Assess Your Eligibility for Government Programs
Government programs can offer a lifeline to individuals without job-based health insurance. Medicaid, for example, is a state and federally funded program that provides free or low-cost coverage to eligible individuals or families with limited income. The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) serves children in families that have slightly higher income limits than Medicaid allows.
To determine your eligibility and start the application process, visit your state’s Medicaid or CHIP website. It’s worth noting that each state has different guidelines and income limits, so make sure to research the specific requirements in your location. Be prepared to provide documents such as proof of income, residency, and identification along with your application.
Explore COBRA Coverage
If you recently lost your job and had employer-provided health insurance, you may be eligible for COBRA coverage. COBRA, or the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, allows individuals to continue their employer-sponsored health insurance for a certain period. While COBRA maintains your previous coverage, it’s important to weigh the benefits against the potential cost.
To apply for COBRA coverage, contact your former employer’s benefits administrator. Keep in mind that COBRA coverage can be expensive since you’ll be responsible for both the employer and employee contributions. However, if you’re seeking temporary coverage while exploring other options, COBRA can bridge the gap until you secure a more affordable alternative.