How Can I Get Health Insurance When I Don't Have a Job?


Check if you're eligible for COBRA. If you've recently be laid off or left a job, you may be eligible for COBRA continuation health coverage. Under COBRA, a federal labor law, employees are eligible to continue to receive coverage under their employer's plan for up to 18 months after they have left their job. Check the Department of Labor page in the Resources section to see if you qualify.


Read your spouse's plan. If your spouse is employed, she may have a health care plan that allows her to add you onto the plan as well. Many employers will allow spouses to be covered by the same plan that covers their employees, albeit for an additional fee.


Find out whether you are eligible for a federal health care program. Two large federal programs, Medicare and Medicaid, offer health care to people 65 years of age and older and to individuals with low incomes, respectively. Check with your local secretary of state for application procedures and to find out if you're eligible.


Investigate the cost of purchasing an individual plan. Many health care plans for individuals can be purchased directly from private insurers. The price of these plans and the coverage they offer varies dramatically depending on the insurer and the person being insured.


Check for state plans. According to, many states have health care programs that are designed to provide coverage to uninsured residents. Massachusetts, for example, has a health care system that provides coverage to every resident. Check with your local department of human services for additional information.


Join a private group. There are a number of private organizations that offer health care coverage to those who qualify. For example, many alumni associations, trade groups and unions offer health care coverage to their members. Depending on your background, you may qualify for one or more of these groups. Call an association for which you are eligible for membership and ask.

Health insurance is a form of insurance in which the policyholder is compensated for medical expenses and other forms of health care. Many people receive health insurance through their employer, many of whom offer it as a benefit of employment. For those without a job, finding health insurance can be a challenge. However, there are a number of steps that you can take to discover whether you are eligible to be covered under a plan provided by someone other than an employer.