Health Insurance Options for the Newly Unemployed

Losing a Job Just Got Harder

There are few moments in a person’s life outside of the birth of a child, the death of a loved one, or going through a divorce that is as stressful as losing your job. Most American’s are only a paycheck away from complete and total economic disaster. With so many budgets stretched thin, and people having to live from paycheck to paycheck, even a brief interruption of employment can be devastating. In the US, most people have an added element of stress that comes with the territory of employment, and that is health insurance.
Medical care is at an all-time high, and an unexpected hospital stay or medical procedure can leave you exposed to unanticipated financial stress. Employers often contribute significantly to health insurance plans, so if that job suddenly goes away, the last thing you want to deal with is an unexpected medical emergency. Without insurance, doctors won’t even consider treatment without payment upfront! When you are living paycheck to paycheck, this is not an option.

Weigh Your Options

It is important to understand all of your options and the financial responsibility that comes with each. Losing your job, and as a result, your health insurance is going to be stressful, but it isn’t the end of the world. Each year, many Americans survive this and many other financial hardships and are able to recover. One of the ways to do this is to remain calm and look into your options.

Health insurance is available, even if you are unemployed. Many Americans work for companies which do not provide health insurance, such as contract labor, part-time employees, adjunct professors, and temporary workers. There are resources available, such as private healthcare, but in a situation where you are living paycheck to paycheck, this may not be a viable option.

Some other options to check into are State-provided health insurance. Even though changes have been made to the Affordable Care Act in recent years, your state likely has some levels of participation which may provide health coverage within your budget. Also, as a recent employee, you are eligible for COBRA, which is a continuation of your coverage that was provided by your employer, granted without the employer contribution (if any). For many, COBRA might price them out of the viability of coverage, but if you have an upcoming surgery or a chronic condition that would threaten your health to have a lapse in coverage and treatment, COBRA should be considered. Your former employer must provide information regarding this program after termination, or refer to your County or State employment website for more information.

Check if you qualify for Medicaid or CHP insurance through public assistance through your county. If you are married, termination from employment may count as a life-changing event and allow you to be added to their insurance coverage, bypassing open-enrollment dates. The same may also be possible if you are within age limits to be added to your family’s health insurance if you are considered a dependent.

There are a lot of non-profit organizations as well as community care and hospital charity care programs which can help you pay for hospital bills and procedure coverage as well. Be sure to check locally with your hospital, community foundations, or even places of worship to see if there are funds available.

Do Something About It

Losing your job as well as your health insurance can be extremely stressful, but with the right game plan, budgeting, and exploring your options, you can get through it, just as many others have before you. If you would like to learn more about how to fight debt, financial hardship, or get on the track to getting your financial life back on track, check out the resources Cash Time has available to you!