East Texas Recession Survival Guide: Unemployment and Healthcare

Two of the biggest challenges facing President Obama are unemployment and health care. The fact is, they're related. If you lose your job, you're likely to lose your health care along with it, and that makes for a bleak prognosis. What can you do?

While jobless numbers continue to spike, the overall health of the nation is at stake, literally.

"If you don't go the doctor, a little problem can mushroom into a big problem and become very expensive and your overall health is worse if you don't have insurance," said Troy Oechsner, Deputy Superintendent for Health New York State.

More than 11 million Americans have not only lost their jobs, but their health insurance.

"I understand putting bread on the table or paying your mortgage if you have to make those are tough choices," said Oechsner. "Having said that if you do take the gamble and you lose you end up in the hospital with a big bill it could end up being devastating."

What are your options?

"You basically have two options you can either pay for it yourself or qualify for a public program," said Oechsner.

Cobra is one option, but it can be costly and qualifying depends on your previous insurance status.

"Under that program you are allowed to continue on with your employers coverage but you pay the full premium instead of your employer," explained Oechsner.

You can also purchase non-group coverage directly.

"If you are going to go out and buy insurance on your own it's going to be expensive," said Oechsner.

There is a chance you can qualify for public coverage through Medicaid or the state children's health insurance program or s-chip.

"If you meet the income qualifications it's a very good rich set of benefits very low or no co-payments of deductibles," said Oechsner.

Income eligibility thresholds for children typically allow most low-income children to qualify for public coverage. Earlier this month, the President laid out an economic stimulus plan that positions health care as a cornerstone of financial growth and recovery.

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