Are you employed, unemployed, or a student? Finding healthcare coverage in America is one of the most frustrating tasks next to being in traffic.
That is the top American struggle. In the United States, we have a health insurance crisis. Many people cannot afford the high insurance premiums. The health insurance requirement was made into law a few years ago during the Obama Administration. The challenges many Americans have is where to look for quality health insurance with the best possible price, enrollment period for health insurance coverage, and signing up for a policy quickly. Most of us want the most affordable healthcare plan available. It is very stressful because if you don’t get any health coverage, there will be some tax penalties based on your household income.
Finding Health Insurance Plan
Finding the best health insurance plan is never easy, but it is especially difficult when you have financial limitations. Many people think insurance is simply too expensive and choose to forego coverage. Fortunately, it is still possible to find high-quality health care at low costs. It’s common to assume that the less you pay, the less coverage you receive. However, a few factors can determine what coverage is optimal and cost effective for your budget. Here are a few tips to help you find the best plan for your budget.
Define What You Need and What You Can Afford
Although this step may not apply to everyone, the big first step you can make on getting the best plan for low-cost health insurance is to know what you need and what you can afford. If you end up buying more than enough coverage, you’ll be spending needlessly. Purchase a plan within your budget without sacrificing coverages. However, under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), health insurance plans have to cover the 10 basic essential benefits, including:
Care for your baby before and after birth
Dental and vision care for your children
Devices or services to help you recover from a chronic condition or disability
Substance and mental health disorder services
Purchase The Right Plan
The ACA isn’t the only way to get affordable health care. In fact, there are a variety of options at your disposal to find the lowest cost health insurance for you and your family. Unlike the ACA, buying a plan through an insurance company can provide you with better policies, coverages, and benefits. Plus, most insurance companies will let you even apply online and review more detailed information on their plans than others. However, this approach can still be costly compared to other options, since you won’t be able to see options from other types of providers.
Use An Agent or Online Directory
If you need a guiding hand in helping you make the right choice in a plan, an insurance agent can be a great option for you. Online insurance finders are similar to insurance agents but can offer a variety of choices to suit your needs. Plus, you’ll be able to do this all online via their site, instead of needing to meet up with an agent and talk to them face-to-face. However, be sure to read the full details of each plan prior to signing up.
Compare the Cost of Each Health Insurance Plan
You can use Healthcare.gov to show you all the health insurance companies in your state, along with their premiums, as well as their federal subsidies. However, these choices depend entirely on where you are located. Now that you got the easy part over with, here comes the hard part, comparing the actual cost of the health insurance plans. To do this, first, see what your medical costs have averaged over the past years. Calculate the deductibles, co-insurance, and copayments you have spent as well. When looking through plans, keep these numbers in mind when selecting a new plan. If these numbers were particularly high, it’s important you go for a plan with lower costs. However, if it was relatively low, look for a plan that has the same coverages and costs as the one you are currently using.
Check Out Special Programs
You might qualify for government programs that provide low-cost health insurance. This includes Medicaid, Medicare, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Medicare was made for those above the age of 65 and Medicaid is for low-income individuals. CHIP provides insurance for children and sometimes their families when they do not qualify for Medicaid but still cannot pay for insurance. Requirements vary from state to state. You can research the requirements in your area online and determine if you qualify.
Stay on Your Parent’s Health Insurance Plan
If you are under the age of 26, you are allowed to remain on your parent’s health insurance plan. It does not matter if you are in school, married, or do not live in the same place as your parent, you can still be on their plan. Even if you must pay your share, this is often the most affordable option for the young. Before you join their plan, double check to make sure there are physicians in the network where you live, otherwise any savings may quickly be negated.
Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA)
Also known as COBRA, this act provides health insurance for those who previously had health insurance through a former employer. If you were laid off or simply do not work for the company that provided your health care, you may qualify for COBRA. This is a great option for those who were undergoing some sort of medical treatment when they lost their job. This means that they would be able to continue with their procedure and retain their coverage. Though this is a good option for some, it is not always the least expensive coverage option. Do your research before you decide on a COBRA plan.
Self Employed Health Insurance
Many small business owners don’t have health insurance due to the high cost. If you are self-employed, the best recommendation is to sign up for the self-employed plans. The bonus is that you can use those premiums as deductions on your taxes. Many companies will give discounts if you have more than about three employees working for your organization.
Health Insurance For College Students
If you are a college student, student health insurance is your best bet. Universities and colleges partner with various health insurance companies to give their students the best coverage for a low cost. Student health insurance one of the ways to get cheaper and best quality insurance. Student health insurance is available at a discounted, subsidized rate. This is great for foreign students studying abroad in the United States.
Have You Thought of a High Deductive Plan?
These plans are cheap and are great for young individuals under the age of 30 and in great health. These plans are available in the marketplace. Just make sure you have a health savings plan nest egg.
Private health insurance is the most preferred health insurance. The private insurances are usually very competitive and offer cost-effective rates. You can get a quote by entering your zip code. These are sold outside the marketplace.
If you are a resident of California with an income level below $30,000 annually, you may qualify for Medi-Cal. Medi-Cal is a California state coverage. How do you know if you qualify real quick? Do you have a food stamp card? There may be other states that have similar coverage that is apart from Medicaid.
Lastly, the marketplace is the place to look. If you qualify for federal subsidy programs based on situations such as low-income, you may qualify for low-cost health insurance through the marketplace.
The enrollment period for health insurance coverage
November 1 is the first day of open enrollment for 2019. You may enroll for the very first time, re-enroll, or make changes to a new health insurance plan. December 15 is the last day for open enrollment for 2019. You cannot enroll in a new plan for 2019 after December 15th unless you qualify for the special enrollment period. The special enrollment period is for specific circumstances such as pregnancy and marriage. January 1, 2019, is the beginning day of the 2019 coverage for those who have enrolled before December 15th of the previous year. These dates are usually the enrollment period for health insurance coverage every single year.
Signing up for a policy quickly
How do you sign up for a policy in a timely manner? Go to the marketplace website, www.healthcare.gov, and create an account with your email and password. You will be able to see the 2019 plan costs based on your income and circumstances. Pick the best coverage for yourself and loved ones. You may also want to go to private sector websites to do a quick quote and have the agents call you in order to make signing up for a policy quickly easy.
Another way you can sign up is by mail. Please print and mail the paper application to the designated address for faster processing. You may also apply by phone by calling Call 1-800-318-2596 to apply for a health insurance plan and enroll.
Created by health and insurance professionals, Gov Health Option provides a one-stop source for healthcare from insurance, Medicaid, Medicare, and options for children. Let Gov Health Option help you understand your health care options.