by James Tuck
Recent changes to health care laws require that most individuals maintain adequate health insurance; however, this can prove challenging for those who are experiencing financial difficulties or who are currently unemployed or underemployed. Unemployed health insurance policies are typically more expensive than comparable group health or employee-sponsored health care plans and may provide fewer services and benefits as well. For some recently laid-off workers, COBRA may allow continuation of benefits at the same rates the employer was paying for health insurance coverage for the former employee. In most cases, however, unemployed individuals are on their own in the unemployed health insurance marketplace.
Higher Premiums for Individuals
Because most employers enjoy group rates for their health insurance coverage, former employees may get a nasty shock at the real cost of health insurance for the unemployed. Monthly premiums may double or triple without the advantage of group pricing, making health insurance for unemployed people a major expense in many cases. Some unemployed individuals may qualify for state or federal assistance for their health care needs. Others may be able to obtain lower cost short term health insurance until they can obtain employment once more and gain access to employer-sponsored health insurance coverage.
Group Rates Can Help
In some cases, unemployed individuals can enroll in affordable coverage by taking advantage of group rates through membership in a union, club or organization. Groups like AARP offer access to group rates for their health insurance policies, which can constitute a major reduction in cost over the same coverage purchased individually.
Finding the right unemployed health insurance at the right price can be challenging. By investigating all the options available for health insurance for the unemployed, consumers can find affordable rates and basic coverage to bridge the gap between jobs and ensure financial stability for themselves and their families.