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How to Insure Yourself When Unemployed

May 11th, 2021 • Gayle E.

As of this writing, 36.5 million Americans are out of work or working less. One of the most important benefits of full time employment is health insurance so what happens when a job is cut, furloughed, or reduced? Often, health insurance is cut too. 

If you’ve lost your insurance, here are some options to find coverage:


Cobra is a program that allows continuance of healthcare coverage for individuals and their dependents when they lose their job or there is a reduction in hours. Cobra premiums are expensive because the individual pays the full premium. Cobra is temporary, lasting up to 18 or 36 months, depending on the situation. 

Affordable Care Act Marketplace (ACA)

Insurance is available through the ACA Marketplace Exchange during enrollment periods only, unless there’s a qualifying event: marriage, birth of a child, or loss of health care benefits through a job. There’s a 30-60 day period after the event to secure coverage through the state exchange. The Marketplace can be accessed here with redirection to specific state exchanges. 

Medicaid or CHIP

Medicaid is the federal program that provides healthcare for those with limited income. CHIP is the Children’s Health Insurance Program that provides low-cost coverage for children in families who make too much to qualify for Medicaid but not enough to afford health coverage. There isn’t an enrollment period and when you apply for healthcare through a state’s marketplace, notice will be given about medicaid coverage. If your income is below your state’s threshold, you may qualify for Medicaid.

Short term insurance

Some private insurers offer temporary coverage for up to 12 months. This coverage isn’t part of ACA so pre-existing coverage isn’t included and the insurance company can deny coverage for medical issues you’ve been treated for in the past.

If you can’t afford coverage through ACA or Cobra, but don’t qualify for Medicaid either, don’t give up. Contact us at Your Money Line so we can work with you to find the margin in your budget for health insurance. 

Unemployment is a scary time, but having a financial guide during this time could be the difference between feeling confident and lost. Your financial life doesn’t stop spinning when you lose work. Start a low-cost monthly subscription with Hey Money to have a financial expert walk you through the myriad of decisions you need to make.

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