How to keep your medical insurance in case of laid-off in Alaska

If you live in Alaska, there is a lot of information to consider to keep your medical insurance in case of laid-off, like your previous work-hours and benefits.

Currently, the health and economic emergency derived from the coronavirus has thousands of people in quarantine and at risk of unemployment. Therefore, there is a concern about not having access to health services.

So, if you have been laid-off and want to know how to ensure medical care, keep reading.

File for unemployment benefits

If your work hours were reduced, or you lost your job, you may be able to file for unemployment benefits. Remember that after you apply, you must continue to enter your weekly certifications until you return to work full time.

Also, if you had the AlaskaCare plan when the laid-off began, you will have the opportunity to choose the plan again once you return to work.

On the other hand, people in Alaska can file for unemployment if they have been legally working for an employer that pays taxes on unemployment insurance; because that means that the employer has been contributing to a state pool of money, which is specifically to pay for unemployment benefits.

If you were paid in cash and have not paid taxes, then you cannot file for unemployment. And, in most states, undocumented workers cannot receive this benefit either.


 To understand this process better, we recommend you to read: How to apply for unemployment benefits in Alaska?

Applying for COBRA

There are several alternatives to keep your medical insurance in case you get laid-off in Alaska. If you lose your job, the government offers various programs and benefits to help you. At you can find helpful resources about unemployment insurance benefits, job training, and job search.

If you do not have health coverage at the time of unemployment, you can apply to get COBRA coverage.

The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) allows you to keep the group health plan or health insurance that you received while you were employed.

However, keep the following in mind:

  • Choose coverage that is equal to or less than the coverage that you had before.
  • You can only apply for the same type of plan you had before laid-off.

For more information about COBRA, you can check the Department of Labor official website.

US department of labor - COBRA

Am I eligible for COBRA?

There are three basic requirements you must meet to qualify for COBRA:

  • The group plan (or health insurance offered by your employer) must be covered by COBRA.
  • A qualifying event must occur; for example: voluntary or involuntary loss of job, reduction in hours worked, a transition between jobs, death, or divorce.
  • You must be a qualified beneficiary.

In case you are qualified, you will have at least 60 days to decide if you want to choose it or not.