Medication for Unemployed! Here Are Your Options! a Guide!

Posted August 12, 2020 by Prescription Hope - See Editorial Guidelines(Last Updated On: March 14, 2023)

Paying for medications while being unemployed could be a patient’s greatest worry. During periods of economic change or uncertainty, such as during a pandemic, many can lose their jobs and become unemployed unexpectedly.

Life can be unpredictable, so it’s a common question for many to ask how to get medication for unemployed periods. In this article, we’ll give a clear understanding of all these questions and more. 

So, here’s the quick answer for you, then we’ll get into more details.

How can unemployed get coverage for medications? COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act), high deductible private health insurance, and government health insurance marketplaces are options the unemployed can opt for when it comes to medication coverage. Medicaid and Medicare are also options to choose for when unemployed individuals have other forms of income.

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Medication for Unemployed

In general, filling medications for unemployed comes with how to find coverage. Below are three choices an unemployed person can use to get one’s medication coverage.

  • High deductible private health insurance
  • Government health insurance marketplace

These three coverage routes have different features and options specified for unemployed individuals to get medication coverage. Below is a clear explanation of each of these three options and how they can help get medication for unemployed individuals. 

Medication for Unemployed

Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA)

The COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation) is an act that is passed solely for protecting unemployed individuals for their medical coverage. This act requires employers to continue the benefits of health insurance coverage for eligible employees and their dependents after an employee loses the job or experiences a reduction in the working hours. 

All employers with a count of 20 or more employees are mandated to offer the COBRA coverage for their employees. However, there are certain eligibility criteria employees will have to meet to be eligible for this. 

In general, the COBRA coverage is limited for 18 months. However, there is also this COBRA continuation coverage, which extends this period for 36 months if required conditions are met.

The COBRA health insurance coverage programs, in general, cover the costs of prescription drugs, dental treatments, and vision care. Life insurance and disability insurances are not included under COBRA. 

High-Deductible Private Health Insurance

This is a straight-up private insurance plan which can benefit medication coverage when unemployed if you have a Health Savings Account (HAS).

This is because a health savings account will help an individual with out-of-pocket costs, which is the toughest thing to manage when getting medication for unemployed periods.

When you have a health savings account, you should enroll for a health insurance plan that has a high-deductible. Having a high deductible means you will have to incur very low monthly premiums.

With very few monthly premiums, an unemployed person can get coverage for medication costs with no real burden for some time.

Government Health Insurance

If you have no options for enrolling or qualifying for a private health insurance plan, you may be able to move straight into buying a health insurance plan in the government healthcare marketplace.

The ACA (Affordable Care Act) of 2010, also known as “Obamacare,” is designed to help unemployed individuals obtain healthcare assistance.

There are two enrollment periods for this coverage. First is the open enrollment period which is usually during November and December (towards the end of a new financial year) where most job cutoffs happen.

The other enrollment time is called the “special enrollment period,” which is 60 days after you lose the employer’s health insurance coverage. 

While these are options an unemployed can opt for to incur none to very low out of pocket expenses for medications, there are some other options available that may help with costs.

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As the name says, Medicaid provides aid and assistance for certain qualified individuals. This primarily includes people with disabilities, elderly, pregnant women, children, and families who have a low income. This coverage is available for individuals who qualify in all states of the US. 

Medication for Unemployed

Although it doesn’t upright eliminate the medication cost for an unemployed person, it can still help an unemployed individual through reductions in medication expenses. This includes a reduction in monthly health insurance premiums, copayments, deductibles, and other out-of-pocket bills.

So, if an unemployed individual has a specific income through some means and wants to qualify, it has to be matched against the government’s federal poverty line (FPL). The FPL is a dollar level set by the government to sort out households eligible for benefits – including Medicaid.

For example, say the FPL is an annual income of $12,760. Then if one’s income is between 100% – 400% of that amount, then this household qualifies for tax credits that will lower the monthly health insurance plan costs.

On the other hand, if an unemployed person has an income through some means, which is higher than the FPL but is too low to afford private health insurance, then there are some other options for them as well.

The children in your household can still qualify for the children’s health insurance program (CHIP), which has enrollment open throughout the year. In 2018 alone, around 9 million children were enrolled for the CHIP program.


Medicare has a different approach to that of Medicaid. Under Medicare, the job is to provide hospital and medical care for a specific group of people who deserve it.

This includes people over the age of 65 or anyone under 65 years of age that has received social security disability benefits for more than two years.

So, if you are unemployed because of reaching the age of retirement, this could be one option for covering your medication for unemployed periods.

This program also covers individuals who go through end-stage renal disease (kidney failure) and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease).

So, if an unemployed person is suffering from one of these two diseases, then Medicare could be another reliable option to cover their medication cost.

Patient Assistance Program – Prescription Hope

When you have a low income or are unemployed but can meet specific criteria, then being able to afford expensive medications at just $60.00 per medication per month can make a huge difference when you’re struggling to bridge the gap between jobs.

It’s free to enroll with us, so it’s worth enrolling now if you find yourself in this situation. We can assist in getting you the medications you need at a more affordable cost through our patient assistance program.

Note – It’s not always possible for an unemployed individual to get medications covered without involving some cost. The best option you can do is assess the possible ways to get medication coverage and choose what option you qualify for and equates to the least out-of-pocket cost.

Tips to Get Medication for Unemployed Periods

Here are some tips and tricks that you should follow if you are unemployed and are looking for medication coverage.

  1. Start to find new coverage as soon as possible

This whole process should begin as soon as you realize you’ll be unemployed. This gives you enough time to read and assess different programs available and could even help in finding some connections or experts who could help you out through the process.

  1. Have all the important information and materials ready

This includes information like your income, total household income, social security number, tax records, pay stubs, etc. Information about any dependents in your household and your current or most recent health insurance coverage, and so on.

Medication for Unemployed

This is because most health insurance programs require these details for enrollment, and it’s good to have them handy in advance. 

  1. Keep an emergency fund

Keeping an emergency fund is a must no matter what high paying job you have. Situations like pandemics or market crashes can throw anybody into unpredictable situations.

If you have an emergency fund that you maintain and keep full, it can at least help you afford the cost of visiting doctors, routine checkups, vital medications, and other out-of-pocket costs.

Having a full emergency fund can relieve your ability to pay for insurance during the period of unemployment for at least 3-6 months.

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As always, seek the advice of relevant professionals when dealing with any of these aspects. Seeking help is not an admission of any failings on your part, it’s simply common sense.

If you are paying more than $60.00 a month for one of your medications, then it might be time to join Prescription Hope. We work with pharmaceutical companies directly to provide you with the medicine you need at a set, affordable cost. Enroll with us and start paying just $60.00 a month for each of your medications.

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