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Do I need a job to get health insurance?

Keep in mind...
  • You can have health insurance coverage even if you are unemployed
  • Medicare coverage is not the same as Medicaid
  • A health insurance broker can help you decide which policy is best for you

You don’t need a job to get health insurance, however, having a job will certainly help when it comes to paying monthly premiums for private health insurance coverage! A better question would be, “Do I need health insurance?” The answer to this issue is most emphatically, “Yes!”

In the past, having a job would almost guarantee that you would have reasonable group health insurance coverage.

Unfortunately, with a poor economy and skyrocketing medical costs, many employers have cut back on their benefit packages, causing employees to contribute a larger share of their health care costs or seek insurance coverage on their own.

Find affordable health insurance in your area by entering your zip code above?

Isn’t group health insurance much cheaper?

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Yes! Obtaining health insurance through a group is much more economical than buying individual coverage.

However, you don’t need a job to find affordable insurance because there are many opportunities for individuals to become associated or affiliated with a group.

Self employed individuals and small business owners often form their groups.

A single person may qualify for group rates as a sole proprietor and only two people are necessary to form a group under most state insurance regulations.

How else can I find a health insurance group?

Group coverage can be purchased through many different kinds of local, regional, and national organizations, such as fraternal groups, civic associations and other member-based organizations.

For older adults, groups such as the AARP (American Association of Retired Persons), provides its members with informative bulletins, and features offers from a variety of insurance organizations, willing to give discounts to AARP’s large national membership.

Who can help me sort out my insurance options?

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One economical option is to use the services of a health insurance broker. Insurance brokers work with all insurance providers in a given area, becoming experts in the benefit plans and options available.

These “middlemen” companies are motivated to provide the best possible service in order to satisfy both the insurance companies’ and their policy holders’ needs.

What programs are available if I don’t work?

Younger members of our community may still be be eligible for health coverage under their parent’s policies. Recent changes in federal law have increased the age a child may continue on a parent’s policy from 24 to 26.

Some states, such as Ohio, have increased the eligibility age to 28.

Those Americans, who have reached the age of 65, are automatically qualified for Medicare. While qualification is automatic, enrollment is required. In 2011, Medicare open enrollment began on October 15 and continues until December 7.

Those eligible include all those who are 65 or older, and those who will turn 65 before December 31.

Basic Medicare provides hospital and medical coverage. Usually, the nominal premiums are deducted from a recipient’s Social Security benefit checks.

However, depending on the plan selected, there are still out-of-pocket expenses including co-pays, deductibles, prescriptions and other costs, just as there would be with private health insurance coverage.

There are certainly choices that seniors must make under this government-subsidized program. Most often, those that can afford additional coverage purchase a supplemental insurance package, designed to cover the expenses that Medicare does not.

There are many such supplemental programs available. Some health insurance contractors have become specialists in providing Medicare supplementary insurance and only market these kinds of programs.

Medicare also provides informational assistance and suggests resources for those who are unable to afford the out-of-pocket contributions for medical services under the program.

What if I have no money to pay for health coverage?

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Medicaid program offers full medical coverage to individuals and families who fall below certain income guidelines.

Unlike Medicare benefits, which are standardized across the United States, the Medicaid program is administered separately by each participating state, so qualifications and coverage may vary.

Eligibility for Medicaid is not just based on income; assets and other resources available to the applicant are also considered.

Medicaid does not directly reimburse covered individuals for their medical expenses. Medicaid pays the service providers directly, at an agreed upon rate.

Not all medical practitioners accept Medicaid, but most hospitals, clinics, and other treatment centers do.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services sponsors a website with general information about Medicaid and Medicare services. Individual states may administer their Medicaid program statewide or give counties or other jurisdictions local control.

Most states have offices in major metropolitan areas. These offices are often linked with other social service agencies and public programs.

Whether public or private, health insurance programs vary widely from state to state. It is important to thoroughly research all available insurance options in your area before making important insurance decisions.

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