Buying Unemployed Medical Coverage

Your Options for Unemployment Health Benefits After Losing Your Job


If you’re unemployed and you need medical coverage, you have some solid healthcare options to choose from.

  • You can buy unemployed medical insurance online or in a local health insurance agent’s office. Make sure you only use reputable health insurance websites to buy an individual health insurance policy.
  • Get unemployed healthcare from your ex-employer’s insurer when you sign up for COBRA. COBRA allows you to continue your health insurance for many months after the end of your employment. Take note, COBRA is a very expensive form of unemployed medical coverage.
  • Unemployment insurance is available in more than 40 states through state continuation insurance. Similar to COBRA, unemployed group health plans through state continuation are for ex-employees of companies employing less than 20 people. Eligibility for unemployment state continuation insurance varies by state.
  • Conversions are another way that your ex-employer’s healthcare might be able to help you when you’re unemployed. Insurance group health plans that offer conversion allow you to convert unemployment group health benefits to a non-group insurance policy.
  • You may be eligible for job loss insurance through HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996). If you’re unemployed and eligible for HIPAA, you’re guaranteed two health insurance policy offers. Check with your state department of insurance to determine eligibility criteria.
  • If you are low income, you may be eligible for unemployed healthcare through Medicaid. Medicaid guidelines vary by state.
  • High-risk pools offer medical coverage for the unemployed in more than 30 states. High-pools are a very expensive form of health insurance for the unemployed and only have limited enrollment.

Help diffuse the high cost of prescriptions with unemployed health benefits.

  • Unemployment health benefits like prescription assistance may be available to you through a pharmaceutical company. Prescription assistance helps people without insurance get the prescriptions they need.
  • Check with local pharmacies to see what kind of discount drug plans they offer the unemployed. In order to compete with national pharmacies and website service, a number of smaller, locally-owned pharmacies have started discount drug plans that offer great value to you and your family.
  • If you are unemployed and have an individual health insurance policy, COBRA or some other job loss insurance, check to see if mail-in prescriptions are available. With mail-in prescriptions, you get three months’ worth of medicine for the same price as one month’s worth of medicine at a local pharmacy.

Notes about job loss insurance:

  • State rights, regulations and availability of job loss insurance vary. Contact your state department of insurance to determine eligibility.
  • Understand the difference between job loss insurance and unemployed discount health plans. Discount health plans are not the same thing as health insurance.

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