Affordable health insurance is not easy to find. The self-employed want it, the unemployed need it, and those covered under healthcare are always looking to bring down these costs. There’s competition and information can sometimes be scarce, not to mention inaccurate.
Cheap health insurance is out there and you can avail it, if you know where to look for it. The issue is in qualifying for affordable insurance. Going uninsured is an option, but there are costs attached. Read on to learn about how to get the best deal on health insurance.
The Risks with Being Uninsured
Research shows that there is a 20% chance of you ending up in the ER between the age 25 – 44 years. Each visit can set you back by around $1,500. Surgery can cost thousands of dollars. If you think you can absorb these costs, then feel free to save on the costs of premiums. However, nearly 25% of the uninsured can lose all their savings in footing medical bills. In fact, these medical bills remain the number one cause of bankruptcy in America.
Also, remaining uninsured is no longer an option as stipulated by the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Unless you can prove that you fulfill exemption criteria, staying uninsured can attract stiff penalties.
8 Ideas for Cheap Health Insurance
Policy vendors cannot charge different rates for the same health policies. Thus, it is important that you compare rates for the plans you believe are the best fit for your needs. A cheap plan will usually offer less security. It is for you to decide if the policy offers you appropriate cover given your health and future risks.
1. Check out insurance companies by visiting their websites. You can compare with other plans and also apply directly from the website. You won’t be able to compare plans by other providers. If you’re sure about working with a provider, then this route is a good idea.
2. Approach an agent. An agent, not captive to a particular business, will be able to provide you with information and insight, and help you compare products.
3. Research online on insurance comparison sites. You only need to answer a few questions in order to be shown the most relevant policies for your needs. Online insurance comparison sites offer the advantage of convenience. You can chat with customer care or call them up…basically get information without stepping out of your house.
4. Check your eligibility for special programs, such as Medicare, Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program. If you qualify, you will be able to avail low-cost healthcare subsidized by the federal government. You can apply via the state health insurance exchange.
5. The The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) that lets laid off personnel continue with the employer’s insurance plan for up to 18 months is an expensive proposition. The average monthly cost of cover under COBRA is $490. It may make sense to continue via COBRA only under certain conditions, such as when you know that you will be facing medical expenses in the near future or when the providers under COBRA are not available otherwise.
6. Individuals under 26 years can use their parents’ health insurance plans. It’s a cheap money-saving option if you qualify. This option is open to married and financially independent individuals. It will work further to your advantage if the insurance company has a network of care providers that you can go to.
7. A high-deductible plan is the old-fashioned way to go about saving on insurance costs. A high deductible means lower premiums. The ACA allows individuals under 30 to apply for catastrophic plans and over 30, one can qualify for hardship exemption. If you’re young and in good health, this plan can save you money, but this is a punt that could cost you a lot of money. If you are looking up plans through the state marketplace, then check for catastrophic plans that offer the maximum cover. Open a health savings account where you can save money, tax free. You can use this money to help you pay for the deductibles with a catastrophic plan.
8. Short-term plans may save you money, but the cover offered is very limited. You may get temporary health insurance for as little as $50/month. These plans are not protected by the ACA. Plan renewal is difficult and pre-existing conditions may not be covered. You are also liable for the same fines that you would pay for not having any kind of health cover.