According to the Huffington Post, the number is up to 12.9 million people. Those with higher incomes have a better chance of affording insurance premiums, and those with lower incomes qualify for more help programs.
If you lost your job between Sept. 1, 2008 and May 31, 2010, you might qualify for 15-month reduced-fee federal COBRA coverage.
If you recently lost your COBRA, look into Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act coverage, a government insurance continuation program. It covers pre-existing conditions, but it’s expensive.
Consider other avenues to find coverage that might be less costly:
¥ If you’re sure you’ll land a job in the coming months, look into short-term policies.
¥ Take any part-time job that comes with insurance. You’ll still have time to look for another job, but will be covered in the meanwhile.
¥ Look at your professional associations. Many of them have umbrella policies for anyone in the group. If you don’t have a professional affiliation, consider joining something. While the market isn’t back up to speed, it might be worthwhile to become a real-estate agent, if only for the Limited Medical insurance through The National Association of Realtors.
¥ Call your state’s insurance department and ask what help is available, especially if you have children. Most states have some type of coverage for children 18 and under.
¥ Think about going back to school and signing up for campus medical insurance. You’ll likely only have to go part time, but check the details. Some schools offer a basic level of care for a low semester fee, while others offer full insurance through major insurers.
¥ Get different coverage for everyone in your family. If the kids can be covered by the state, and you’re going to school, that only leaves your spouse who needs coverage.
¥ If you’re married and your spouse is working, look into getting covered by that plan.
¥ Consider getting a catastrophic policy with a high deductible. You’ll save money but will pay for all your care until you reach the deductible each calendar year.
¥ If you’re self-employed and need cheaper insurance, look at National Association for the Self-Employed (www.nase.org) or the Small Business Service Bureau (www.sbsb.com) for group rates.
David Uffington regrets that he cannot personally answer reader questions, but will incorporate them into his column whenever possible.
Write to him in care of King Features Weekly Service, P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475, or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
(c) 2010 King Features Synd., Inc.