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Finding affordable health insurance for you and your family may seem daunting if you do not qualify for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). However, there are several options for low-income families and individuals to find health care that will fit their needs.
By using tools like the Health Insurance Marketplace and private search engines, you can find inexpensive health insurance that is designed for low-income families.
While shopping for a plan that will work for you, you’ll want to consider both the long-term and short-term costs of a plan. You’ll also want to compare plans to see which coverage will cover the services you need. Read on to learn more about what you should consider when looking for cheap, affordable health insurance.
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Basic Health Insurance Considerations for Low Income Health Care
When choosing a basic health insurance plan, you will want to consider both monthly costs and deductibles. While it may be tempting to look at a plan’s monthly premium, especially if you are on a tight budget, it may be unhelpful if you or your family have specific health needs that need to be met.
For instance, if a plan has a high deductible, you will be responsible for covering the cost of your care for a longer period of time. This may be a problem if you attend doctors regularly or if you or someone in your family needs specific medical treatments.
In general, you will want to consider the following aspects when searching for affordable health insurance:
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- The monthly premium
- The deductible and copays
- Coverage features, including:
- Prescription costs
- Preventive services
- When the open enrollment period begins or when you qualify for a life event
While searching for affordable health insurance, you may want to use a search tool to help you compare coverage. You may use the federal government’s Health Insurance Marketplace or a private online search engine like eHealthinsurance.
If you fall within a certain income bracket, you may also qualify for a tax credit or subsidies through the federal government to help pay for your insurance. If you apply for insurance through the Health Insurance Marketplace, then you will automatically be able to determine what your monthly payment will be with the credit applied.
Using search engines or the health insurance marketplace are useful tools when shopping for basic health insurance. However, you may also want to consider shopping directly on insurance company websites for plans that would not otherwise be listed on search engines.
Learn About Cheap Health Insurance for Children
When searching for cheap health insurance for children, keep in mind that your children will often be eligible to enroll in your policy. Most plans allow children to stay on their parent’s policy until they are 26 years of age. However, you may also find coverage options just for your children if your plan will not allow your children to join.
Buying health insurance directly from a private insurer for your children may prove less expensive than buying insurance as an adult. Children tend to post less risk than other applicants because they generally have fewer health problems. For that reason, you may be surprised at how easy it is to find cheap health insurance for your kids.
If the cost of your child’s health insurance is a large issue and you are not concerned with having a great amount of coverage, you may also consider catastrophic coverage. These plans are designed for healthy and young individuals. They cover a limited amount of services and typically have low premiums with high deductibles. However, this may be a good option for insuring a healthy child.
Learn About Cheap Family Health Insurance
The considerations that you would make when searching for a cheap family health insurance policy are similar to those you would search for an individual plan. However, keep in mind that the number of members in your family will generally change the cost of your family’s health insurance.
Family policies cover more individuals and, therefore, cost more than individual policies. Some private insurers only increase a monthly premium for a certain number of children. For example, you may only pay for your three oldest children with some policies. Therefore, you will want to consider what your cost would be with different companies for your family.
However, you may also want to consider whether the solution to inexpensive health insurance for your family may be having separate policies. This may be particularly useful if some family members do not need extensive health coverage.
Learn About Cheap Short-Term Health Insurance Options
Short-term health insurance is typically more affordable than other insurance alternatives. Short term plans are designed to help bridge the gap between insurance policies, such as when an individual changes jobs. However, some individuals use short-term policies as a way to obtain cheap health insurance.
A short-term health insurance policy can typically cost less than $100 a month. However, keep in mind that when exploring a company’s cheap short-term health insurance plan, you will want to consider whether or not they will provide the necessary coverage for your needs.
Short-term health insurance plans do not offer the same amount of coverage as the policies on the Affordable Care Act’s Health Insurance Marketplace or through other private insurers. You may not receive the same coverage for preventive care or prescriptions as you would on a different policy.
Additionally, pre-existing conditions will not be covered, and policies only last for a limited period of time. In fact, short-term policies only last between 30 days and one year.
Learn About Cheap Health Insurance for Students
If you are a student attending college or university, you may also want to find affordable health insurance options. Many colleges and universities require students to have health insurance while they are taking classes. In general, students have three options for finding inexpensive health insurance. These include:
- Individual plans that the student seeks on his or her own.
- School-based plans that are available to all students at the university.
- Family plans that will cover the student while they are away at school.
There are certain considerations that you should account for with each cheap health insurance for students. For example, children are permitted to stay on their parents’ health insurance plans until they are 26 years of age. However, if you plan to attend school away from home, be aware that the doctors you visit may be considered out-of-network. This could result in higher copays and coinsurance costs and, therefore, a higher cost overall.
Most colleges and universities offer insurance to its students. These plans are generally more affordable than many marketplace plans. However, the price of these plans may change from year to year, which may make projecting the cost of coverage for your college career difficult. Moreover, not all schools offer comprehensive health insurance meaning that you may not receive coverage for dental, vision or other health concerns.
Finally, students may choose to search for coverage through a private insurer. Just as with other individuals shopping for insurance, you may be able to find cheap affordable health insurance options through different companies. However, you will want to compare your costs or consider using a search tool to find a plan with a low monthly premium.