How to get health insurance for the unemployed

If you have lost your job but want to keep your health plan, the government pays up to 65% of the cost.

Thousands of people are out of work every month. Before long, they also lose access to the healthcare system because they cannot afford the insurance. For these cases, the government has subsidies that help pay the monthly premium for the medical plan. Laws COBRA from 1985 and HIPAA 1996 were designed to mitigate the effects of an economic crisis like the one we are experiencing. These regulations benefit those who recently lost their jobs and need to have health insurance for the unemployed of those who were laid off and want to continue enjoying the medical benefits offered by the employer.

“A long time ago that option did not seem very attractive to many people because the premium costs were very high, but after the implementation of the president’s economic recovery, the government is helping with 65% of that premium. The person only has to take the remaining 35% out of their pocket to enroll in that coverage plan, ”explains Diego Giraldo, social services advisor. For Giraldo, these plans seek to reduce the negative impact and anguish generated by being unemployed and without money.

COBRA: the option for medical coverage in case of job loss

If you no longer have the health coverage your employer gave you, you may have the option to keep it through the “continuity of coverage” program, better known as the COBRA program. This program allows you and your family to keep, for a limited time, the health insurance you received while you were employed. When your employer stops paying COBRA, you will likely have to pay the full cost of the monthly premium (the cost of health insurance).

What you need to know about COBRA coverage

In general, only employers with 20 or more employees are required to offer COBRA. Many states have laws similar to COBRA that regulate employers with fewer than 20 employees. In most cases, you should receive notice from your employer’s health plan administrator informing you that your coverage will end and that you are entitled to COBRA. In most cases, you have 60 days from your last day of coverage to enroll in COBRA. generally, the program health insurance for the unemployed lasts 18 months, but could last up to 36 months. To learn more about COBRA, call your employer and find out about your specific options.

If you received a health plan through a private employer (not a government employer), you can call work Department at 1-866-444-3272. If you were receiving health plan coverage through a state or local government employer, you can contact the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid at 1-877-267-2323. If you received coverage from your health plan as an employee of the federal government, you can visit the Office of Personnel Management website. You can get personalized attention at a local office for more information on health insurance for the unemployed or enroll in a plan through the Health Insurance Marketplace.

Can COBRA be changed to a market plan?

During an open registration: If your COBRA is ending, you can change it. If you cancel COBRA before you finish, you can change, and if COBRA costs change, you can change to a market plan.

Outside of Open Enrollment: If your COBRA has ended, it can change. You qualify for a Special Enrollment Period. If you are canceling COBRA before it ends, you cannot change it until the next Open Enrollment Period, end your COBRA, or otherwise qualify for a Special Enrollment Period. If COBRA costs change because the last employer stopped contributing and you have to pay in full, you can change. You qualify for a Special Enrollment Period.

Year and a half or until you find a job

In most cases, help is available for 18 months or until the person finds a job and signs up for a new health plan. «If at the time of losing your job you receive extra money and you have saved money and you are going to start your own business, you can use the Cobra Plan to be covered, it is good money to fall during the first 18 months that your business starts operating »Giraldo explains.

Medicaid and Medicare

For families who lose all their income, there are other, more generous options, such as Medicaid and Medicare, which guarantee medical and hospital care and drug supplies for children, people over 65, and people with disabilities. It is recommended to look up the information for each state, “see what’s available” online or on a 1-800 line to find more information on which is the best option for each. Because in many states there are non-profit organizations that offer low-cost plans for people who cannot access public health services. And always keep in mind that, in light of federal law, no health insurance company can turn a person away because they suffer from a pre-existing disease such as cancer or AIDS.

Resources to pay for medical expenses

Resources offered by the Government

There are many resources available to people who need help paying for health care services and prescription drugs: Medicaid, Health Insurance Marketplace, Children’s Insurance Program, local assistance programs, Social Security disability benefits,, etc.

Resources offered by organizations

Financial help for medical treatment, help paying for drugs, clinical trials.

Resources offered by health centers

If you do not qualify for government assistance, the hospital may offer you a payment or assistance plan.

Resources offered by charitable organizations

If you do not qualify for government assistance, there are charitable organizations that can help you.

Resources offered by other institutions

There are universities and research centers that offer free or low-cost dental services.

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