I am recently unemployed and have lost my job-based health insurance coverage. What can I do?
If you were covered under a group health plan that was sponsored by an employer with 20 or more workers, you are probably eligible for COBRA continuation coverage. COBRA gives you the right to continue under your former group health plan for limited time, but you must pay the entire premium (employer and employee share). At least one state offers COBRA premium subsidies.
If you were covered under a group health plan that was sponsored by an employer with less than 20 workers, you may also be qualified for continuation coverage through a state program. Contact your state's Department of Insurance to see if you have state-based continuation coverage rights.
You also might be a HIPAA-eligible individual. If you have been continuously covered (under one plan or a series of plans) for at least 18 months before you lost your job-based coverage, and if you elected and exhausted any COBRA or state continuation coverage for which you were eligible, there are health coverage options for you in your state that will not turn you down or impose a pre-existing condition exclusion period. However, depending on where you live, there might or might not be a limit on what you can be charged for this coverage.
Finally, if foreign competition and imports were a reason contributing to your layoff, you might be eligible for Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) benefits, including subsidies for qualified health insurance.
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