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Health Insurance For Unemployed

Unemployed health insurance is a primary reason of concern for the policy-makers because health insurance is a primary need for modern living. Among different health insurance plans for the unemployed, a COBRA coverage plan ensures that the people who have been unemployed can remain within the insurance plan of their former employers for 18 months after losing the jobs. This, however, happens on the condition that the person concerned pays the premium in full.

Health Insurance For Unemployed – Some Initiatives

Various senators and administrators have made many proposals regarding the availability of a stimulus package, which would facilitate the purchase of a COBRA insurance coverage plan for the people who recently got unemployed. This plan would make it convenient for the unemployed people to adopt the plan which otherwise becomes unaffordable owing to the high cost associated with it.

Yet there will be a majority of unemployed people who will be left out for availing unemployed health insurance or unemployed medical insurance. For this purpose, the state would have to take some decisive steps, such as providing coverage to workers with a low income through Medicaid programs.

Health Insurance For Unemployed – Legal Provisions

The federal law stipulates that with firms having less than 20 employees, if any worker is laid off, then he/she becomes eligible for seeking unemployed health insurance under the COBRA plan. Moreover, self-employed individuals who were not working under a plan sponsored by an employer will be eligible for unemployed medical insurance once they stop working.

There are several basic similarities in the structure of the plans proposed by various policy makers regarding unemployed health insurance. The aim is to provide subsidies in the form of cash to jobless workers so that they can purchase private unemployed medical insurance for themselves. The purpose behind these efforts is that the unemployed workers should be able to avail their health insurance during the period that they are unemployed.

Many issues crop up for the policy makers while they undertake the job of designing a policy for the unemployed medical insurance. There are different cases of unemployed workers, too. For instance, some workers are unemployed involuntarily and some simply don’t choose to work. We need to have a proper allocation of funds for both the categories with more allocation for the former, so that the funds for health insurance for the unemployed can be used for genuine cases.

There are many proposals to subsidize the COBRA plan so that more workers can afford it. This will make it easy for the middle- to high-income workers; but for the low-income unemployed workers, unemployed health insurance would remain a far cry.

The policy makers have another task at their hands with this regard. That is to define those workers that are unemployed for the sole purpose of seeking health insurance subsidies. The definition of unemployment by the Bureau of Labor Statistics is used to ease the task. As per the definition, unemployed includes someone who is not working but is available for work and has sought work diligently over the past month. Also included are those who have been laid off temporarily but will be recalled in the near future.

Given the present condition, only one third of the total unemployed workforce receives insurance benefits like unemployed medical insurance or unemployed health insurance. There are also debates over what should be the maximum amount of subsidy to be provided to low-income workers. Suggestions have been in favor of 100% of the COBRA premium amount or a need-based lower percentage.

The proposed idea is that unemployed people should not be allowed a subsidy for more than six months for unemployed health insurance if their period of unemployment is longer than six months. The best possible way to implement these programs is continuous modification in them according to the needs of the time. Moreover, the plans of health insurance for the unemployed should be flexible to be effective for all.


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