Episode 4: I Was Laid Off – How Do I Get Health Insurance?

Published: June 18, 2020 | Updated on: October 21, 2020

Thank you for joining me for Episode 4 of my NEW Money Wisdom Question Series, where I film answers to common financial and retirement investment questions in 2 minutes or less. Today I want to talk about getting health insurance when you have been laid off.

We are getting a lot of questions here at Johnson Brunetti about people that have been laid off or are taking early retirement packages and they don’t know what to do about health insurance. I want to give you a couple of basics here.


First of all, check with your former employer. You may have something called Cobra. You probably do if you’re involved in their group health insurance coverage. This allows you to continue that coverage at a cost for up to 18 months. Actually, it’s 36 months if it’s because somebody you are dependent on – a spouse, for instance, was getting that coverage through their work. You might be able to get coverage through that employer under Cobra for 36 months. Sometimes that can be more expensive than buying through the government exchanges.

Affordable Care Act

When the Affordable Care Act – some people call it Obamacare – was passed, we now have the opportunity to buy through an exchange with no preexisting exclusions for preexisting conditions. What that means is your premium is based on your income and obviously, if your income drops your premium might be very inexpensive or in some cases, free.

In Conclusion…

So, check out Cobra with your former employer. If that doesn’t make any sense or if it’s too expensive, check out the exchanges and go to healthcare.gov or in your particular state. Just type in health care exchange in your state and you might have that coverage.

Thanks for joining me and I hope you found this information helpful!

P.S. If you enjoyed this topic and you want to hear more, you’ll love this Forbes Blog I wrote where I talk about the same subject, in more detail.

P.P.S. Feel free to submit questions here for a chance to have them answered!