No job, no insurance — where to go

How can I get health insurance if I have no job?  What are the penalties and fees for not having insurance?  And when is the next time I can apply?


Dear Newbie,

If you do not have a job and want health insurance, you would go to the Health Insurance Marketplace and navigate to your state’s insurance exchange.  There, you can apply for health insurance and for subsidies to help you pay for it.  Unless you just recently lost your job and your health insurance, you have to wait until the next open enrollment.  This year, open enrollment starts November 15; you can sign up then for a plan that will start covering you January 1, 2015.

Penalty fees (or taxes) apply if you have no health insurance and you do not qualify for any of the exceptions.  See the list of exemptions on’s site.  If you are not required to have health insurance, make sure you follow the instructions on applying for an exemption.  Different exemptions have different forms and processes.

Good luck!

Linda Riddell

About Linda Riddell

A published author and health policy analyst with 25 years’ experience, Linda Riddell's goal is to alleviate the widespread ailment of not knowing what your health plan can do for you.