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There are available healthcare options for people who are unemployed. Household income and the number of people in the household are the factors that determine what health care coverage is available to unemployed people and how much assistance may be available to cover the costs of health care coverage.

Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) may provide free or low-cost health care coverage for some unemployed people who are pregnant.


Estimating Income When Unemployed

Unemployment compensation does count as income and needs to be reported when someone applies for health insurance through the Affordable Healthcare Marketplace. Also, income earned by all others in the household must be reported when applying. Additional income from sources like alimony, interest earned on bank accounts, and capital gains need to be included when applying for Marketplace coverage.


Health Insurance Marketplace

The Marketplace helps individuals find the coverage best suited to their needs and household budget. All plans cover basic essentials like preventive care, doctor visits, prescriptions, and hospitalization. Available plans can be compared based on costs, total benefits, and other features that may be important to the individual applying. The Marketplace is available to all legal residents of the United States (citizen or national) who are not serving time in prison. Some states have their own Marketplace and others use the Marketplace of the federal government.

Loss of job-based healthcare coverage qualifies unemployed persons for a Special Enrollment Period outside the typical open enrollment times. If an unemployed person is eligible for the job-based coverage of their spouse, they will likely not qualify for lower-cost coverage on the Marketplace that is based on their unemployment income.


Starting A Job After Obtaining Marketplace Coverage

Any time a person’s situation changes with life events like marriage, childbirth, or starting a new job, they should update their Marketplace information as soon as possible. If a new job offers job-based healthcare coverage, the person may cancel the Marketplace coverage or choose to keep it. They may not remain eligible for lower costs based on income. If their new job does not offer health insurance, they can keep the Marketplace plan. The costs of coverage will be determined by their new income and the size of their household.