Can I Get Health Insurance Without A Job
BY Anna Porretta Updated on December 16, 2021
If you lose your employment for any reason, one of the biggest concerns is how to ensure your potential medical needs are covered. The good news is you can get health insurance without a job. While group health insurance is not an option for those without an employer, you can still qualify for individual or family plans. Individual health insurance offers all the same coverage options as you may find from employer-sponsored plans.
If you are unemployed, your employer doesnt offer health insurance, or you do not qualify for benefits offered at your job, you still have a few health insurance coverage options:
- Affordable Care Act insurance
- Individual or family health insurance
Most Americans do get their health insurance through their employer. According to a 2017 survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation about half of Americans get employee sponsored health insurance.Even if youre in the minority, you can still find unemployed health insurance thats right for you, your situation, and your budget. At eHealth, our licensed brokers have the expertise and experience to help you find the best individual or family health insurance plan for your needs and budget.
Dont Be Afraid To Change Insurance Plans
The health insurance plan that is best for you at one point in your life might not be your best option later. Dont be afraid to compare plans and reassess later especially if your circumstances change. For example, if you lost your job that offered health insurance coverage but still had income coming in from a part-time job, you might not qualify for Medicaid.
But then if you lose your income from the part-time job, your reduced income level may qualify you the next time open enrollment comes around. Or if you make just over the income limit for Medicaid, it might be worth seeing whether your children are eligible for Medicaid.
Splitting up coverage can help you save money in the long run and may help you receive better benefits for the entire family. Theres no harm in checking in periodically to see what new insurance plans are available to you.
What Options Are Available
If you do not have a job, or your job does not cover your insurance, there are a few health insurance options you can look into below. The fundamental issue with unemployed health insurance plans is whether or not it covers your situation. Note that there is no one perfect plan that can cover all your needs and that every plan has its own advantages and drawbacks.
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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.
How To Get On Your Parents Or Spouses Health Insurance Plan
If you have a spouse with job-based health insurance, you may be able to join their policy. Adding you to their plan will increase their health insurance costs, but this still may be a cost-effective way to get robust health insurance.
People under age 26 can also stay on or join their parents’ private health insurance plan, thanks to the ACA. It will add costs for your parents but it may be well worth it to get good coverage for you.
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Timing And How To Get Coverage
If you lost your health insurance when you lost your job, you qualify for a special enrollment period on the ACA marketplace. This lets you sign up for an ACA insurance plan midyear, starting 60 days before you lose coverage and ending 60 days after you lose coverage. If you miss this window, you need to wait for the fall open enrollment to sign up for insurance on the ACA marketplace. In most states, open enrollment starts Nov. 1 and continues through Jan. 15.
Cobra Health Insurance: When Does It Make Sense
The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act gives workers who lose or leave their jobs the option to stay on their employers health insurance for up to 18 months, or even longer in some circumstances. You must apply within 60 days of losing coverage or being notified youre eligible, whichever is later.
COBRA lets you keep your coverage but it can be costly. You pay the full price of coverage, instead of sharing costs with your employer.
If you lost your job and insurance due to the COVID-19 pandemic, you might be eligible for help paying for COBRA between April 1 and September 30, 2021, due to the American Rescue Plan.
In 2021, the average employer-sponsored individual health insurance policy cost just under $8,000. If employees pay about 25% of that, theyve been paying roughly $2,000 per year or $167 per month. Under COBRA, the employer no longer pays their 75%, so the individuals bill becomes approximately $667 per month. Employers can actually charge former employees up to 102% of the total cost.
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How To Sign Up During Open Enrollment
It can be confusing to know how to get health insurance. During the open enrollment period, you can enroll in a health insurance plan through the Marketplace. The Marketplace is a service that can help you find, compare and enroll in affordable health insurance plans.
To enroll in a health plan using the Marketplace, you must:
- Live in the United States
- Be either a U.S. citizen or national
You are not eligible for a health insurance plan through the Marketplace if you:
- Are incarcerated
- Have Medicare coverage
Most people use the Marketplace to find affordable health insurance. Its operated by the federal government for most states, although other states run their own Marketplace.
You can enroll in a plan during open enrollment in a few different ways:
- Online on either the federal or your state Marketplace
- Mailing in a paper application
No matter which way you choose to enroll, you must submit information about your household and income. This information will be used to determine the types of plans you are eligible for. You may be eligible for premium tax credits and other savings to make your plan more affordable. You may also qualify for coverage through Medicaid and/or the Childrens Health Insurance Program in your state.
If you own a small business, you may be eligible for the Small Business Health Options Program . This program can allow you to offer affordable health insurance coverage to your employees.
Does Your Company Offer Tax
Many employers are moving toward high deductible health insurance plans that feature Health Savings Accounts , Health Reimbursement Accounts , and/or Flexible Spending Accounts . These accounts are designed to provide a financial safety net if you incur unexpected medical expenses.
HSAs and FSAs can provide a mechanism to reduce your current income taxes and enable you to set aside funds to cover future expenses, says Buckey. Along those lines, Gulko recommends finding out if the employer offers contributions to these accounts, which can be a nice added perk.
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Spouses Or Parents Health Insurance Plan
We saved this option for last for a reason. Sometimes, being on your spouses plan isnt the most cost-effective option in typical circumstancesthats why you arent already on the same plan! And most people dont actually want to put their health care burden on a parent. But lets face itit could be the right move for a season.
If youre unemployed and married and your spouse has health insurance through their employer, you can be included on their policy in most cases. Or if youre under 26 years old, youre legally eligible to be included on your parents insurance policy.4
What Is Cobra And Can I Get It If I Lose My Job
COBRA continuation coverage may be available to you to continue employer-sponsored coverage for a limited time.
COBRA continuation coverage is generally only available through employers with 20 or more employees.
COBRA continuation coverage usually lasts for 18 months if you lose job-based coverage.
You pay the full plan membership bill every month, plus a small administrative fee, so it can be a costly option.
To learn about any COBRA continuation coverage options available from Kaiser Permanente you may have, contact your employer.
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Worrying About How To Get Health Insurance Without A Job Read Till The End To Know About All The Valuable Insurance And Health Coverage Plans That You Can Utilize In The Absence Of Employment And Health Insurance
If you are in the U.S and you do not have health insurance, you might as well consider yourself sitting on a time bomb. Health insurance is essential everywhere in the world, but in the U.S, it is indispensable. If you are ill and paying the bills from your pocket, there is a high chance of extreme financial difficulty or even total bankruptcy. On top of this, the medical authorities are not even required to treat you by law if you are not covered by insurance. So, having yourself covered by health insurance is an absolute necessity in the U.S. However, there are still many who do not have it.
While everyone should ideally have health insurance, many things might make it hard for people to have it. Unemployment is one of the biggest reasons behind the absence of health insurance. Paying for health insurance privately can be utterly unrealistic because the fees are sky high and rank as the most significant reason behind personal bankruptcy. Having health insurance is a must, but how to have one when you do not even have a job.
Not having a job is a problem, and being uninsured for health services adds to the burden. You might be left highly vulnerable, and things can even take ugly turns if something drastic happens. However, there is nothing to perry, because there are quite a few options open for the unemployed.
Does Your Company Offer Rewards Programs
Ask for any documentation regarding wellness programs and related discounts and incentives, says Gulko. These rewards programs encourage employees to shop for a lower cost for needed treatment, while also ensuring high-quality care.
Employees typically receive a percentage of the savings achieved by using a lower-cost provider, or a flat dollar reward, says Buckeya win-win for the company and you. There may also be wellness programs that offer incentives for healthy habits, like going to the gym or getting a flu shot.
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Are There Services To Help Me Understand My Benefits/bills I Receive To Help Reduce Costs
Theres no doubt that health care coverage is confusing, which is why many employers are now taking a proactive approach at helping employees manage their benefits. An employer who provides employees with help in choosing a plan, with answers to their questions during the year as they use the plan, and support in resolving billing questions is an employer who is committed to you manage your health costs and minimizing your financial stress, says Buckey.
It Is Not About Your Employment Status
If youve just finished your studies and are struggling to get a job, if you have been laid off from work, in a just or rather in an unjust way, or if you are struggling financially, the first thing that you should know is that health insurance doesnt take into consideration your employment status.
On the contrary, its main focal points are your income, the amount of money you earn, and your household size.
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Is There Lost Job Health Insurance
While theres no specific lost job health insurance, two main coverage options are available for you if youre unemployed:
- A COBRA plan allows you to extend the health care plan from your previous employer for up to 18 months after you leave a job. The disadvantage to this is COBRA is expensive and you have to pay for it yourself.
- You can buy a plan yourself through the Health Insurance Marketplace. For up to 60 days after you lose coverage through your job, you qualify for the Special Enrollment Period. During this time you can buy and enroll in a new plan. When applying, youll also find out if you qualify for federal financial assistance, such as tax premium credits or cost sharing reductions.
Option : Check If You Qualify For Special Enrollment
Certain life events qualify you for a special enrollment period. A special enrollment period is a period of time during which you can buy coverage, even if its outside the normal Open Enrollment Period. The events which make you eligible for a special enrollment period are known as qualifying life events.
|Qualifying Life Event|
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You Work For A Small Business That Doesnt Offer Health Benefits
Although the Affordable Care Act requires large employers to offer health coverage, there is no requirement that businesses with fewer than 50 employees offer coverage to their workers. Many do anyway, but nearly half of all businesses with 3 to 49 workers do not offer health benefits.
So what can you do if you work for a small business that doesnt offer health benefits? Youll essentially need to create your own benefits package. The good news is that youll be able to customize it to fit your familys needs and budget.
We have an overview of how to choose the best health plan for your circumstances. And heres a summary of some important points to keep in mind as you shop for your own health coverage:
Health Insurance Plan Types
When comparing health plans, you will often find plans categorized by either metal tier, price, or type of health plan such as HMO, PPO, POS, EPO, etc. The type of health plan indicates the flexibility you have in choosing your healthcare providers and requiring a referral to seek a specialist. Metal tiers can have plans of any network provider type, for example, a silver PPO plan. Below is the defined list of health insurance plan types: HMO, PPO, POS, and EPO plans.
Metal Tier Plans
Bronze plans tend to offer the most coverage for the least amount for individuals requiring moderate and preventative care. Gold and Platinum plans work best for people often needing care and are willing to pay more each month for greater coverage. Below is a breakdown of the shared costs associated with metal tier plans.
If you do not find the estimated monthly premiums and deductibles for the suggested plans match your budget or health needs. In that case, Suppose you may find that you are eligible for federal assistance. Upon applying, you will see whether you qualify for Advanced Premium Tax Credits to help reduce the cost of your premium or whether stated Medicaid programs are eligible to you.
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Tips If Youre Unemployed And Need Health Care
It might be impossible to predict when your job could be coming to an end, but there are things you can do to keep yourself ahead of the game and have a backup plan if you suddenly find yourself out of work and out of health insurance.
1. Start to find new coverage as soon as possible.
Even before you leave a job, theres nothing wrong with talking to those helpful folks in Human Resources about your health insurance benefits and what will happen to them if you leave. Youll be able to find out how much COBRA coverage will cost you and use this info to decide whether to stick with COBRA or go it alone in the health insurance marketplace.
2. Have all your important details ready.
When youre all set to talk COBRA or marketplace or even Medicaid, heres the information you should have ready: your income, total household income, Social Security number, pay stubs, tax records, information about your current health insurance plan, and the number of dependents in your household.
3. Get advice from an independent insurance agent.
4. Keep your emergency fund full.
An emergency fund is a must no matter what your situation is in life! But its super important if youre out of work and out of health insurance coverage. Your emergency fund takes away the worry of those unpredictable trips to the doctor and routine checkups that come with out-of-pocket costs. Having a fully funded emergency fund will give you the ability to pay for insurance during a gap period without all the stress.