During these dark economic times, it’s difficult for one to lose his or her job. Monetary loss is stressful and frightening especially for those who lived from paycheck to paycheck combined with providing for loved ones. Unemployment is no stigma but it is a low point for many. What happens if a job is not found? What happens to health insurance for unemployed Americans?
To add insult to injury, the government’s stimulus bill that signed in to law in 2009 helping in Cobra premiums for the unemployed is expired. Therefore those who have become unemployed after June 1, 2010, are without eligibility for any Cobra subsidy. It’s done.
Cobra is not inexpensive, especially for those without work so the government stimulus bill, if extended by Congress, would help in subsidizing 65% of costs. Otherwise, one is stuck paying a high monthly premium in order to continue an employer’s health plan. The average cost for a family paying for health insurance is $1100 per month.
It might be feasible to pay for up to a few months of Cobra premiums but after that, with no employment, staying insured in the program without a subsidy will be difficult.
Some folks opt for buying their own individual insurance. It takes some research and shopping around but it is possible to find some deals, especially if one is healthy and a non-smoker. Those with pre-existing conditions might have a more difficult time in finding health insurance for the unemployed. However, there are laws preventing insurance companies from repealing coverage to those with conditions or those who become ill all of a sudden.
Children have some protection (thankfully) through the CHIP program (Children’s Health Insurance Program). It’s best to call the program as soon as unemployment looms because every state is distinct in regards to coverage. The website www.insurekidsnow.gov is an extremely informative site. If children are covered then the unemployed adult will only need to find an individual plan for him or herself.
Also of note, those who find themselves unemployed as a business owner do qualify for group coverage if they had two or more employees. If one’s spouse was a partner in the company or an employee, this bodes well for the unemployed owner. Both family members will be covered and less money will be spent on buying individual coverage twice.
Again, shopping around is advisable and every state offers different health insurance for unemployed people. Entering a zip code in the above box will help in finding the best quotes locally.
No one wants to feel helpless in these frail economic times. Waiting for the government to pick up the pieces might take longer than one has expected. Time to act is now. Health insurance is essential for all adults and their children, regardless of his or her job prospects or employment situation.
Health insurance for unemployed Americans need not be as intimidating as it feels. With a little research, grit and an open mind, one may do just fine in this job market.