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How Does Health Insurance Work during Unemployment

Author : neha

Updated : June 12th, 2019

Are you out of work and uninsured workers in United States? Do you need health coverage and want to know where to get free care for jobless employee like you?

In today’s economic crisis, one of the most important issues for laid-offs, besides loss of paycheck, is health insurance. It’s important to have, but it also comes at a high price. Jobless claims are increasing and you cannot meet the expense to cover your medical problems. If you are employed, you possibly get insurance coverage but if you are unemployed, you will have to find other ways to get adequately insured.

How to Get Health Insurance When You are Unemployed

So if you are concerned to get free medicine or drugs for your health treatment, here’s how to get it.

  1. Plenty of information is available on the Internet so learn options for getting health insurance. You can also find information at your local unemployment office.
  2. Explore COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act), a federal law that provides eligible individuals and their dependents with the ability to continue health insurance benefits during periods of unemployment.
  3. Check out your state’s coverage policy. You may meet the criteria for continuation of coverage depending on your earlier job.
  4. Search for individual health coverage options on the Internet. Based on the state you reside in, you may meet the requirements for cheap individual health plan when unemployed.
  5. Speak to a health insurance agent and seek advice on the most appropriate coverage while unemployed.
  6. Check out HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) of 1996 that permits insurance for some individuals who lose group coverage. It has a separate method of charging the premium and provides coverage for at least two health insurance policies that do not oblige a pre-existing medical condition exclusion period. Ask if you are eligible, as it would also depend on your COBRA coverage wherein you must have used up to eighteen months of COBRA in order to qualify.
  7. See if you qualify for Medicaid. If you are disabled, above 65 years of age or if you are a woman and pregnant, you may qualify for Medicaid. It offers cheap insurance for people with low income families. You can contact Medicaid directly by visiting their official website.
  8. Get in touch with some of the pharmaceutical companies that manufacture drugs as they have certain programs for individuals who are uninsured. The financial assistance is limited to the cost of medication and do not include hospital visit or doctor expenses.

These are just few tips, there are so many other resources that you can collect from to get the money you need. This involves non-profit organizations that are ready to help you cover medical expenses.

Other Health Insurance Plans Offered By Many States

Many states now provide high-risk pools which make health care available for people who are not eligible for getting health insurance coverage.

English: U.S. Health Insurance Status (Under 65)
English: U.S. Health Insurance Status (Under 65) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

These programs help certain uninsurable individuals to obtain health insurance coverage. The eligible people may include those who have been rejected by other health insurers or have had health insurance benefits reduced or certain medical conditions excluded. It may also include individuals who have a qualifying health condition or have been unwillingly terminated from another health insurance plan. Based on the availability of funds, enrollment is limited in some states. Because of the limited enrollments, it has become necessary to establish waiting lists. Other states provide options of converting a group health plan to a non group policy. The conversion policy in most of the cases is expensive but the primary advantage of choosing a conversion policy is that a person cannot be rejected for coverage and it may not include a new pre-existing condition exclusion period. These law governing conversion policies can also vary from state to state so it’s better to contact state insurance commissioner’s office for any additional information.

Maintaining Health Insurance during Termination

You have limited time to decide on health care options. It’s important to review and explore all the options carefully for maintaining coverage as soon as possible after your employment terminates.

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    1. Angie,

      The E.U.C(Emergency Unemployment Compensation) remains expired. There is no extension available. Please inquire further with the labor authorities in your state by calling them.

  1. I have exhausted my unemployment benefits in the state of Texas. When I called and asked how to go about with the extension, I was told that the extension were done away with in 2013. I’ve been looking for work and have yet to find something. Is it possible to receive an extension or are my exhausted benefits the end of the line? And if there is a way for an extension, how do I go about the claiming process?

    1. Jarese,

      I can understand your situation. The E.U.C(Emergency Unemployment Compensation) remains expired. There is no extension available.

  2. I’ve been receiving UI bennifits for 3 months. I was surprised yesterday when I opened an email asking for one of the companies information, why I left, etc. I called the UI office this morning and was told that this fortune 100 company is able to reply, furthermore fight my claim and possibly making me pay back the claim. I’m just very confused how they, the old company can chime in 12 weeks after my claim was already processed. Even more confused, as the original letter has that companies name on it.
    Thanks!

    1. Evan,

      If you suspect something amiss, please raise an issue with the Unemployment Office. This might be a classic case of fraud.

  3. Hi Jeff,
    I am in California and last month I exhausted all of my unemployment, I turned 61 and never thought that age would be such an issue but can’t seem to land a job. Question – if I don’t get a job by the end of my “current benefits years end” can I open a new claim and be able to receive additional unemployment after my current benefits year runs out?
    Thanks, Don

  4. Can you receive unemployment while receiving severance payments or do you need to wait until all severance is paid to start receiving unemployment?

      1. I’m confused. When I called the Texas Workforce Commission they said Emergency Unemployment Compensation has not been offered in Texas since 2013.
        I asked about Extended Benefits. They took my information and I received a determination that I was eligible. The next day I got another determination that I was not eligible due to:
        ” Issue: Insufficient Wages Between Benefit Years
        Decision: Your claim is not valid. We have cancelled your claim and cannot pay you benefits.
        Reason for Decision: Our investigation found you have not earned wages equal to six (6) times
        your weekly benefit amount since the beginning date of your last benefit year.
        Date of Cancelled Claim: 09-22-19
        Beginning Date of Your Last Benefit Year: 09-16-18
        Law Reference: Subsection 207.021(a)(7) of the Texas Unemployment Compensation Act.”

        Actually I had earned ~30k from a severance package since the beginning date of my last benefit year.
        Six times my weekly benefit amount is only~ $3k??

        Any idea?
        Any help would be appreciated.

    1. If you are receiving continuing severance payments, you are not eligible to file for UI benefits until those payments end. You should file your claim after 7 days of the receipt of your last severance payment.

  5. I have been trying very hard to get a number I can call to have one (1), I say again one (1), question answered. I am a contractor and have been working in many states in the course of my career. My last job was here in Mobile AL at ST Engineering Aerospace and I saw something about needing to be employed for 18 months in Alabama to qualify for benefits. I had a claim in Tennessee and they have a way of filing when you have worked in different states. I forget what it is called but my question to you is does Alabama have a way that I can file after working in different states?

    1. Kevin,

      Please note this is a private forum. If you’ve filed from TN, suggest you reach out to the Unemployment Office for clarification.

  6. DO YOU HAVE TO ACCEPT A POSITION THAT HAD OFFERED YOU SIGNIFICANTLY LOWER WAGES THAN YOUR PREVIOUS EMPLOYMENT; ESPECIALLY IF THE WAGES DO NOT COVER YOUR MONTHLY FINANCIAL
    OBLIGATIONS?

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