Health Insurance Without a Job

Looking for health insurance without a job? It can be tricky to find an affordable plan, especially if you were just recently unemployed. Here's what we did when my husband lost his job.

While I don’t wish to discount the entire month of November — aside from a ton of paperwork, it was a pretty nice month — I can say that in the back of my mind there was a ticking time bomb counting down to November 30th (aka the day we were losing our health insurance).

With my husband being unemployed, and me being self-employed, there was no employer-sponsored health plan for us to fall back on. Add in the craze and confusion of Obamacare, and you can see why November 30th was a bit of a sore spot in our household.

With Paul being unemployed, and me being self-employed, there was no employer-sponsored health plan for us to fall back on. Click To Tweet

It also did not help that Paul’s company waited 21 days to send out our COBRA information. Of course, the delay did not end up mattering because the amount we would have had to pay to continue our coverage with them was an astounding $1,837.82 per month ($1,765.85 for medical and $71.97 for dental).


I had envisioned it costing a staggering $800 per month, so this number had me laughing in hysterics…as well as rushing to the phone to find an alternative.

Going with USAA and a PPO Major Medical Plan + a Bonus

Once again, my husband’s military benefits have helped us out. I was able to call USAA and talk with a healthcare specialist. He was extremely knowledgeable not only of his own plans, but of the Healthcare Insurance Marketplace (he was even able to estimate the cost of what we would pay on the exchange to see if we would receive a subsidy and if we wanted to do that instead of use USAA. See below.).

Psst: here's my full USAA health insurance plan review.

We’re in a good place right now with the free preventative care portion of the Affordable Healthcare Act being in effect. This is because usually with a Major Medical Plan, preventative doctor visits are not covered. But because of the new laws, we can now get preventative care costs included with our policy (such as a well woman visit). These are generally the types of appointments we have throughout the year anyway (knock on wood), so that works well for us. Here are some specifics:

  • Cost: Our cost for this plan is just $193.80 per month for both of us.
  • Deductibles: There is a $5,000 per person deductible, with an annual maximum of $10,000/per person out of our pockets for participating providers.
  • Plan Payout Cap: There is no cap on the amount the insurance company will pay out.
  • Doctor Appointments/Prescriptions/Co-Pays: There are no copays with this plan. However, the coinsurance for doctor visits and prescriptions is 50%.
  • Referrals: Written/verbal approval to see a specialist is not required for this plan.

We are allowed to keep this plan until December 2014, at which point we will have to switch to a plan that meets all of the requirements under the new healthcare system.

Can I Get Health Insurance if I Quit My Job?


Thankfully, if you leave your job for any reason, you are eligible to purchase health insurance on the marketplace during the Special Enrollment Period (meaning you don't have to wait until the normal enrollment period).

Your two choices for health insurance will either be to sign up for a marketplace plan (which you can do through USAA, even if you have no military affiliation whatesoever, just like we did!), or you can use COBRA (yes, even if you were the one who quit).

Pre-Existing Conditions

Pre-Existing Conditions will no longer be a factor in healthcare plans as of January 1, 2014. In the meantime, we submitted our Certificate of Creditable Coverage from our previous health insurance plan to show that our health insurance has not lapsed. This gives us some protections against pre-existing condition limitations in the meantime. Check this article out for more information.

Our Estimated Cost on the Health Exchange Marketplace

We were fortunate in that we did not have to attempt to log onto the new Health Insurance Marketplace website. This is because the insurance rep at USAA was able to estimate what we would pay on the exchange, and to answer any and all questions we had about whether or not USAA or a plan on the Marketplace would be better for us.

On the Marketplace, a plan would cost $508 per month for the two of us. Because of our current income, we would receive a $200 per month subsidy, so the total cost would be $308 per month.

Have you attempted to find a plan on the new Health Insurance Marketplace? How did it go?

Catch-Up On My Documented Self-Employment Journey (spoiler alert: there's a layoff, a few tears, lessons learned, financial changes, and all sorts of goodies that occurred after I pulled the plug on my 9-5):

I Have Chosen to Chance the Rapids: Taking My Writing Full-Time>>
Blogging and Writing Full-Time: Financial Changes to Come>>
Blogging and Writing Full-Time: One Month Update>>
Self-Employment Update: Six Months After Taking that Leap>>
Contingency Plan “Husband-Lost-His-Job” is in Full Swing>>
Update on the Unemployment Situation in Our Household>>
How We're Handling Health Insurance in Unemployment>>
Surviving {and Thriving} In My First Year of Self-Employment>>
What We Did to Financially Survive 5 Months of Unemployment + a Free Gift for You>>
Behind-the-Scenes of Frugal Confessions' Second Year in Business>>

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