. Social Security disability insurance and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) may also be offered, depending on your financial need. Your state or local government may also offer limited financial assistance for most family members.
Cheap Temporary Medical Coverage
In many situations, the best type of medical coverage for a person that is unemployed is a “short term” policy. Premiums are substantially less than comprehensive plan rates, and policies are often approved within 15-45 hours. Although pre-existing conditions are not covered, in-hospital, outpatient, and catastrophic benefits are included, which is often the type of policy preferred by the unemployed. Urgent Care and Teladoc visits often are sometimes offered with a $0 copay. NOTE: Subsidized Marketplace plans should always be considered before purchasing a short-term policy. Silver-tier plans provide “cost-sharing” features that can substantially reduce out-of-pocket expenses.
Short-term plans are not required to include “essential heath benefits,” which means although the underwriting carrier is quite reputable (such as UnitedHealthcare or Blue Cross), many mandatory benefits that are included in other plans, will be missing. For example, maternity, mental and substance abuse, and pediatric and adult wellness may be limited or subject to a deductible. However, if you need a policy quickly issued and intend on keeping it in-force for only a few months, it still may be an ideal solution, especially if your household income is too high to qualify for ACA financial aid. If you missed a group or Marketplace Open Enrollment deadline, a ST plan may be the next-best option.
Flexibility is one of the strongest features of a temporary health plan. There are many coinsurance and deductible options that allow you to pay the premium you want. And cancellation of coverage is simple and can be done at any time, even if benefits have not run out yet. It typically only involves a phone call or email, although coverage may have to be kept until the end of the current month. Once a policy period ends, you may be able to re-apply for another period of guaranteed coverage. Depending on the state, up to 36 months of coverage may be available, although are not obligated to keep coverage for the duration of the policy.
Several states have severe restrictions on the duration of the initial coverage period. For example, Virginia’s maximum length of coverage for each contract is three months. Although the policy may be able to be renewed, the duration of coverage is much less than most other states. Pennsylvania has also passed legislation that limits the availability of short-term plans, Allstate, who utilizes Aetna’s PPO network for their temporary plans, can no longer market their plans in the Keystone State. Previously, plans were underwritten by National General.
A “short term” policy is also very easy to find. Many insurers offer this type of plan and make the process easy to obtain or terminate coverage. For example, if the insured is suddenly called back to work after only having the policy for a few weeks, a refund will be credited for the portion of the coverage that was not used. However, most carriers only allow two consecutive policies, so if additional coverage is needed, a different company will have to be used. As long as you are not being treated for any major ailments, you will probably be accepted by the second carrier, although existing medications are not likely to be covered.
We guide you if a temporary-needs situation arises. Typically, there will be between three and five companies that are available, although selected states have limited options. However, if a major health condition has arisen, it may be best to apply for a “guarantee-issue” plan during Open Enrollment. You do not have to provide any medical information and any existing or past conditions will be covered. Recent increased federal subsidies provide a greater chance for finding a low-cost plan. Many $0 premium policies are offered at Bronze-tier levels.
Federal And State Exchange Plans
Plans that cover office visits, (PCP and Specialists) and prescriptions are also available on each state Exchange for individuals and families. Although rates are higher for Silver and Gold-tier options, the coverage will closely match group coverage that may have been recently in effect. Office visits are usually covered with a small copay (often $15-$50) and prescription coverage will provide benefits with low or shared cost.
Bronze-tier plans often place a deductible on major medical AND office visit expenses. The least expensive policies may place a high copay on specialist visits ($80-$160). However, telemed (online) visits are often covered with a $0 copay and no limit on usage.
Non-brand prescriptions can be extremely costly, so it’s imperative that this benefit is included in the plan. There is no cap on the dollar amount of prescriptions paid, although deductibles, copays, and coinsurance can apply. Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS), Aetna, Humana, and UnitedHealthcare are four of the major providers of comprehensive plans. However, in many states these carriers are choosing not to offer coverage, because of large amounts of claims paid in previous years.
Preventive benefits, such as routine annual physicals, mammograms, and OBGYN visits are required to be included with no waiting period or out-of-pocket cost. This feature is often very beneficial, especially if coverage is only kept for a few months, regardless of the reason(s) the plan is terminated. Many diagnostic tests and services are also considered preventative, and service is provided with no out-of-pocket cost. Many carriers offer copays (without a deductible) on non-preventative x-rays, lab tests, and additional diagnostic tests.
Each year, preventive benefits can be utilized. After an individual becomes employed, a comprehensive plan can be kept until age 65 with no risk of cancellation because of change in health. If the rates are quite high on a plan that is offered through a workplace, considering your own private coverage might be a possible option, although a federal subsidy may not be available unless your work plan is determined to be “affordable.”
The “family glitch” was fixed in 2023 which now provides many families with new eligibility for federal subsidies. The more lenient interpretation now bases the affordability of an employee-sponsored medical plan for all family members, instead of only the employee of the company. If coverage costs less than 9.12% of the family household income, the plan is considered “affordable.”
Healthcare Reform Changes Continue
Health reform changes over the last five years may have a significant impact on unemployed persons. COBRA options, although expensive, are still available and advisable for those with serious medical issues. Spouses and dependents can also qualify for COBRA. However, available federal subsidies during Open Enrollment each year could be a more affordable choice and should be compared. It is important to properly project your household income, so that the subsidy is correctly calculated.
Individual plans are usually a less expensive option and you no longer have to medically qualify. There is sometimes a small risk to consumers if a carrier “pulls out” of the state where you live. For example, Aetna stopped offering individual coverage in Indiana, although very few customers were affected since their premiums were so high. Since Aetna’s withdraw from the Hoosier State, Anthem began offering coverage again.
We assist anyone who has questions regarding the best health insurance options for the unemployed. Feel free to view free quotes by entering your zip code at the top of the page. You are under no obligation and you can view plan choices at your own pace. If you remain jobless for an extended period of time, additional federal options may also be available.