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How To Get Health Insurance When Unemployed

Updated on March 9, 2012

© Adrienne Manson All rights reserved permission must be granted by the author before any part of this article can be reproduced. Links may be used to link back to the article.

Health insurance is an important coverage not just for you as an individual but also for your family. Health insurance ensures that you and your family have access to the medical care that you may have at an affordable cost. The coverage also ensures that in cases of emergency you have access to immediate medical attention be it consultation, surgery or any other treatment that you may require. The importance of health insurance cannot be stressed enough, yet it can also not be denied that the insurance premiums are quite high for most people especially the unemployed. However, being unemployed does not mean that you have you forego chances of proper health care. By following some few steps you can find affordable and easily accessible health insurance packages that ensure you and your family.

First to begin with it is important to register with unemployment agencies in your state. Often because individuals are temporarily out of work they do not register at the unemployment agencies. However, access to the health insurance packages designed for the unemployed will be difficult if you have not notified the state that you are not employed. The forms for unemployment are easy to access from any employment agency recognized by the state. Once you have registered for unemployment you can request for assistance finding and locating companies and packages designed for the unemployed.

It is important to note that recent changes in health insurance, the state governments are required to substitute premiums for chosen companies so that they are more affordable. Visit your nearest government health agency to find out how you can access this next to free health insurance packages for the period you are unemployed. Some of these companies offer other more costly packages and may therefore be difficult to identify. Research is important to ensure that the package you pick is not only cheap or free but that it also covers most of your medical needs. Just because the packages are provided through the state government doesn’t mean that they cover all your medical expenses hence the need for research and consultation.


In addition there are group insurance packages available in different states. Such group packages provide coverage for a group of individuals depending on their income status beginning from the unemployed. Because the packages are available to the employed, business owners and the unemployed, it is often important to ensure that the insurance company covering you during employment periods provides such packages. This makes the shift to unemployment packages much easier for you. Group packages operate on a sharing principle where premiums paid in times of employment are used to cover you during the unemployment time at a much lower rate. Although the packages may not be as extensive as you desire, they cover most of the basic consultation and emergency care ensuring that at no one time are you unable to access health care.

If you have children, then accessing health insurance for them when you are unemployed has just been made easier through the child health plan. The state governments are now required to purchase health insurance for children in low income earning families and families where parents are unemployed. However, the parents must be registered with the unemployment agency in order for their children to have access to the health insurance. Most of the registration for the children’s health insurance id done through government social workers and the public health companies. The information for these packages can be found through public school social workers who can also help you speed up the process.

State governments are responsible for ensuring that all, citizens are provided with affordable cover. It is therefore important to take some time to visit the nearest government public health agency for information that may assist you locate packages ideal for the period of unemployment. For people with special needs in your family such as children, the aged, pregnant and recently delivered mothers the state is required to provide free medical care including follow up visits. The important thing is to ensure that you visit the nearest public health office and inform them of your employment status so that they can find a way to assist you.

Through the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act individuals who have recently lost employment can access health insurance from their previous provider at a much lower cost as subsidized by the state government. You should note however that these forms of insurance require payment of premiums. The premiums are not done away with, only the amount is reduced to make them more affordable. COBRA is especially useful to people who have recently most employment as a group. The larger the group the lower the premium. The group need not be from the same employer but the people must be in same income bracket for the insurance company to consider their application.


In addition, COBRA provides extension of insurance services (like a loan) to individuals who wish to maintain their current packages for some while. The period of extension is dependent on the income groups and qualifications of individual applicants. As substituted by the government, the COBRA health insurance packages continue to cover all the medical expenditures that were previously covered. Once the individual gains employment they repay the extended health insurance premiums at not interest while at the same time resuming their premium payments. COBRA has become an important service to the low income earners and recently unemployed people. During the period of unemployment, people find that they can still access full health coverage at no cost until they can be employed again.

Being unemployed means that individuals may have to cut down expenditures, however, your health and that of your family is not a negotiable factor. The government agrees that health matters cannot be compromised and this is why they have developed packages that will help you out when you are down on your luck. Economic instability does not mean they you now compromise on your health and that of your family, there are many health insurance packages ready to offer a helping hand.

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  • BlissfulWriter profile image

    BlissfulWriter 5 years ago

    Another problem is for those who are self-employed. They can not file unemployment and buying insurance on their own is very expensive.

  • Dolores Monet profile image

    Dolores Monet 6 years ago from East Coast, United States

    The cost of sickness or injury can destroy savings. Recently, my daughter broke her leg. Thank heaven she was insured. A four day hospital visit, ER services, and surgery cost $22,000! And I can't help but feel that our high insurance costs are paying for all the health care advertising we see on TV and in magazines. Somebody's got to pay for that. Years ago, when health insurance was more affordable, TV ads for prescription type medicines were not allowed by law.

  • adrienne2 profile image

    Adrienne F Manson 7 years ago from Atlanta

    Beauley I am glad you found the article to be useful for the unemployed.

  • profile image

    beauley 7 years ago

    We are retired and don't even use medicare since we try to eat well and stay away from processed foods we believe to be the prime source of most illness. Good article if one happens to be unemployed. Health insurance companies should give rebates for people who don't use the insurance like my auto insurance. This would give people here in the U.S. to spend more on other things and raise standard of living. Good article. Thanks for sharing.