Options If You Need Health Insurance But Have No Income
If you currently have no earnings and want to get health insurance, you have choices, but they may be limited.
“The best option for people with no income would be Medicaid. Each state has its own Medicaid program and, although it’s not always called Medicaid, each Medicaid program is designed to provide medical insurance to low-income individuals and families,” explains Bartleson. He says the easiest way to find your state’s Medicaid program and apply is to search online.
If you have children or minor dependents and meet the requirements, you can enroll them in your state’s Children’s Health Insurance Program , says Brian Martucci, the Minneapolis-based finance editor for Money Crashers.
“As with Medicaid, CHIP income eligibility varies by state, but the limits can be more generous than for Medicaid,” Martucci adds.
Free Health Insurance If You Collected Unemployment In 2021
If youre approved for even one week of unemployment compensation in 2021, you qualify for a premium subsidy that will fully cover the cost of the two lowest-cost Silver plans in the marketplace/exchange in your area, through the end of the year.
The subsidy will also likely cover the full cost of many of the Bronze plans, and possibly some of the Gold plans, depending on the pricing of plans where you live. This is a special subsidy rule created by the ARP, for 2021 only.
In addition to the subsidy that will allow you to get a free Silver plan, it will also ensure that any of the available Silver plans have full cost-sharing reductions.
Immediate Steps When You Lose Health Insurance
- Regardless of what your next steps might be, make sure you obtain a “letter of coverage” from the insurer you’ve had until now. This is not an unusual request, and it may even be provided to you before you ask for it. It simply states that the insurer has covered you for the period from ___ to ____. As you shift to another insurer, you may need to prove that you have had constant and consistent coverage to that point, and this letter is what provides that proof.
- Look into the potential for health insurance coverage through your spouse or partner’s employer. . If you learn that it’s a possibility, then collect information about coverage, including what it covers, and the associated costs. You’ll want to compare these possibilities with your other options. Be sure to assess any alternatives against the suggestions below for choosing the right health insurance plan.
- Determine whether you are eligible for COBRA. COBRA is the federal law that requires employers to continue coverage to employees and their families for up to 18 months after they have left that job. There are a few requirements that must be met, but in general, this will be your least expensive way of maintaining the insurance you’ve had. Don’t be shocked, though. It will strike you as very expensive because, up until now, your employer has been paying a portion of your premium. Learn more about COBRA coverage.
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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.
Background And Data On Health Insurance Coverage During The Covid
Very early in the economic crisis caused by the coronavirus, we drew on the best real-time data then available to estimate how many workers likely had lost access to ESI because they were laid off.1 For a number of weeks we updated our estimates using the weekly initial claims for unemployment insurance , broken down by industry, to make this calculation. Months later in the crisis, there are much better measures of job lossboth gross and netavailable to us than these initial UI claims, and so we are updating our methodology.
The gold-standard data source that will allow us to precisely estimate how many people have lost ESI due to the COVID-19 crisis is more than a year away from being released. Generally, researchers consider the data set released every September from the Annual Social and Economic supplement to the Current Population Survey to be the gold standard for health insurance coverage trends. The ASEC asks households about their income and health insurance coverage over the previous year, so the 2020 data will not be available until September 2021. However, as described below, there are a number of available data sources that allow us to make decent inferences about the likely loss of ESI and the likely loss of health insurance coverage of any kind due to the COVID-19 crisis.
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Does Health Insurance Start The Same Day I Lose My Employer
It depends on what options you resort to. plans take effect the first day of the month after your job-based insurance ends. Therefore, if you lose your insurance plan on March 7 and select a Marketplace plan by March 31, coverage can start on April 1. However, if you use a solution such as Mira, healthcare coverage will start the same day you sign up.
Use The Special Open Enrollment Period
Established by the Affordable Care Act, the Health Insurance Marketplace is a resource available to most US citizens and can help narrow down private health insurance coverage options, and find out whether tax breaks or other subsidies are available.
The Marketplace’s open enrollment period runs from November 1, 2020 to December 15, 2020. However, losing job-based coverage, getting married, or having a baby at any point during the year may qualify you for a special enrollment period.
Eleven states and Washington, DC, use their own health insurance marketplace and they have already opened up a special enrollment period for workers laid off due to the coronavirus, the New York Times reports. Two trade associations sent a letter to Congress urging that the federal government also open up a one-time special enrollment period that doesn’t require qualification.
Notably, insurance offered through the Marketplace cannot deny any individual coverage, even for pre-existing conditions. According to Policygenius, these plans all minimally cover the 10 essential benefits mandated by the federal government, including emergency services and pregnancy and newborn care, plus any benefits required by your state of residence. Some also include dental coverage.
First you have to fill out an application with your estimated income for the year and information about your spouse and/or dependents . This will generate a list of the health plans available to you.
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What Happens To Your Employer
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.
What If My Income Is Too Low For Subsidies
In order to qualify for premium subsidies for a plan purchased in the marketplace, you must not be eligible for Medicaid, Medicare, or an employer-sponsored plan, and your income has to be at least 100% of the federal poverty level.
In most states, the ACAs expansion of Medicaid eligibility provides coverage to adults with household income up to 138% of the poverty level, with eligibility determined based on current monthly income. So if your income has suddenly dropped to $0, youll likely be eligible for Medicaid and could transition to Medicaid when your job-based coverage ends.
Unfortunately, there are still 11 states where most adults face a coverage gap if their household income is below the federal poverty level. They arent eligible for premium subsidies in the marketplace .
This is an unfortunate situation that those 11 states have created for their low-income residents. But there are strategies for avoiding the coverage gap if youre in one of those states.
And keep in mind that subsidy eligibility in the marketplace is based on your household income for the whole year, even if your current monthly income is below the poverty level. So if you earned enough earlier in the year to be subsidy-eligible for 2021, you can enroll in a plan with subsidies based on that income, despite the fact that you might not earn anything else for the rest of the year.
What Are Your Health Insurance Options If Youre Unemployed
11 Minute Read | September 10, 2021
Life happens. We get that.If you lost your job, we know youre not just worried about when your next paycheck will arrive, theres also that other nagging thought in the back of your mind: What about my health insurance?
If youre no longer covered by your employers group health insurance, you might be assuming that your health care options are limited. And now it may feel like all you can think about is how to get health insurance between jobs.
But dont lose hope. Take a deep breath. There are options out there to protect your health care until youre back on your feet!
Health Insurance And The Covid
Because the large majority of nonelderly U.S. households rely on employer-sponsored insurance to pay for health care, any economic shock that destroys jobs also destroys access to health coverage. The COVID-19 crisis is one such shock, causing a near-total shutdown of huge swaths of the U.S. economy in March and April. While there was a large bounceback in job growth in May and June and, to a lesser extent, in July, the overall level of employment remains historically depressed relative to pre-COVID benchmarks.
Although the gold-standard data sources tracking changes in health insurance coverage will not be available until next year, imperfect but available data on job churn and net employment allow us to produce estimates of losses of health insurance coverage since the COVID-19 shock began. These estimates are more accurate than early-crisis estimates, and they account for job gains.
Following are key highlights from the report.
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How Can I Get Health Insurance Without A Job
Group insurance through an employer may be the most common way to obtain health coverage, but it is not the only one. If you find yourself unemployed, a Special Enrollment Period allows you to enroll in an individual or family health plan within 60 days. Other events that might make you eligible for an SEP include:
- Changing your marital status
- Having a baby
- Becoming a US citizen
- Moving to an area where your current plan is notoffered
- Losing health insurance from your employer
Once you enter your SEP, you can shop for unemployed health insurance on the exchange offered by your state or through a licensed broker like eHealth. If you choose a plan that is compliant with the Affordable Care Act , you may qualify for subsidies if you cant afford your health plan on your own. With increases in subsidies due to the ARPA, more people are qualifying for subsidies than ever before.
Go On Your Partner Or Parents’ Health Insurance Plan If You Qualify
If your partner is still working and insured through their employer, you may be eligible to join their plan if you qualify for a special enrollment period .
Some states require couples to be married to be on the same plan, but an increasing number of private employers are allowing domestic partners to qualify for coverage, according to legal information site Nolo.
If you’re under age 26 and your parents’ health plan covers dependents, you may be able to join their coverage under a special enrollment period as well.
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What Happens To My Hsa When I Leave My Job
Unlike a Flexible Spending Account, you can keep your Health Savings Account when you leave your job. Even if you opened your HSA in association with a high deductible health plan you got from your job, the HSA itself is yours to keep. All of the money in itincluding contributions your employer made, contributions you made, and interest or investment growthbelongs to you.
How Do I Get Health Insurance When I Change Jobs
When you’re between jobs, you may be able to apply for and receive health insurance coverage via Healthcare.gov, COBRA, Medicaid, CHIP (for your children or a short-term health insurance plan.
“If you need a plan that starts immediately and lasts for a short period in-between jobs, a short-term plan may be the best answer,” says John Bartleson with Health Benefits Connect.
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More On Cobra Insurance
If you resign or are terminated, you can choose to temporarily continue your current employer-sponsored health insurance through a federal law which is COBRA.
Here is the biggest issue.: Youre going to be paying the entire bill, oh yea, plus up to 2% for administrative fees. If youre use to your employer paying part of the premium, prepare yourself for higher health insurance costs.
Consolidated Omnibus Reconciliation Act was passed by Congress in 1985 to provide families with an insurance safety net.
Before COBRA was passed if you lost your health insurance from your employer there was a good change you would have trouble qualifying for health insurance coverage on your own. Youd either get turned down or encounter incredibly high premiums if you had health conditions.
There are more options under the Affordable Care Act . But if you want to keep your employer-sponsored coverage after you lose your job, there is only one way, thats COBRA. COBRA can continue coverage for up to 18 months. In addition, your spouse & dependents in some cases can keep coverage for up to 3 years.
What Is The Best Health Insurance For The Unemployed
Depending on your situation, your health care coverage choices when unemployed include COBRA, a Healthcare.gov plan, Medicaid, CHIP , a short-term plan or a catastrophic coverage plan.
“Always discuss your options with a licensed insurance specialist. There are many options, and it is important to understand exclusions and limitations of a policy so that you are not responsible for unexpected health care costs,” suggests Neat.
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How Long Do You Have Health Insurance After Leaving A Job
When you leave your job you have a few choices. You can choose to stay with your employers health insurance plan for up to 18 months, get insurance coverage through a government health care exchange, or another insurer.
When I quit my job I was under the impression my health insurance would be good. I paid my monthly premium from my check so it seemed as if my coverage would continue. But, unfortunately my ex employer informed me that my insurance was cancelled the day I quit. Please let me know if this is accurate?
Please keep in mind, the last day of your health insurance through your employer depends on the end date of the last day you were employed. Regardless of whether or not you quit or were fired. On occasion guidelines allow the coverage to continue all the way to the end of the calendar month. Others will allow coverage until the last day you were employed. Youre going to want to contact your ex employers benefits administration department and find out when the last date of your coverage was.
You should be eligible to qualify for COBRA health insurance at this point. With COBRA, if you quit your job voluntarily, you are entitled to continue with your employers group plan at your own expense for up to 18 months.
The benefits administrator or other personal of your ex employer should contact you and provide you with a packet with instructions on how to enroll for COBRA health insurance coverage.
Recently Lost Your Job How To Get Health Insurance
Throughout much of 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has devastated the U.S. economy, causing massive layoffs and forcing millions out of work. The numbers so far are staggering. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics found that the unemployment rate sharply increased in April by 10.3 percentage points to 14.7 percent as the number of unemployed persons rose to 23.1 million. As a result, millions in the U.S. have faced the prospect of becoming uninsured if they lose their employer-sponsored insurance plan and fail to find other coverage.
Continuation of your current health coverage may be available under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act . This is typically an expensive option since you would generally be required to pay the entire premium for coverage up to 102% of the cost of the plan. Normally there is a 60-day period in which you may elect COBRA coverage, after receiving proper notice, followed by 45 additional days to make the first payment. In response to the pandemic, the Department of Labor and the Internal Revenue Service extended certain COBRA deadlines until 60 days after the announced end of the national emergency period .
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