How To Get Health Insurance With No Job: The Complete Guide

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The coronavirus pandemic forced employers to lay off workers in droves. The result? 27 million people lost access to their employer-provided health insurance.

In a time when it's more important than ever to have access to affordable medical care, it pays to know some alternatives. And thankfully, there are plenty to choose from. Employer-provided health plans tend to be some of the most affordable, but it doesn't hurt to take advantage of a temporary solution.

Protect yourself and your family from unexpected medical expenses. Here's how to get health insurance with no job.

Consider COBRA

If your previous employer was a company of 20 or more workers, you have the option of extending your current health insurance plan for an additional 18 months. This is the result of a federally mandated program known as the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act.

Your employer should send you the paperwork within 60 days of your termination. You're even eligible for COBRA if you decided to quit on your own.

Then why doesn't everyone simply extend their current health insurance plan? It's expensive. Really expensive.

It may come as a surprise, but most employers cover about three-fourths of health insurance premiums for their employees. On COBRA, you'll have to pay for the entire plan on your own. In addition to paying four times more than you were previously, there's also a small COBRA fee thrown on top.

Most workers, especially those who recently quit or lost their jobs, can't afford these steep monthly premiums. If the cost is no concern to you, COBRA is the easiest way to keep health insurance without a job.

Apply for Medicaid

No, Medicaid isn't for the elderly. That's Medicare. Medicaid, on the other hand, is a federal health insurance program for those near the poverty line.

Anyone who is unemployed, with a work history or without, may be eligible for Medicaid. Even those who earn an income may qualify. Although you may feel uneasy about accepting help, it's worthy of consideration.

Most states have expanded the scope of their eligibility following the Affordable Care Act. To see if you qualify, visit this site.

Government-run systems don't always have a good reputation. But Medicaid is a great one. In general, it's accepted by most healthcare professionals, which means you don't have to sacrifice time or quality to get the coverage you need.

Best of all, it's cheap. Medicaid plans don't usually come with monthly premiums. Co-pays tend to be the only expenses.

Consider CHIP If You Have Children 

The Children's Health Insurance Program, also known as CHIP, is a decent option for families not eligible for Medicaid. The rules and coverage vary from state-to-state, so you'll want to check your state agency for more details. Most families qualify.

CHIP won't cover the entire family, but it will offer comprehensive coverage to your children. Basic CHIP programs pay for routine healthcare, dental and vision, immunizations, and emergency services. Your state program may offer more.

CHIP comes with some expenses, but the average family pays only $150 per year for each child. 

Explore the Healthcare Marketplace

The Affordable Care Act created the health insurance marketplace. Government programs and private insurance companies post their plans on this database. After providing your income and family size, you'll receive a list of possible plans and discounts that fall within your means.

Usually, you can only enroll in a marketplace plan at the beginning of a new year. However, those who quit or lose their jobs will have a short timeframe to use the marketplace no matter the season.

If you want to know how to save money on health insurance, the health insurance marketplace is the answer. Prices here tend to stay on the lower end of the scale thanks to competition and special discounts you won't find otherwise. 

Buy Private Health Insurance

Here's how to get health insurance fast: Go private.

Let's say you weren't happy with the health insurance marketplace or you don't qualify for a special enrollment period. Private health insurance can help. These plans are similar to those found on the marketplace, but they don't work through the government exchange.

Finding affordable health insurance isn't as easy if you go it alone. However, you'll have more options to choose from overall. Thing is, you'll need to discover them on your own.

If you go this route, consider what's known as short-term health insurance. It's intended for those between jobs, looking for a few months of emergency coverage, just in case. Although they can be cheaper, they will lack some essential services.

For the best results, shop around and don't choose an insurance plan until you completely understand the benefits. 

Inquire About Group Health Insurance Availability 

Are you a member of an association? You may have access to group insurance through your membership.

From college alumni associations to professional organizations, many have special discounts and deals with private health insurance firms. These unique discounts are known as group health insurance. As a member of the group, you automatically qualify.

Why go through an organization rather than shopping around yourself? The group reduces the insurer's risk and passes the savings along through lower premiums.

How to Get Health Insurance With No Job

Although it's not perfect, even the unemployed have access to health insurance. In fact, there are so many options available that it can be difficult to know where to turn. Now that you know how to get health insurance with no job, take your time in exploring every avenue to find the right plan for you and your family.

Looking for more how-to's? Search our site to learn how to do anything worth knowing.


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