Health Insurance for the Unemployed
While losing a job is one of the most difficult experiences anyone can face, it doesn’t have to mean losing health insurance coverage for you and your family. Consider these health insurance options to provide protection during this coverage gap.
Find health insurance coverage through the Marketplace
For most states, the Open Enrollment Period to sign up for a Marketplace insurance plan is November 1 through December 15 (be sure to confirm your state’s specific enrollment timeline). But if you experience a job loss, you may qualify for a Special Enrollment Period. Depending on the type of Special Enrollment Period you qualify for, you generally have 60 days before or 60 days following your loss of coverage to enroll in a plan.
Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, you can compare and purchase insurance plans through the Marketplace. Employment status is not a factor for eligibility. Your cost is based on the state where you live as well as your income. You may also qualify for a health insurance subsidy, which is financial help that lowers what you pay for your monthly premium.
Additional financial help through the American Rescue Plan
The American Rescue Plan passed on March 11, 2021 also provides additional financial assistance to help you pay the monthly premiums for health coverage bought through the Marketplace. This includes enhanced premium tax credits if you received unemployment insurance benefits for at least one week during 2021. If you are unemployed, or previously unemployed for at least one week since January 1, 2021, you may qualify to pay as low as $1 in premiums for some Anthem Marketplace plans for the rest of the year.1
Benefits of Marketplace insurance plans
- 10 essential health benefits all Marketplace plans cover
- Flexible plans to fit your specific needs and budget
- All plans cover pre-existing conditions
Receive medical coverage through Medicaid
Upon completing your Marketplace application, you may discover that you qualify for Medicaid. Depending primarily on income, Medicaid provides free or low-cost health coverage for individuals, families and children, pregnant women, the elderly, and people with disabilities. Additionally, some states have expanded their Medicaid programs to cover any individual below certain income levels.
Benefits of Medicaid
- Coverage for doctor visits, hospital stays, and prescriptions
- Low cost, sometimes free health coverage
- Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) options for children
Extend health insurance coverage with COBRA
Another option might be to continue your health insurance coverage with your previous employer’s health insurance plan. The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) provides a continuation of group health coverage to workers affected by job loss for up to 36 months. COBRA eligibility is based on:
Your group health plan. The law typically applies to health plans sponsored by employers with 20 or more employees, or by state and local governments. Some states also afford similar continuation coverage to individuals covered by group health plans sponsored by employers with fewer than 20 employees.
Your qualifying event. Qualifying events include reduction in your work hours or a job loss for any reason other than gross misconduct, which has caused you to lose your coverage. Your qualifying event also determines who qualifies and how long your group health plan must offer continuation coverage.
Advantages of COBRA
- Maintains consistent health insurance coverage from your previous employer
- Provides coverage up to 36 months
- Provides coverage for reduced hours as well as job loss
A comprehensive and flexible coverage option: Anthem Enhanced Choice
Anthem Enhanced Choice plans provide coverage that offers many of the comprehensive benefits of employer-based or stand-alone health insurance plans for the growing number of people who are not covered by traditional health insurance.2
Anthem Enhanced Choice plans are designed to accommodate flexible life situations. Some plans are available with coverage that lasts for nearly 36 months over three coverage periods, and you only have to apply once.3
While Anthem Enhanced Choice plans are not compatible with the Marketplace plans, they are medically underwritten. Consumers receive essential coverage while being able to save with lower premiums versus unsubsidized Marketplace plans. Compare what you might pay for Anthem Enhanced Choice with other health insurance costs.
Advantages of Anthem Enhanced Choice
- Comprehensive coverage compared to most employer-based plans
- May offer lower premiums than Marketplace plans if you don’t qualify for financial help
- Flexible coverage periods that last for up to 36 months
With so many coverage options, you may need help selecting a plan. Anthem is here to assist you in choosing a health insurance plan that fits your current situation and budget, so you and your family are always covered.
1 Availability and implementation of this benefit will vary based on the state where you live, so be sure to check specific guidelines for your state.
2 Anthem Enhanced Choice coverage is not required to comply with certain federal market requirements for health insurance, principally those contained in the Affordable Care Act. Be sure to check your policy carefully to make sure you are aware of any exclusions or limitations regarding coverage of preexisting conditions or health benefits (such as hospitalization, emergency services, maternity care, preventive care, prescription drugs, and mental health and substance use disorder services). Your policy might also have lifetime and/or annual dollar limits on health benefits. If this coverage expires or you lose eligibility for this coverage, you might have to wait until an open enrollment period to get other health insurance coverage.