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how to buy health insurance without a job

Can I get health insurance without a job or little money? How to get health insurance without a job?

asked Mar 01 '12 at 00:14

Brenda09's gravatar image


There are low cost health insurance options. Here are the top 10 ways Americans are getting the affordable individual and family health insurance coverage they need.

  1. COBRA: it is best to start with the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA). If you are not employed, you may be eligible to continue your previous employers' health insurance through COBRA. This also applies to children going off to college. you also may be able to continue on your parent's health insurance coverage through COBRA. This is a very good option for people who may have lost their job and are still undergoing medical treatments. If you were to switch to another insurance plan, your current medical treatments may not qualify under the new health insurance plan. But this will not be an affordable health insurance option. The premiums will be much higher and you may be able to better afford one of the below options first. It is best to gather all your available health insurance options and pick the best health insurance plan for you.

  2. Workers' Compensation: If you are being treated for any work related injury, your employer must offer you treatment under their Workers' Compensation program.

  3. Medicaid: Medicaid will pay health care expenses for low-income families and individuals. Each state sets the eligibility requirements so qualifying for the program is state specific. If you are working and still don't have enough to buy affordable health insurance, it doesn't cost you a penny to see if you or your children qualify for Medicaid so it is always best to check Medicaid first before moving on to the next options. More states are adding health care benefits for low-income families. So if you don't qualify now, keep informed of your state's Medicaid and health insurance laws because you may qualify in the future.

  4. Medicare: Medicare is provided by the government and administered by the Social Security Administration. If you are sixty-five years old or older you would qualify for Medicare. You may also qualify if you are getting Social Security disability benefits.

  5. State High Risk Health Insurance Pool: If you are turned down by individual health insurance companies because of pre-existing conditions, your state may have a high risk health insurance pool you can obtain health insurance from. It may not be an affordable health insurance choice, but it may be the only individual or family health insurance option available to you that will pay for your pre-existing conditions if you don't qualify for COBRA (see #1 of this list).

  6. Individual and Family Health Insurance: This is where you just go to an insurance company and buy individual or family health insurance the same way you would by home or auto insurance. These plans work similar to what an employer would offer their employees but would be more expensive since you don't get the cheaper group rate and you would not have an employer contributing to some of the costs. Another drawback of individual and family health insurance plans is that there is usually a pre-existing conditions clause (they may not cover pre-existing conditions or may not cover them until after a certain period of time) and a medical exam. If you do want to choose an individual or family health insurance policy, remember the higher the deductible you choose the lower your premium will be, but the more you will pay out of pocket when you go to the doctor or hospital. Getting a high deductible "emergency" policy is a better way to maintain a low cost health insurance plan and keeping a Health Savings Account for smaller health issues will probably save you money in the long run.

  7. Short Term Health Insurance Coverage: This is a great affordable health insurance option for someone in-between jobs or who knows they will be starting a job soon. Short-term health insurance coverage works the same as an individual health insurance policy (see #6 above), but you will only be covered for a specific amount of time which would keep your premiums down. This is also a good option for someone who needs time to examine their individual and family health insurance choices but still would like to be covered quickly to avoid any coverage gaps.

  8. Group Insurance from Organization Memberships: This is often an overlooked source of affordable or low cost health insurance. Some people are members of specific organizations that offer health insurance coverage. For example, people who are members of The Sacramento State Alumni Association can obtain a variety of insurance choices. Although these organizations often do not help pay the health insurance premiums like an employer would, the rates would be lower because of the group discount. So, figure out what organizations you are a member of and see if they offer group health insurance. You could also research organizations that provide group health insurance and join those groups, or even ask current organizations you are a member with to offer group health insurance. They may just not realize they could offer a plan to their members.

  9. Group Health Expenses Sharing Plan: This is not insurance but works similar. This is when a group of people pool their money together and pay each others' health expenses... they pretty much become their own insurance company. The contributions are pooled together and usually invested in order to accrue interest on the pooled funds. It works well when there are a lot of people who contribute and everyone is only using the money for major medical expenses. There are religious groups that use this model successfully. Medi-Share is a popular health expense sharing plan and has been around since 1993. If you are interested in this option make sure you choose a group that has been around for a long time and has a good track record.

  10. Health Insurance Discount Cards: Again, this is also not an insurance plan but can be a good source for getting low cost health services. There are many companies who offer affordable health insurance discount cards and they work like this: You pay a small monthly fee for a membership card and when you go to the doctor or hospital you will get a discounted rate on your services. These are not for everyone and one thing you have to remember is that if you had a catastrophic health crisis the discount on these cards is not a lot, so you would still have an enormous amount of bills left to pay. But, on the other hand, some people do choose to go this route and at least are able to get a discount on their doctor bills. These cards should not be used in place of insurance and if you choose this option you should still be working towards getting health insurance in the future.

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answered Mar 01 '12 at 00:31

Buvan's gravatar image


Yes, you can get health insurance when you are unemployed. Your chances of getting affordable health insurance depends on your age, medical issues and how long ago you were employed. When it comes to health insurance in the short term, there is no one-size-fits-all option.

  1. Consider Consolidated Omnibus Reconciliation Budget Act (COBRA) insurance if you have been recently laid off from your job. This act of Congress requires employers to keep former employees on the health insurance company for 18 months after the employee was laid off. The disadvantage is that employees must pay the entire insurance premiums rather than being a portion of the cost. In general, the dismissed employees to pay about $ 200 for individual rates and $ 1,000 for family rates.

  2. Learn if you qualify for COBRA insurance with your former employer. You are eligible for COBRA coverage if your employer has 20 or more employees enrolled in a group plan that worked more than six months of the year. You must also have experienced a "qualifying event" to qualify for COBRA, including leaving the company and become unemployed.

  3. Contact your former employer within 30 days of your departure from the company, and ask your employer what you need to do to enroll in COBRA. Your employer will send you an application form and others that allow you to choose the coverage you want and your payment plan. Submit these forms to your employer as soon as you can to begin receiving coverage.

  4. Check if your spouse's employer offers health insurance for spouses of employees recently laid off (if you choose not to enroll in COBRA). If they do, complete and submit an application for employee coverage. Expect to pay the full cost of plan coverage.

  5. Looking for short-term coverage if COBRA or spouse of dependent coverage does not work for you. Search for any insurance organizations (including those selling insurance online) that carry a "gap" or short term health insurance policy, you can use everything in between jobs (see Resources). Once you find such an organism, fill out an application to short-term insurance and choose a payment plan (again, you can often submit your online application).

  6. Get a policy of individual health insurance options if the above does not work for you. Go to your local office and complete an application's individual policy. Consider an individual policy as a last resort because it is often the most expensive. Yet it is still an improvement over waive insurance altogether.

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answered Mar 01 '12 at 00:21

Finey's gravatar image


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asked Mar 01 '12 at 00:14

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active Mar 01 '12 at 00:31

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