Ask the Health Insurance Expert
QWill Obamacare provide me with health insurance coverage if I lose my job?
Obamacare, a nickname for the Affordable Care Act, doesn't provide free health insurance coverage. But a number of measures in the law are designed to make it easier for people to qualify for and pay for health insurance.
But first, let's consider another landmark federal law, the Consolidated Omnibus Reconciliation Act (COBRA). This law, passed in 1986, lets families continue coverage through employer-sponsored health plans after loss of a job, death or divorce. So if you lost your job, you could continue coverage under your employer's health plan by electing COBRA continuation coverage. The downside of COBRA coverage is its cost. The employer no longer foots the bill for any of the premium; you pay the entire tab.
Another option if you lost your job would be to shop for an individual health insurance plan. Today it's tough to find affordable individual health insurance if you have a health condition. But starting in 2014, health insurance companies will not be allowed to deny coverage or charge higher premiums for people with health conditions.
To help people afford coverage, the federal government in 2014 will start providing subsidies for those who meet certain income requirements. The law also calls for expanding the eligibility requirements for Medicaid, the federal and state health insurance program.
For more, see New coalition wants to find you health insurance.