According to the Washington Post, in 2017 over 12 million lacked an insurance cover, and for every 800 people without it, one will die. These statistics suggest that in 2017 almost 4000 uninsured people may have died due to lack of healthcare insurance.
For a country to make positive strides both socially and economically, health care must be considered a paramount factor. With the idea of repealing Obamacare still fresh in our minds, the number of adults without an insurance cover has skyrocketed to 12.2 million people, and it is expected to rise by the end of the year. To avoid a healthcare catastrophe, here are some tips to help you find an Affordable Health Insurance option.
Factoring Your Circumstances
Before you start your new search for affordable health insurance, you must evaluate you and your family’s (if applicable) current health and financial status plus any foreseeable circumstances that could happen in the near future. The means considering the likelihood of needing medical attention and the risks in the event you need medical attention.
Some Factors To Consider:
- Any physical/mental conditions or disabilities you or a member of your family has. Including dental and vision needs.
- How often you need to see a doctor throughout the year.
- What prescription medications you need to take regularly.
- How much you can pay out-of-pocket in the event of a medical emergency (i.e. how much money you have saved for an emergency)
- Whether you or your family can handle a loss of income in the event someone is unable to work to provide income.
If you have certain medical needs that require regular medical services, special testing, and medication, then you would not want a health insurance plan that carries a high deductible with a low premium. This could cost you more money over time and put you or your entire family at high risk of getting into Medical debt. If you have low savings, and hospitalization causes you to miss work to provide income for yourself and family.
Low Premium & High Deductible Circumstances (A)
- You have no health conditions in your family
- You take one prescription medication regularly
- You have a low risk of you being hospitalized
- You only visit your physician biannually OR visit a specialist such as a psychiatrist regularly to maintain your health.
Higher Premium & Low Deductible Circumstances (B)
- You or someone in your family has a health condition that needs consistent attention from a doctor.
- You require multiple types of prescription medication to main your well being.
- You need to visit a physician or specialist as often as every 3 months.
- Your risk of being hospitalized is high OR
- You do not want to pay high deductibles in an emergency.
Have a High Deductible To Reduce Premiums
A high deductible is one of the most straightforward ways to get a lower premium. Just like with a simple loan from a bank, the more money you put down in the beginning (aka the deductible) the less you will have to pay every month (aka the premium). This option is best if you’ve determined that the former circumstance (A) listed above fits your situation. With a higher deductible, you save anywhere from 10-30% on your monthly premium depending on how high you set your deductible to be. Keep in mind that the deductible how much money you pay before health insurance provider starts to pay.
Raise Coinsurance and Co-Pays To Reduce Premiums
A similar method to having a high deductible. This means you will be paying more out of your wallet after you reach your deductible or every time you visit a doctor or purchase prescription drugs. You may have the option to eliminate prescription medication coverage to further reduce your monthly premium if you don’t take any expensive prescription medication. Again this option works best in the former circumstance (A) above, but it’s always important to maintain a proper balance with your coinsurance and copay so you’re not under-insured. Even though a sickness or trip to the hospital may not be entirely likely for you, it is still possible and insurance is design to cover this.
Get Insurance Through Your State’s Health Insurance Marketplace
With the healthcare reform in place, the Government Health Insurance is where you can shop around for health insurance and enroll health insurance at a potentially lower cost through subsidies or available specialized lower premiums based on what you qualify for. Not everyone will qualify, mostly because a household makes too much money. The marketplace is the only place you can apply for a major but subsidized health insurance policy with federal cost assistance. This will allow you to shop for insurance plans, comparing all cost to see what best suits your medical needs based on your financial position. This is best for both instances above. However, you can only enroll once per year.
Health Savings Account
A health savings account (HSA) is for those enrolled in High Deductible Health Insurance plans. In order to qualify, you must have a high deductible insurance plan as defined by the government. With an HSA you contribute money from your pretax dollars to it from your payroll or through your taxes every year. How much you contribute is limited by the government which results in affordable deductions from your payroll check or taxes. An HSA will help cover costs that your insurance does not pay, including deductibles, coinsurance, and co-pays. It does not cover your premiums every month. This is ideal if you fall into the latter category (B) above but need to reduce your monthly premiums by having a high deductible.
COBRA is short for consolidated omnibus budget reconciliation act. This act stipulates that if you are unemployed, lose your job or have your hours reduced. Then you are eligible to continue benefiting from your previous employer’s health insurance coverage. In case you are a student cobra will still cover you under your parent’s plan. It is noteworthy though that this is not the most affordable cover, it will serve you well if you are transitioning between jobs or experiencing a financial hiccup.
This is a joint program between the state and the federal government, and it seeks to benefit low-income earners. Unlike Medicare, it offers extra services such as nursing care and personal nursing services. Each state has several rules that may lack in another state, so keep watch of any changes.
Catastrophic Insurance Plans
Under the affordable care act, a person is eligible for an insurance cover under low premiums if he or she is below 30 years. It also covers individuals who are above 30 years and are exempted through the hardship plan. Also, through the hardship plan, you are guaranteed three doctor visits yearly. Additionally, you are entitled to drug prescriptions and other essential programs. Healthcare experts suggest that this cover is meant for people who are young and have an impeccable health record. Otherwise, this cheap cover may blow up in your face if you need insurance cover for a condition that is not included.
Workers’ Compensation Program
Most people have never heard of this plan. Under this cover, employers are required to cover their employees for injuries that have occurred while working.
According to healthcare.gov – a platform where you find Health Insurance Information, marketplace treatment plans covers people who have pre-existing conditions. This means that under no circumstance should any insurance company reject you, overcharge you or fail to pay any health benefits for your pre-existing condition.
If you have explored all insurance covers and none has impressed you, then try out health care discount. Yea, it is not an insurance cover, but it may help when push comes to shove. Under the discount card, you are required to pay a small monthly fee so that if you decide to visit a hospital or a doctor, then you will benefit from a discounted price. As you benefit from this option, continue scouring the internet and healthcare.gov for affordable healthcare options.
Under the healthcare.gov platform, you will find Health Insurance Information listed there along with their expenses and subsidies from the federal government that you can benefit from. The choices you receive will depend on your location. The plans are grouped as platinum, gold, silver, and bronze. Under the bronze category – a Cheap Health Insurance plan; the cover will pay 60 percent of all your medical costs while under the platinum plans, 90 percent of all medical expenses will be covered. Before picking the Cheap Health Insurance cover, you need to research a bit. It might be the cheapest but you can end up paying more than you estimated, so look at your healthcare cost for the past four years and estimate which plan will best cover you.
Check if You Qualify for Special Programs
The federal government has initiated several healthcare plans –Medicaid, and children health insurance program. Under these programs, individuals qualify for subsidized plans. Medicare covers individuals below the age of 65 years while Medicaid covers individuals who are low-income earners. Chip covers children, and in rare cases families that neither qualify for Medicaid nor can afford to purchase a healthcare plan.
Family Cover if You are Less Than 26 years
In case you are under the age of 26 the affordable care act allows you to remain under the care of your parents’ insurance plan. The good thing about this plan is that even if you get married, you can still use it. It is noteworthy though to confirm whether your parents’ insurer covers your regular network care providers. New network care providers can have you pay more costs, hence obliterating your savings.
Temporary Healthcare Plans
In most cases, short-term health care plans are the cheapest with rates as low as $50 a month. They are the best choice if you are considering options outside of open enrolments. Though, before settling for them, it is important to note that they have several disadvantages. In case you have a pre-existing condition, this plan won’t insure you. Furthermore, since the program is not recognized as an adequate insurance cover, you will be expected to pay a hefty fine that other uninsured individuals pay.
Determining Your Circumstances
With the factors taken into consideration, you can determine what kind of health insurance would be best suited for you. A low monthly premium is all you need to have coverage for an emergency that is unlikely to happen. Or if paying a higher premium with low/no deductible coverage is more ideal.