Post-COBRA health insurance options

"On our site, you can start by taking our quick five-question eligibility quiz to help point you in the right direction for coverage options and eligibility requirements in your respective state," he says.

Matt Tassey -- a principal with Scribner Insurance in Portland, Me., and past chairman of the national nonprofit Life and Health Insurance Foundation for Education in Arlington, Va. -- says a state's insurance bureau or department is a good place to turn with questions about medical insurance options.

Check business trade groups and associations for health insurance

Many business groups, local chambers of commerce and even college alumni associations offer members medical coverage, experts say.

Trade groups can help you get discounts on health care, says Robert Laura, a registered investment adviser in the Ann Arbor, Mich., area who helps some of his clients find ways to pay for health insurance.

"Sometimes business groups can drop you into a group pool," for coverage, Laura says. "Try to get yourself in a group or discounted situation to offset health insurance prices."

Trade groups that offer health insurance typically cater to small-business owners. So, people who start a business or work as an independent contractor are more likely to be eligible for benefits, Cesarano and Tassey say.

Qualify for coverage through Medicare or Medicaid

Individuals who are at least 65 years old and not planning to return to work or who are disabled at any age (according to Social Security Administration rules and definitions) qualify for government-sponsored Medicare health benefits, Cesarano says.

Individuals with household incomes low enough to fall within federal poverty guidelines can apply for Medicaid through their respective states.

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