What Can You Do If You Can’t Afford Health Insurance ?

What to Do If You Cant Afford Health Insurance 1

Health insurance is a basic necessity, but necessities in life don’t always come at a low cost. Luckily – while health insurance plans can be quite expensive, there are various avenues an individual can take to insure themselves without having to spend money that they can’t afford to spend.

Low-Cost Health Insurance Options

If you’re one of those who can’t afford healthcare, it’s good to know that when you can’t afford to pay for a premium plan, there are options that could help.

Having one or more affordable health insurance plans can help you cover both your family and your own medical expenses.

Medicaid

This is a federal program in the United States that helps to pay for citizens’ medical costs based on their income. It is designed to help pay medical bills for low-income families, people with disabilities (unable to work), and pregnant women, children, and the elderly.

Eligibility and enrollment for Medicaid vary from state to state; however, the deadline to enroll is consistent nationwide. You can apply for Medicaid during the open enrollment period from November to December. If this deadline has been missed, a person can only qualify for Medicaid by proving special circumstances. These include:

  • A loss in coverage
  • A change in household size (pregnancy) 
  • Moving to another state.

Group Plans

An employee usually offers these types of insurances. Generally, when an employer is able to insure a group of people – the price of coverage per person is lower, and the employer can cover most of the cost for the employee’s premiums.

While the benefits offered through group plans are great and low cost for the employee – oftentimes, it can become expensive to add family members onto these plans, as employers may not cover any of the monthly premiums for the family members. 

If this is the case, private health insurance can often be a less expensive route to insuring a family, helping to bring down monthly costs by keeping the employee on the group plan and covering everyone else in the family separately.

Catastrophic Coverage

Catastrophic Health Insurances can be purchased through private health care companies and are designed to keep your monthly costs low – in return for little coverage. This option for health care is only ideal for the average person who does not need to visit a doctor frequently and does not intend to.

In case of an emergency, catastrophic health insurance companies often don’t provide much coverage, leaving you at risk of paying a large sum of money out of pocket in the worst-case scenario.

Off-Exchange 

Off-Exchange Health Insurance plans are private healthcare companies that are able to offer competitive pricing to the ACA by qualifying individuals for the plans based on health rather than income. This is because insuring individuals with minor to no health conditions is much lower than insuring someone with major medical conditions or someone who may be prone to accidents. Off-Exchange plans are often sold by independent brokers or directly from private health insurance companies.

Short Term

Short Term Health insurances are limited benefit plans designed to help keep you covered for temporary situations. If you’ve missed the deadline for the open enrollment period and need government financial assistance, these plans can be used until a more comprehensive option is available.

The monthly costs of short term plans are low because the benefits are limited in case of emergencies. However, they work well for prescriptions, and doctor visits unrelated to any pre-existing condition.

Health Share Plans

Health share plans are called plans – rather than insurance – because they don’t function as full coverage health insurance. It is a pool of funding created by an organization (i.e., Churches/other religious institutions) to help members of a community who cannot afford health insurance premiums.

Health share plans can be a huge help to people in need; however, with any situation where there is a pool of funding shared between people, there are limited benefits. Oftentimes, there are insufficient funds, and so health share plans have the option to deny claims on a case by case basis. So there is no guarantee that your medical expenses will be covered in an emergency situation.

With such beneficial systems such as Medicaid in place, there is really no reason to go without quality health care. However, everyone’s experience with finances differs on a situational basis. There are countless options to protect yourself, your families, and your business – but determining which method of insurance is best for you may not always be easy. Rather than leave yourself at risk – speak to a licensed health care advisor, never be afraid to ASK the Art of Insurance

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