Options For Affordable Health Insurance In 2017

No matter your state of employment, it can be difficult to find affordable health care insurance. However, the cost of going uninsured might just be more than you think. 25 percent of people lose their savings to the high costs of medical bills, making this the leading cause of bankruptcy in the United States. The Affordable Care Act now states you must pay a penalty tax for no health coverage, with the exclusion of those who fit the exemption criteria.
Here are the six most useful strategies for finding affordable health insurance.

1. Keep shopping

Through insurance companies
Insurance companies could have more policies displayed on their website than on state exchanges. Some let you compare the details of plans and other information. This might only be a good idea if you know for sure what company you want to do business with because you won't be able to compare options from other providers.

Through an agent
For those who are overwhelmed by the options, an insurance agent will help narrow the choices. 'Captive' agents show products through one company but 'independent' agents or brokers help you look through numerous insurers. Independent agents make more sense to help compare options, unless again, you're set on working with a specific company.

Through an online finder
Some insurance finders online act as independent agents, like eHealthInsurance. They'll help offer and compare plans from several companies. It's the most convenient and fast.

2. Know your stuff about Special Programs
Medicare, the Children's Health Insurance Program, Medicaid are some options that provide low cost health care that is federally subsidized for those who meet the criteria. . Medicaid is for those with low income, CHIP is meant for children and families, and Medicare is for those over 65. To find out your own eligibility, apply for health plans through your state health insurance exchange.

3. Know your facts about COBRA
COBRA, the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, allows you to remain on your employer's insurance plan for 18 months typically when you were laid off. However, it is very expensive. Studies have found that the average monthly cost of individual coverage with COBRA is higher than the mid level coverage from state marketplaces. It is beneficial if you need to have access to providers that aren't available on other plans.
4. Call your parents
The Affordable Care Act allows individuals under the age of 26 to stay on their parents' health insurance plans. You could use this option if you're married or financially independent from your parents. Except, make sure that your parents' insurer offers in network care where you live because out of network costs can add up fast.

5. High Deductible plans might be for you
If your health plan is not used very much, consider high-deductible plans that have lower monthly premiums. The ACA states you're eligible for catastrophic plans with low premiums if you are under 30, or over 30 with exemptions such as homelessness, eviction etc.
Catastrophic plans give you three primary care doctor's visits per year, coverage for prescriptions and other advantages. Until you reach the deductible of 6850, you will have to pay for any medical care outside these limits. Consider this plan if you are young and in great health, but make sure you have a way to meet the high deductible if need be.
Keep in mind the option of opening a health savings account if you do choose to go with a high deductible plan. You can keep money in an HSA tax free to help pay for the health care.

6. Short term plans
Temporary health insurance or short-term plans are the lowest cost option. It is important to know the consequences of these plans. The securities afforded by the ACA do not apply here. A short term plan provider might not cover you if you have a pre-existing condition. Because these plans don't qualify for the coverage under the ACA, you might suffer the same tax penalties as someone without any sort of health coverage. It's good to know that preventative care like physicals and immunizations won't be covered. There are a lot of limitations on these plans and experts do warn against them unless as a last resort.

Date Posted: 2017-06-15