Best Health Insurance For Unemployed In 2023

Insurance For Unemployed

You still have options if you are unemployed and uninsured. Medicaid, in particular, is a government health insurance program for the unemployed and low-income people. Eligibility standards differ by state, but if you meet the requirements, you’ll have access to comprehensive health insurance at little or no cost.
If you do not qualify for Medicaid or another sort of insurance, the Marketplace still has reasonable options. Subsidies from the government make these private health insurance policies more affordable.

How Can I Get Health Insurance If I’m Unemployed?

If you are unemployed, there are numerous options for obtaining health insurance. The first option is COBRA, which allows you to continue using your previous employer’s insurance plan but can be costly. Unemployment also qualifies you for a unique enrollment period, during which you can buy any new insurance coverage for up to 60 days after losing your work. Short-term health insurance is a cheap option in some states that can keep you protected for up to 364 days while you seek new work.

Health Insurance Options For the Unemployed

#1. Obamacare or Marketplace Insurance

Anyone who does not have access to health insurance through their employer or the government should think about this option. Anyone can enroll in a Marketplace plan during the open enrollment, or if you’ve just lost your job or experienced a life change that changes your health insurance status.

#2. Short-Term Health Insurance

This is a viable alternative for persons who have a brief gap in coverage with a known endpoint, such as those between employment. Because these plans are not required to fulfill ACA regulations, they may not provide comprehensive coverage. Buyer beware: if you qualify for subsidies, you may be able to pay less for a more comprehensive Silver Marketplace plan.


COBRA is an option for persons who have recently left or lost a job with good benefits (unemployed) and have the financial means to cover the full cost of their former employer’s health insurance. It may be worth the cost if you have complex health demands and relationships with healthcare providers that you need or want to maintain.

#4. Medicaid

People who meet their state’s eligibility requirements, which are usually based on having a very low income, should explore Medicaid. If you’ve lost your job and have no income, you may be able to apply with a low income. Medicaid provides comprehensive coverage that might last until you earn more money.

#5. Medicare

Medicare is available to almost any American over the age of 65, as well as younger people with qualifying diseases or impairments. To be eligible for Medicare, you must be 65 years old or older, and you or your spouse must have paid Medicare taxes for at least ten years.

#6. Participating in a Family Plan

If a family member can add you to their plan, it may be a good alternative, especially if you don’t qualify for Medicaid or if their plan is less expensive than purchasing your own Marketplace plan.

Unemployed People Can Get Health Insurance Through the Marketplace

Though you lose your job and benefits, you can still sign up for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act (ACA), popularly known as Obamacare, even if the yearly open enrollment period has passed. A change in your health insurance status, such as a job loss or other life change, is considered a qualifying event, and you will be eligible for a special enrollment period.

Although marketplace plans are more expensive than traditional employer-sponsored insurance, many consumers are eligible for subsidies in the form of premium tax credits and cost-sharing reductions. Because of these incentives, Marketplace insurance may be cheaper than job-based insurance.

The Affordable Care Act mandates Marketplace plans to cover ten essential health benefits, which short-term health insurance, sometimes known as skinny plans, do not have to cover. Because thin plans cover so little, they can end up costing you more if you need health care.

What Is the Price of Marketplace Insurance?

The cost of Marketplace health insurance is determined by various factors, including the type of plan you purchase and the amount of coverage it provides, the health insurance provider you select, and whether you qualify for subsidies.

Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum are the four metal grades of marketplace insurance products. Catastrophic and Expanded Bronze policies are also available in some states. The less valuable the metal, such as bronze, the less the insurer will cover and the lower your monthly rates will be. These plans, however, often have hefty deductibles and out-of-pocket expenditures.

Kaiser Permanente – Best Marketplace Insurance Company for the Unemployed.

If you don’t have a job with benefits and aren’t eligible for government-run insurance, Marketplace plans are among the best possibilities.

For a 40-year-old, the national average monthly premium for a Silver plan, the most common type of coverage, is $503. Subsidies established in the ACA and increased in the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 let many people pay much cheaper rates.

MoneyGeek has chosen Kaiser Permanente, a California-based managed care firm that also owns healthcare facilities, as the best health insurance provider for Silver plans.


  • Kaiser Permanente has among the lowest premiums of any top-rated national plan, making it excellent for unemployed people minding their finances.
  • Kaiser Permanente is a well-regarded health insurance provider with a long history of assisting members in obtaining high-quality treatment.


  • Because Kaiser Permanente is not offered everywhere, it might not be an option for you.

We chose Kaiser Permanente as the top Marketplace health insurance plan for unemployed persons in the nine states where it operates. The National Committee on Quality Assurance (NCQA) gave Kaiser a 4.28 out of 5 overall quality rating. Kaiser received a 4.33 on preventative efforts.

The average monthly premium for Kaiser Permanente Silver plans sold on the Marketplace is $427.47, the lowest among the top-rated national plans.

Kaiser, which was founded in 1945, has a long history of merging healthcare services with health insurance. They are regarded as a managed care pioneer and one of the first HMOs.

Kaiser Foundation Hospitals – People Who Need More Coverage

If you’re unemployed but can afford to pay a little more each month, you can choose a Gold plan, which covers a larger portion of your overall healthcare costs and provides additional insurance. They offer higher monthly premiums but smaller deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums, so you pay less as you use services. These plans are appropriate if you have severe healthcare demands and can afford the higher monthly fee.

Kaiser Permanente is our choice for the top Gold plan provider on the Marketplace, with an average monthly premium of $463.96 for Gold plans. In comparison, the average Silver premium paid by the employer is $427.47 per month.

Kaiser Permanente is the highest-rated national health insurance provider, with Gold plans available in nine states through the Marketplace. Kaiser’s total quality rating is 4.28 out of 5.00, the highest among big national insurers. Prevention is its highest-scoring category, with a score of 4.33 out of 5.00.

The average Kaiser premium for Gold plans is $463.96, which isn’t the lowest available average rate (that title belongs to Molina), but it’s close. Kaiser Permanente provides the best value for money, while precise costs vary by market.

BCBS – The best insurance option for young, unemployed people on a tight budget.

Consider a Catastrophic plan if money is your greatest concern. Catastrophic insurance is only accessible in certain states to persons under the age of 30 or those who qualify for affordability exemptions.

Catastrophic coverage is intended to protect you from worst-case events, such as a major illness or a devastating catastrophe. Their monthly rates are lower, but their deductibles are extremely hefty. Catastrophic plans sold on the Marketplace must include the ten essential health benefits as well as preventative care, but you will be responsible for practically everything else.

Check to determine if you qualify for any incentives before purchasing a Catastrophic plan. With a Silver plan and cost-sharing reductions, you might pay less and get more coverage.

Because Catastrophic plans are less widespread, there are fewer possibilities.

Blue Shield Blue Cross

Blue Cross Blue Shield is the highest-rated health insurance in at least ten states (BCBS). Catastrophic policies are available in 15 states, and BCBS has the second-lowest average monthly premium at $288.89. BCBS ranks second only to Kaiser Permanente in terms of overall quality, with an average quality rating of 3.86 out of 5. They have the best patient experience rating, with a score of 3.52. BCBS plans function separately in each state, so check the specific policy alternatives in your area for more information.

When Does COBRA Health Insurance Make Sense?

Workers who lose or leave their jobs can stay on their employer’s health insurance for up to 18 months, or even longer in some cases, under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA). You must apply within 60 days of losing coverage or receiving notification that you are qualified, whichever comes first.

COBRA allows you to keep your coverage, but it is expensive. Instead of pooling costs with your employer, you pay the whole cost of coverage.

If you lost your employment and insurance as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, you may be entitled to assistance with COBRA payments between April 1 and September 30, 2021, thanks to the American Rescue Plan.

Who Is Eligible for Medicaid Health Insurance?

If you are unemployed, depending on where you live, you may be eligible for Medicaid. Under the Affordable Care Act, Medicaid was expanded in 38 states and Washington, D.C. In some areas, if you earn 138% or less of the federal poverty level — or $17,774 per year for an individual — you can qualify for Medicaid based solely on your income. The higher the income cutoff, the larger your household.

In the 12 states that have chosen not to expand Medicaid, your income will not be sufficient to qualify. Other qualifications, such as being a caretaker for a dependent kid, must be met.

  • Alabama
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Kansas
  • Mississippi
  • North Carolina (NC)
  • South Carolina (SC)
  • Dakota State
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Wisconsin

When you apply for coverage through, the government will determine whether you qualify for Medicaid in your state and whether any children in your home are eligible for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). CHIP is for families who earn too much to qualify for Medicaid but cannot afford private health insurance.

Who Is Eligible for Medicare Health Insurance?

Medicare is health insurance for the elderly and some disabled adults under the age of 65. Medicare is available to almost everyone over the age of 65.

The core of Medicare, sometimes known as “Original Medicare,” covers hospital stays (via Part A) as well as doctor or other outpatient visits (through Part B). This coverage is not free, but it is reasonably priced. In 2022, most people will pay no premium and have a $1,556 deductible. You also contribute to the costs of extended stays. For most people, monthly Part B premiums are $170, and the deductible is $233 in 2022, beyond which 20% coinsurance applies for Medicare-approved expenses. These premiums might be different in 2023, so always make enquiries to find out more.

Some people purchase supplemental insurance to assist cover costs that Original Medicare does not cover. Private companies provide prescription drug insurance, or Part D, to help offset the cost of prescriptions. Medigap plans are another sort of supplemental coverage, with a variety of plan types that cover a variety of items. Medigap plans, which are also offered by private companies, have the same benefit structure but differ in cost and other features depending on the company.

Medicare Advantage, often known as Part C, is a plan that offers full benefits in a single package. These plans combine all of the Original Medicare benefits with additional coverage and other benefits.

How Do You Become a Member of Your Parent’s or Spouse’s Health Insurance Plan?

You may be able to join your spouse’s job-based health insurance policy if you have one. Adding you to their plan will raise their health insurance premiums, but it may still be a cost-effective method to obtain comprehensive health insurance.

People under the age of 26 can also remain on or join their parent’s private health insurance plan, owing to the ACA. It will increase your parents’ bills, but it may be well worth it to obtain good coverage.

What Is the Most Affordable Health Insurance?

Short-term and catastrophic coverage plans are typically the most affordable health insurance solutions for somebody who has recently lost their job. Both, however, have drawbacks. Short-term coverage is limited to one year and is prohibited or restricted in some places. To qualify for catastrophic coverage, you must be younger than 30 years old or have a low income, and even if you do, those inexpensive rates come with huge deductibles.

What Can You Do If You Can’t Afford Health Insurance?

Health insurance when you are unemployed may appear pricey, but if a comprehensive plan with subsidies or short-term health insurance is still out of reach, you have other possibilities. Each state has Medicaid and CHIP programs for people who cannot afford other forms of health insurance. The eligibility for these programs is determined by the state in which you reside. After you enter your location, Medicaid will provide state-specific guidance.

How We Selected the Best Unemployed Health Insurance

Our research looked at 30 health insurers across the country to find the best firms based on the benefits they provide to persons facing unemployment. We identified insurers with broad geographic coverage who offer customizable policies tailored to consumers with short-term insurance needs. We weighted policy pricing strongly by comparing quotes from five sample marketplaces because financial hardship is a major worry during periods of unemployment. Finally, we looked at care accessibility, such as the number of in-network providers and the availability of telehealth options.

Insurance For Unemployed FAQs

What is the lowest income to qualify for ObamaCare?

A premium subsidy is available if your household income is between 100% and 400% of the federal poverty line. This means that a single person earning between $12,880 and $51,520 can qualify for the tax credit. A family of three would be eligible with an income ranging from $21,960 to $87,840.

Who is not eligible for ObamaCare?

If you earn more than 400% of the federal poverty threshold, you are ineligible for government subsidies to help cover health insurance premiums.

What reasons can you quit a job and still get unemployment benefits?

You may be eligible for unemployment compensation if we believe you quit for one of the following good reasons: You left to pursue another opportunity. You became ill or disabled, or a member of your family became ill, incapacitated, or died, and you were forced to leave your job.


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