How do I get health insurance without a job?
If you’re unemployed, self-employed, or if your employer does not offer a health insurance plan, don’t worry. You can still get health insurance through the Affordable Care Act’s Health Insurance Marketplace. And also, eligible low-income people have several other coverage options too.
If you have no job or are underemployed, your first choice would be to see if you qualify for Medicaid. Medicaid is a government-funded health insurance program. It provides free or low-cost health coverage for eligible low-income adults, children, pregnant women, and people with disabilities. 32 states plus the District of Columbia have opted to expand their Medicaid programs. This means that the income limit for qualification for an individual is 138 percent of the Federal Poverty Level. You can learn more about your state’s requirements here.
There is also the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which covers children from low-income families who otherwise do not qualify for Medicaid and would be otherwise uninsured. The majority of states’ CHIP programs cover children whose families earn up to 200% of the Federal Poverty Level.
Don’t forget that while you can only apply for Obamacare during the annual Open Enrollment Period or if you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period, you can apply for Medicaid and CHIP at any time throughout the year.
If you’ve recently left or lost your job, you may be eligible for COBRA coverage, although it can be expensive. Learn more about the pros and cons of COBRA compared to ACA plans here.
If you are earning more than the income limit for Medicaid, you should shop the Marketplace to see what kind of rates you might be able to get for Obamacare health plans and what your cost savings could be. Those earning between 100 and 400% of the Federal Poverty Level are eligible for subsidies, tax credits, and other cost savings on Marketplace health insurance coverage. You’ll be able to see what kind of discounts you apply for when you enter some basic biographical information like annual income, household size, and address when you apply for Marketplace insurance. Applying will also let you know if you qualify for Medicaid, too. You can apply for both Obamacare and Medicaid here.
Keep in mind that in 2019, most of those who enrolled in health insurance plans through HealthSherpa has monthly premiums of only $35 a month or less. And 1 in 4 of all HealthSherpa enrollees had premiums of $2.50 per month or less.
To begin learning more about what health insurance options are available to you and your family, you can shop plans online or contact the HealthSherpa Consumer Advocate Team at (872) 228-2549. Enter your zip code below to see available plans and get started.