Health Insurance Unemployed

Losing your job can be frightening. Along with the stress that comes from loss of income, the loss of insurance for the unemployed is also cause for concern, particularly with rising health care costs.

If you are unemployed, health insurance is still available for you and your family from a number of sources. Some of the resources you can tap into include:

  • COBRA: If your previous employer offered health insurance, COBRA is a program that allows employees to continue to receive the same coverage they had while employed for up to 18 months. If you choose to elect COBRA, you must do so within 60 days of your termination. From there, you have 45 days to pay your first premium.
  • Drug companies: If you have expensive prescriptions, contact the manufacturers of your prescription drugs to find out what options they have for patients with no insurance or who have recently become unemployed and can no longer afford their medications. Most companies offer some form of financial assistance that ranges from discounts and vouchers to free prescriptions.
  • Federal or state health care programs: In the U.S., pregnant women, people with disabilities, and those over the age of 65 can qualify for Medicaid, which offers inexpensive insurance and health care for those who meet income requirements. Most states also offer special low-cost programs for health care if you meet income eligibility requirements or can prove you are unemployed. Your state’s Department of Health can provide you with more information on specific programs in your area.
  • Limited benefit plans: These plans for individuals provide very basic coverage, such as doctor visits and prescriptions, for a low cost. However, they truly are limited in nature — if you have a preexisting medical condition you are not eligible, and this type of plan will not cover costs associated with major medical expenses.
  • Short-term coverage plans: This type of insurance is issued in 6 and 12-month terms and typically only covers major expenses, like hospitalization or surgeries. It’s a good option for people who don’t anticipate being unemployed for long, as well as recent college graduates who no longer have student health insurance. It is usually more affordable for singles or couples than families.

When looking for adequate medical insurance, unemployed individuals have a number of affordable options to pursue to ensure that they and their families receive the coverage they need.


MedHealthInsurance. (n.d.). Health insurance for the unemployed. Retrieved July 1, 2010, from

Consumer Affairs. (2008). Keeping your health insurance when you’re unemployed. Retrieved July 2, 2010, from