Health Insurance Options When You're Unemployed
The past few years have been incredibly tough for millions of Americans. Whether you're an entrepreneur with your own business or a long time employee of a large firm you may have noticed that your money doesn't go quite as far as it used to. Many people were asked to take a pay cut, or to give up some of their benefits in order to stay employed. But a very many others didn't have that choice. Companies across all sectors of the business world put a freeze on hiring and contracted departments, pushing the unemployment rate to near double-figures for quite a long time. These issues have started to abate, but for millions of Americans the problem is still very real and multi-faceted. One of the biggest issues is medical, as insurance is incredibly expensive. Here are a couple of health insurance options when you're unemployed.
The easiest option is COBRA, as long as you are recently unemployed. Basically, this is a government program that allows you to maintain the medical insurance you received through your company for up to six months after you've left the position. There are a couple of positives you'll enjoy with this option. First off, your coverage will continue without any sort of gap, which will make it easier to get another insurance policy further down the road. You'll also enjoy the exact same insurance you used to have, including your current general practitioner and any specialist or pharmaceutical plans that were also part of the package. However, you will have to pay for the entire policy now. If it is a high-end insurance option that could cost you hundreds, or even thousands of dollars. If your whole family is covered under this same policy it could be prohibitively expensive. You also only have that six month limit during which COBRA is available. So while it's an easy option to pursue, it may not be the best solution.
Another option many people look to is to jump on to someone else's policy. This will only work if there is a familial connection. Basically, you can be added to the policy of a husband or wife, or become part of your parents' policy as long as you are twenty-five years old or younger. This will be far less expensive than COBRA, as adding an extra person to a policy doesn't usually double the policy cost. Of course you must have one of these family connections available to you, or you cannot take advantage. A girlfriend, boyfriend or friend won't be able to offer up their policy to you. And you will have to be able to pay for the extra cost.
Finally, you can apply for your own, individual policy. This might end up being the easiest option, but there are some caveats. If you are young, a non-smoker and in reasonable health you should be able to find some options that are affordable, even if you are on unemployment. After all, you won't really need medical insurance unless there is some unforeseen emergency, which is exactly the type of situation an insurance agency loves the most. If you are older or have medical issues you might find this insurance prohibitively expensive. In that case, look into free or inexpensive clinics you can visit that do not require insurance at all.