In this day and age, insurance is a necessity. However, it’s not always affordable. These high costs keep many Americans from getting the help they need. For a family of four, health insurance can cost an average of $25,000 a year. Unfortunately, this high rate promotes unhealthy practices such as putting off visits to the doctor or avoiding costly medications.
If you want to live a long, happy life, you need to know how to make smart decisions about your own health. Finding the best insurance plans isn’t always easy. Individuals today need to learn more about the health insurance buying process so they can make the right choice. Let’s dive deeper into the best health insurance plans for different needs.
Look For Low-Cost Plans
There are many low-cost options you might not be aware of. For those struggling to find coverage they can afford, these plans are a literal lifesaver. Depending on your state and your income, you might qualify for coverage under the Affordable Care Act or Medicaid. If you’re over 65, you qualify for Medicare, a federal program that makes insurance more affordable for those entering their golden years. Here’s a breakdown of the major federal programs:
- Medicaid – This federal program provides health coverage to elderly adults, disabled individuals, and low-income adults. Different programs are offered through the state and the federal government.
- Medicare – Medicare is a federal program geared specifically for those who are 65 and older. This coverage is offered regardless of income, and it is also offered to those under 65 who suffer from a severe disability.
- Affordable Care Act – The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is the official term for Medicaid and the expansion of Medicare. It offers coverage options to low-income individuals as well as those who have pre-existing conditions.
Research low-cost health insurance in your area to see if there’s a plan that works for you. Unlike “traditional” coverage, these plans aren’t offered through your employer. You also have more flexibility to choose as much or as little coverage as you need. Low-cost plans generally have limited providers, but you can receive excellent coverage without breaking the bank.
If you were buying a car, you’d search around for different prices from a variety of dealerships. Health insurance is the same situation, only it’s even more important because your health and wellness are at stake. The first place to check for cheap insurance is the Healthcare Marketplace. However, the search doesn’t have to stop there.
You can also visit health insurance providers websites directly. These websites generally have quotes you can apply for based on your medical history and family coverage needs. Finally, a local health insurance agent in your area can also assist with getting insurance quotes. This is a big decision, so give yourself enough time to explore your options before you commit to another year of insurance.
Health Insurance Plans
Now that you understand many of the federal programs available as well as the importance of shopping around, let’s discuss some of the most popular insurance plans that offer coverage at a lower cost. Besides considering your employer-offered insurance plans, here are a few other low-cost plans available in the United States.
- Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) – This coverage is available for workers who have been laid off or who have been previously covered under a group health insurance plan through an employer. This is also an option for current students. The benefit of COBRA is that you can get coverage quickly.
- Workers’ Compensation – If you were injured while working, you might qualify for your state’s workers’ compensation program.
- High Deductible Coverage – If you’re unable to afford a traditional plan, you might still consider a high deductible policy. These are also considered “emergency” policies. While they’re low-cost, they will still help if you find yourself in an emergency medical situation.
- Short-Term Coverage – Another option is short-term coverage. This can help families stay insured while looking for a long-term plan that better suits their needs.
- Group or Union Plans – If you want the affordability of employer coverage without choosing a plan through your workplace, consider a group plan or trade union plan. These are sometimes formed by professional organizations or even alumni groups, and they’re a great source for reduced price health coverage.
- Discount Cards – Finally, sometimes the best option is no coverage. If so, you can purchase a discount health membership which costs a single, annual membership fee. In exchange, you’ll receive discounts on medical services for things like medications, office visits, and exams.
As you can see, there are a lot of affordable options available today. While insurance prices are rising, you can still find a solution that works for your entire family both now and in the future. Take these decisions seriously. Your health is the most valuable thing you have.