How to get affordable health insurance
What are the options available to me for affordable health insurance? If you’re asking yourself this question, it may be time to consider the many public and private health insurance options that are available.
Take your time exploring these options, so you can make an informed decision about what will work best for you and your family’s needs and budget.
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) explained
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) also known as Obamacare, is a federal law that includes provisions that expand access to affordable health care coverage.
The ACA protects consumers by requiring all of us to have at least basic essential benefits like emergency services, maternity and newborn care, hospitalization, lab work, and prescription drugs. In addition, it requires plans to meet certain standards for quality and it prohibits companies from denying coverage because of a pre-existing condition.
It’s important to know that while most people are required to have health insurance, there are some exceptions: if you’re in jail or prison; if you’re not lawfully present in the U.S.; if you qualify for Medicaid; or if your income falls below 138% of the poverty level.
If you don’t fall into one of these categories, then you may be eligible for subsidies through healthcare.gov to help pay for your plan. In order to make sure you understand how to enroll and what types of plans are available, take time to look over our guide How To Get Affordable Health Insurance.
While open enrollment for Health Insurance Marketplace coverage will close on December 15, you can still sign up after that date. However, if you enroll in a plan through your state’s marketplace after December 15, 2015, you won’t be eligible for a coverage start date of January 1, 2016. Instead, you’ll have an effective date of February 1, 2016.
You may also qualify for a Special Enrollment Period due to certain life events such as marriage or birth/adoption of a child. Check out Healthcare.gov for more information about these options and how they work. In addition, some states are extending their own Marketplace deadlines beyond December 15.
If you live in one of those states (which include Colorado, Connecticut, Idaho, Minnesota, New York, and Washington), contact your state’s marketplace directly for more details about your options during Open Enrollment.
You should also check with your employer or insurance company about other sources of low-cost coverage available to you. These sources could include grandfathered plans that were purchased before October 1, 2013, and don’t have to follow all new Affordable Care Act rules.
They might also include plans offered by employers who do not offer group health insurance but want to help their employees find coverage. You can learn more about these types of plans at HealthCare.gov.
Finally, while it is true that you cannot use federal tax credits or subsidies to purchase individual market coverage outside of Open Enrollment, there are many other ways people without access to employer-sponsored group health insurance may be able to obtain affordable care. For example, millions of people with pre-existing conditions benefit from being allowed to purchase non-group coverage without having to wait until they need medical care. Learn more about renters insurance
This includes both young adults who may want to buy non-group coverage so they can leave their parents’ plan and older adults who no longer receive COBRA continuation coverage when leaving a job where they had employer-sponsored health insurance. Some people may even qualify for Medicaid or CHIP, depending on their income level. To learn more about other options available to you, visit www.HealthCare.gov.
Buying individual plans
The most popular way for Americans to receive their health insurance is by buying an individual plan through an employer. This is true even in Obamacare’s post-Affordable Care Act world. However, what many people don’t realize is that you can also buy plans on your own, either directly from a healthcare provider or through one of several government-run websites like Healthcare.gov.
If you choose to go with a private company, there are three major types of plans: HMOs (health maintenance organizations), PPOs (preferred provider organizations), and EPOs (exclusive provider organizations). Each has its pros and cons—and each requires different levels of payment upfront. For example, PPOs allow you to use doctors outside of your network but require higher monthly payments than HMOs.
Regardless of which type of plan you choose, it’s important to do some research beforehand so that you know exactly how much coverage will cost and how much money out-of-pocket expenses will be. Most importantly, you should look into whether or not your chosen policy includes preventative care; if it doesn’t, you might want to reconsider and find a new plan.
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Remember, getting affordable health insurance means more than just finding something that meets your needs financially; it means choosing a plan that actually helps keep you healthy. Here are a few questions to ask yourself before purchasing any kind of medical insurance: Will my doctor accept these policies? What’s covered? What’s not covered? What does in-network mean? How much will I have to pay per month/year/deductible? Is there a maximum amount I can pay per year/month/visit?
Do I need to see a primary care physician first? Do I need referrals to specialists? Can I visit urgent care centers instead of going straight to a hospital? Do they cover mental health services? Are my prescriptions covered under these plans as well as visits to specialists? Are pre-existing conditions treated differently than other conditions under these plans? Are there alternative options available if I have certain conditions that may make it difficult for me to find affordable health insurance elsewhere?
Premium tax credits
Starting in 2014, some Americans will be eligible for financial assistance with buying private health coverage through new state-based marketplaces, called exchanges. Exchange shoppers can apply for tax credits if they have incomes between 100 and 400 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL), which is $11,490 to $45,960 for an individual or $23,550 to $94,200 for a family of four. Tax credits are also available on a sliding scale basis (capped at a certain percentage) based on income.
These tax credits reduce your premium payments and may help you pay for out-of-pocket costs like deductibles and copayments. In order to qualify for these subsidies, you must buy your health plan through your state’s exchange during open enrollment periods; there’s no way around it except by paying full price. If you want to purchase your own coverage outside of an exchange, such as directly from an insurer or broker, you won’t be able to receive tax credits.
You will still be able to shop for plans on exchanges even if you don’t qualify for subsidies; however, without a subsidy, it could cost more than what most people can afford. If that happens, consider using Medicaid instead—the program covers low-income individuals who don’t have access to employer-sponsored insurance.
States must expand their Medicaid programs under Obamacare, but those decisions haven’t been made yet for all states. Check Healthcare.gov for details about eligibility in your area. For example, if you earn up to 133 percent of FPL ($14,856 for an individual), you might be eligible for Medicaid.
Many young adults fall into this category because their parents’ insurance doesn’t cover them anymore and they aren’t offered insurance through work. A large number of Americans earn too much money to qualify for Medicaid but not enough to pay for full-price premiums on their own.
What it all means for you
If you’re interested in finding out how to get cheap health insurance, or are already covered and want to save money, check out these tips for saving on your monthly premiums. You might be surprised at how easy it is! From cutting down on prescriptions to switching plans during the
open enrollment, there are plenty of ways to reduce your costs without sacrificing coverage. Let’s dive into them below.
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires all individuals to have health insurance, as well as some employers with 50+ employees. Even if you’re not required by law to carry a policy, it still makes sense to do so because medical care can be expensive and even one major illness could wipe out savings that took years to accumulate. In addition, health insurance protects your assets in case of an accident or unexpected illness; if you don’t have coverage and get injured or sick, your treatment will likely come out of pocket.
That said, most people who are living paycheck-to-paycheck can’t afford to pay thousands of dollars every year for premiums and deductibles. Fortunately, there are ways to save money on your monthly premiums without sacrificing coverage! Here are six tips for getting cheap health insurance: 1. Switch plans during open enrollment If you already have health insurance through work, check to see if your employer offers other options during open enrollment.
Open enrollment is typically held once per year, around November or December. During these months, many companies allow their employees to switch from their current plan to another option at no cost.
Facts about ACA enrollment in 2018
The open enrollment period for Obamacare began on November 1 and lasts until December 15, 2017. Those who don’t enroll during that time will face a penalty for not having ACA-compliant coverage in 2018. The penalty is equal to 2.5% of your household income or $695 per adult (half that amount for children), whichever is higher.
If you qualify for an exemption from having coverage, then you won’t have to pay a fine at all. But if you don’t qualify for an exemption and most people won’t then it makes sense to purchase health insurance as soon as possible so you can avoid paying any penalties next year.
It’s important to note that while there are no specific plans available under Obamacare for 2018, there are several options available through Healthcare.gov. Here are some details about these plans: Catastrophic plans: These low-cost options aren’t subject to federal premium subsidies but do provide protection against high medical bills.
They cover three primary care visits each year before requiring payment for additional services. Bronze plans: This plan type covers 60% of costs, with consumers responsible for 40%. Silver plans: This plan type covers 70% of costs, with consumers responsible for 30%. Gold plans: This plan type covers 80% of costs, with consumers responsible for 20%. Platinum plans: This plan type covers 90% of costs, with consumers responsible for 10%.
What should I do? Whether you choose to buy an ACA-compliant plan depends on how much money you make and whether you want financial assistance. You might also consider buying a short-term health insurance policy instead of purchasing something directly through Obamacare. Short-term policies typically cost less than ACA plans because they don’t offer financial assistance; however, they only last for a limited time typically between six months and one year.
Where to get more information
The Health Insurance Marketplace is an online tool for comparing, buying, and enrolling in health insurance plans. You can learn more about where to get information about your state’s Marketplace at HealthCare.gov.
If you have questions about whether you qualify for financial assistance or what coverage options are available to you, contact your State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP). SHIPs provide free, unbiased information on all types of health insurance options.
To find your local SHIP, visit GetInsured.HealthCare.Gov. To find out if you qualify for Medicaid or CHIP, contact your state Medicaid office. Your state may also offer a plan that provides private health insurance through its own Marketplace. This type of plan is called a State Partnership Plan. You can learn more about these plans at Healthcare.gov.
And remember: When it comes to getting covered, there are no magic bullets—only realistic steps you can take right now to make sure you have access to quality, affordable care when you need it most. To help, we’ve put together some tools and resources designed to help you every step of the way.
Take our simple eligibility checker below to see if you qualify for lower costs based on your income, household size, and other factors. Or download our comprehensive guide, 10 Steps to Getting Covered—it will walk you through everything from understanding how health reform works to choosing a plan that fits your needs and budget. We’ll be here to support you along the way. Let’s get started.
Affordable health insurance is out there if you know where to look. Take some time to find a company that will work with your unique needs, and cut your budget in half. Now that’s something worth writing home about! this would be a simple 3 step guide on how to get affordable health insurance. it should have a strong call to action and link back to my website for more information. I want to keep it short, sweet, and simple.
Here are some suggestions for how you can find affordable health insurance:
Begin by shopping around for an independent agent. Independent agents usually have access to a large number of different plans, and they’re incentivized to find you a good deal. If your friends or family members use an independent agent, they might be able to give you a personal referral.
When you reach out, don’t forget to ask them if they were satisfied with their experience.
Selecting a medical plan should be simple. You’ll need to answer a few questions about your current state of health, and you’ll also need to make sure that you can afford your monthly premiums. If you’re young and healthy, it might make sense for you to go with a high-deductible plan with low premiums. On the other hand, if you have existing conditions or are older, it might make more sense for you to go with something more comprehensive.