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How To Pay for a Health Care Emergency After Losing Your Job

  • June 11, 2020

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How To Pay for a Health Care Emergency After Losing Your Job

Suffering with a health care emergency after losing your job?

The current global pandemic is a crisis that has hit the world's health care system and its economies. Millions of people have had to stop working due to the fact that coronavirus is so contagious. While staying home is an effective way to slow the spread of the virus, it will leave many people without jobs.

Most people in the nation have their health insurance through work, leaving them scrambling for coverage during the epidemic. Here are some ways to manage the costs of a health emergency after losing your job.

Understand Your Rights

The first step to protect your health and financial future after a job loss during a pandemic is not to panic. Experts estimate that about 18% of the country's employed either lost their jobs or lost hours because of the health crisis.

In the last few weeks, Congress has been working diligently to protect those who have lost their jobs and give them an additional source of income. Testing for the virus is now free throughout the country, no matter what the person's employment status or health insurance coverage looks like.

Related to health care emergency: Health Problems That Could Be Affecting Your Career

Continue With Cobra

The next step for people who have lost their jobs is to look into continuing their current health care coverage with COBRA. COBRA stands for the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act and allows recently laid off or fired workers to keep their employer-sponsored health plan for a period of time.

Getting a reduction in hours, divorce, and other life events also activate COBRA coverage for some individuals as well. If eligible for COBRA, the insurance broker or provider will contact you and help you get set up for continued coverage at a higher cost.

Purchase a Plan Through the Government

Some people can find better and cheaper coverage through the government's health insurance marketplace. The federal health insurance marketplace offers a variety of plans that fit many types of budgets. If you recently lost your job and cannot work due to the health crisis, you may be able to qualify for discount coverage that will keep your health care costs reasonable.

Qualify for Medicaid

For some low-income individuals, Medicaid may also be an option for affordable coverage. Medicaid coverage is dependent on the state's policies and whether or not the state elected to expand coverage in the past few years. To qualify, you must earn an income that is below a set amount.

The larger your family is the higher the income amount goes to allow for more coverage opportunities to those who are most vulnerable. Some children may qualify for their own subsidized coverage if the parents are struggling with finding a job.

Get Coverage Through a Spouse

Losing your job and your income during a global health crisis is scary. But, if you're married and your spouse has secure employment, you may be able to get full coverage.

If your spouse's company has a sponsored health insurance plan, inquire about setting both of you up on one of the coverage options. Your job loss counts as a qualifying event and can help you get signed up quickly.

Consider Workmen's Compensation

There is also an option for some individuals who experience illness or an injury related to their line of work. If someone gets hurt on the job and ends up losing their job due to the pandemic, workmen's compensation is supposed to cover the costs.

Additionally, individuals who have acquired coronavirus through their jobs may be able to submit a claim for full coverage and care with their employer's workmen's compensation plan. Since the disease is so new and data is still trickling in, it's going to be a challenge to get the cost of care covered through this route.

Purchase an Individual Plan

It's also still possible to purchase an individual health plan on the private health insurance market for coverage. Some of these plans have high deductibles, but it may make sense for individuals who are healthy and don't get sick very often to purchase an individual plan.

Going this route may leave someone vulnerable for gaps in coverage for unexpected health costs, but if a recently unemployed person is on a limited budget, it can work for a short period of time.

Inquire With Affiliated Organizations

Some professionals may also find coverage in their industry through different affiliated organizations. Workers who are self-employed may find coverage through professional organizations designed to assist those in that field.

Creative professionals, such as actors, writers, filmmakers, and musicians, can also find group health insurance through industry unions. Additionally, some membership organizations, such as Costco, AAA, and the AARP offer their own gateway to insurance plan coverage.

Talk to an Insurance Agent

One of the best ways to get affordable coverage that protects you during this scary time through the world's pandemic is to talk to an insurance broker or agent who specializes in health coverage.

An experienced agent can help you navigate the different options and recommend what is best for you and your family. Agents may also be able to negotiate discounts through their network of contacts, saving you much more money.


Facing unemployment, loss of income and an uncertain future with a struggling economy is terrifying. Dealing with all of that during the current crisis with coronavirus is even scarier.

Instead of worrying and panicking about the situation, be prepared for the potential of an unexpected health issue by securing health insurance as soon as possible. There are several options that may work for you.