You and your family need to stay happy and healthy, even if you suffer a job loss. Getting health insurance can be challenging when you’re unemployed. That’s because your options will be limited or your finances restricted.
However, it doesn’t matter if you’re unemployed, there are various possible options to obtain health insurance, such as through Medicaid, the Affordable Care Act, or the COBRA coverage.
Taking these three steps will help you qualify for health insurance. Even if you lost your job yesterday.
Preparing to apply
Understand your household size
Before you can qualify for health insurance, either from Medicaid or the Affordable Care Act, you need to understand your household size.
You must know your household size because each they attract different income limits.
Unlike a smaller household, under the Affordable Care Act, a larger family has a higher chance of qualifying for Medicaid or have their cost-insurance reduced and with higher income.
- A typical household includes the one who files taxes (assuming he’s a married man), his spouse, and dependent (s).
- In the insurance world, “dependent” is anyone that could fall on the “dependent” list of your tax records. Minor children usually qualify. And in some instances, you may be allowed to include your parents on your “dependent” list.
Know Your income
Apart from your household size, your income also determines whether or not you’ll qualify for Medicaid through the Affordable Care Act.
When calculating your annual income, here are the income sources to include:
- Any unemployment benefit received.
- Any income of your household member, either your spouse or dependent.
- Any interest income, or alimony income, or income from capital gains
Prepare to complete an insurance application form
You can find the Insurance application under the Affordable Care Act when you visit the healthcare.gov site. Generally, there’s a period dedicated to the enrolment of health insurance (open enrolment period”). However, because of job loss, you can enrol for health insurance through a “special enrolment” program, whether enrolment is ongoing or not.
Before you can fill out an application, you must have the following info:
- Accurate info about your household size and income (as mentioned above)
- Home address and mailing address, if you’re applying for coverage
- Information about anyone benefiting from coverage, like your relationship with the people. For example, if you’re applying for coverage for you and your spouse, you must enter the required information about him/her.
- The SSN (social security numbers)
- Basic info about a dedicated professional who will guide you with filling out the application
- Information about any professional who will help you complete the application. Although you can have the application form filled out on your own, you might choose to use the service of an attorney or accountant. If this is you; you should request your professional to submit the required information about themselves with your application.
- Immigration information for applicants who are not United States citizen.
- Information on how your taxes are filed. This could be whether you’re single or you’re filed jointly with a relation or spouse.
- Insurance policy number in case someone in your households owns a health insurance policy.
- Employer’s information. It’s essential to provide information about your employers or of any of your household, even if they don’t offer health insurance.
Fill out an application to determine if you qualify for discounted insurance
Hop over to the federal online marketplace.
You’ll have to begin the application process. To start application process, you must create an account, first. Select your present state of residence and create a username and password.
Gather every necessary document
When applying for health insurance through the federal marketplace, you will need to verify some information by providing the required documents.
Below are checklists of documents to prepare. They include:
- Household information
- Social security number
- W-2 forms
- Tax filings
- Income estimates
- Current health information
Follow all instructions on the website
Upon starting the application process, on the website, you’ll have to answer specific questions.
Follow the on-screen instructions and fill out the forms honestly and completely.
The questions might vary depending on the provided answer. Generally, you will have to put down:
- Your tax info
- Estimated income
- Health history
Know the different marketplace plans
When you understand the various marketplace plans, you’ll be able to choose the ideal health insurance. Have a look at these examples:
- Exclusive Provider Organization (EPO): This care plan has you covered only when the doctors, hospitals, or specialists used are within the plan’s network.
- Health Maintenance Organization (HMO): The health insurance plan limits its care coverage to medical practitioners and doctors who belong to or are in contract with HMO. The plan does not cover any care that is out of the network. However, these don’t apply to emergencies.
- Point of Service (POS): In this plan, you’ll pay less when you use hospitals, doctors, and medical practitioners that are in contract with the plan’s network. You must obtain a referral from your main care doctor before allowed to consult a specialist from out of the network.
- Preferred Provider Organization (PPO): In PPO, you’ll pay less when you use hospitals, doctors, and medical practitioners that are in contract with the plan’s network. You don’t have to obtain a referral from your main care doctor before allowed to consult a specialist from outside of the network. However, these come with extra charges.
Apply for Medicaid
Have prior knowledge of your state requirements
After the ACA came into law, the state is given a choice to extend Medicaid coverage to cater to more residents or maintain its initial coverage.
It doesn’t matter whether your state expanded Medicaid or not; it will ultimately affect your eligibility requirement as far as coverage is concerned.
- If your state expands Medicaid, your qualification may be based on your income and household size. To know whether or not your income and household can determine your qualification, visit https://www.healthcare.gov/qualifying-for-lower-costs-chart.
- And if the Medicaid program is not expanded in your state, you must meet the existing minimum requirement to qualify for Medicaid. Under the regular requirements, your income must be less than 100% of the national poverty level to qualify for Medicaid. In other words, to qualify, your annual income must be less than $11,670.
Complete a marketplace application online, via the mail, on the phone or physically.
To know if you qualify for Medicaid, complete the same form you filled out to obtain the insurance under ACA.
It doesn’t matter whether the “open enrolment period” is ongoing or not; you can apply for Medicaid whenever you want.
Apply for Medicaid through the state
While you can process your health insurance application through a marketplace, it’s also possible to apply directly through your state.
The application process for each state varies. Some can be easy or complex. So the marketplace application is more straightforward.
To complete a state application, kindly visit
And click on the drop-down menu to choose your state.
Get enrolled in Medicaid
If you qualify for Medicaid, you can enrol through the state or marketplace.
Once enrolled, the agency will send a Medicaid card in your email: you’ll present this card to receive medical care.
In case of an issue or concern about your coverage, get in touch with your Medicaid agency.