Admittedly, getting health insurance with no job is a stretch. Why? Because no job implies no income, and health insurance companies aren’t in the business of giving away free coverage. However, there are instances when jobless people can get free or very inexpensive coverage. Also, alternatives to “normal” health insurance can sometimes save big time on “normal” premiums. Let’s explore some of these options.
Options for Jobless College Graduates
Get coverage under your parent’s plan.
According to Go Ask Alice, The Affordable Care Act of 2010 currently allows young adults to be covered under their parents’ or guardians’ insurance plan(s) up to the age of 26 if they are not eligible for employment-based coverage. Starting in 2014, young adults will have the option to remain on their parents’ or guardians’ plan(s) up to the age of 26 regardless of employment-based eligibility.
Try a continuation of your school’s health insurance plan.
This option varies from college to college, but it is worth checking on. Michigan State University, for example, allows graduates who meet necessary requirements to continue coverage for up to nine months at a premium payment of 25% above the prevailing student premium.
Options for Anyone Who is Jobless
COBRA is an acronym for Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, which requires employers to extend the same health care benefits provided to current employees to those employees who lose their jobs. Because the unemployed worker will need to pay the full premium, including the portion his former employer paid, COBRA can be quite pricey.
High Deductible Health Insurance
If unemployment is causing you to consider dropping your health insurance altogether, you should first consider raising your deductible amount. Doing so will not only lower your premiums dramatically, but will also keep you covered for catastrophic events. According to some quotes my own agent prepared, a healthy 40-year-old male who pays $368.92 monthly for $250 deductible health insurance could lower those premiums to $152.35 by raising his annual deductible to $3,500.
Both of these organizations are based on the Biblical principle of Christians meeting each other’s needs; neither is an insurance company. Each requires a membership and a monthly commitment, which will be applied directly to another member’s health care needs – the concept being that believers help others as they are able and receive help when they have needs. Both emphasize the importance of prayer as well as money for members in need. Medi-Share began in 1993; Samaritan Ministries in 1994.
Both of these organizations claim substantial savings when compared to conventional health insurance companies and each has its own fee structure, with a variety of options. Their websites give substantial information, so do your homework if you are considering either of these. Read our review of Medi-Share for more thoughts.
Become Amish or Mennonite
According to the Wall Street Journal, Old Order Amish and Mennonites believe that, in lieu of purchasing health insurance, it is the religious duty of their communities to provide for one another when sick. They don’t pay Social Security taxes and reject Medicaid or Medicare benefits, as well as farm subsidies. Of course, joining either group for the purpose of saving on health insurance premiums would not be an ethical decision, but if one is considering the simple life anyway, it may be worth considering.
Health Insurance for Senior Citizens or Disabled Citizens
These two government programs provide medical and health-related services to specific groups of people in the United States. Medicare is a social insurance program while Medicaid is a social welfare program.
Medicare, basically available for U.S. citizens aged 65 or older or disabled U.S. citizens at any age, will pay for basic hospital, home care or nursing home care. However, a supplemental policy is needed for other health care needs such as physician visits or pharmaceutical needs.
Medicaid, a means tested health and medical services program for certain low income individuals and families, has state specific eligibility requirements.
One Final Thought
Regardless of the health insurance you carry, your health is ultimately your responsibility. Therefore, your best insurance for good health – for the rest of your life – is to do what you know you should be doing: exercise and eat right.
How have you been able to save on health insurance? Do you have any additional ideas how jobless people can get health insurance? Leave a comment!