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Where Can I Purchase Affordable Health Insurance

Finding A Private Health Insurance Plan

How to find cheap or low cost health insurance. Should I buy health insurance?

Finding the best health insurance can feel like a process. At Benzinga, we want to help you make smart decisions about your insurance. Our simple online quote engine connects you with multiple insurance providers so you can choose a plan that works for you. All you need to do is enter your ZIP code and click Get Quote.

As you review plans, keep your priorities in mind. If you have a doctor you like, look for a plan that has your doctor in-network. If you take prescriptions, find out whether your prescriptions are covered. If you want low premiums, keep an eye on the deductible to make sure you dont end up with unexpected out-of-pocket costs.

Choosing an insurance plan is a balancing act. You want it to fit your budget and your health needs. You want good service and convenient care. Look for a plan that fits your lifestyle, and dont hesitate to ask questions along the way.

I Am Enrolled In A Va Health Care Program Would I Be Eligible For Assistance To Pay Health Insurance Premiums On The Marketplace If I Choose To Purchase Health Care Outside Of Va

Since VA care meets the standard for health care coverage, you wouldnt be eligible for assistance to lower your cost of health insurance premiums if you chose to purchase additional health care coverage outside of VA. However, you may still purchase private health insurance on or off the Marketplace to complement your VA health care coverage.

Tip #: Overwhelmed By The Options To Help You Choose Think About What’s Predictable About Your Health

If you’re basically healthy and picking from one or two plan options through your job, the choice may be pretty simple. You might just ask your coworkers what they like, sign up through an online benefits portal, and call it a day.

If you’re shopping in the Affordable Care Act marketplaces, however, the number of choices can feel overwhelming at first. In Austin, Texas, “we had 76 plans to review with clients,” says Aaron DeLaO, director of health initiatives with Foundation Communities.

Even with dozens of options, you can narrow things down with some basic questions, DeLaO says. First, ask yourself: “Do you want insurance for that catastrophic event that might happen, or do you know you have a health issue now that you’re going to need ongoing care for?”

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How To Shop For Health Insurance

Note: Some parts of the Affordable Care Act are being changed or eliminated via government policies and laws. It is likely that some of the rules and regulations affecting the health insurance marketplace will continue to change over time. To stay up to date on Obamacare and other health insurance issues, visit healthcare.gov and the website of the health commissioner’s office in your state.

In America today, we all need health insurance. You do. Your kids do. It’s not a “nice to have” anymore it’s a “must-have.” And that’s the law. In most cases, parents who aren’t covered by health insurance might have to pay a fine each year. Going without also means that if someone gets sick or is injured, a family might have to pay all the bills for care received. That can cost a whole lot more than paying for coverage.

To help people get health insurance, the federal and state governments set up a health insurance marketplace . This makes it easier than ever to get coverage, but the process can seem a bit confusing.

Here’s what to do to get health insurance.

Premium Tax Credits Provide More Targeted Assistance Than Reinsurance

buying individual health insurance guide

A commonly discussed alternative approach to making coverage more affordable for middle-income people is a reinsurance program, which would reimburse insurers for some of the costs associated with high-cost enrollees.

Like eliminating the income cap on premium tax credits, establishing a federal reinsurance program, or providing federal funding for state reinsurance programs, would reduce premiums for consumers by investing additional federal dollars. Also like extending premium tax credits, reinsurance would provide help almost exclusively to people who arent currently eligible for subsidies.

But as a way of directing help to these consumers, reinsurance has two significant disadvantages compared to extending tax credits.

First, the assistance it provides is significantly less targeted. Where extending premium tax credits would guarantee all consumers at least one coverage option that costs less than 10 percent of their incomes, a similar-cost, permanent federal reinsurance program would reduce premiums by about 25 percent across the board. That means:

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How To Determine The Amount Of International Health Coverage In The United States You Need

There are several factors to consider when choosing health insurance in the USA. Here are some of the most important ones to remember:

  • How long will you be staying in the country?
  • Do you have any underlying medical condition?
  • How comfortable are you in paying above the maximum coverage amount when needed?
  • How much can you allocate per month for coverage?
  • What is the nature of your work in the US as an expatriate?

You may also consider how easy it will be for you to return home in case you need additional services. This is necessary if you have a serious medical condition wherein you need to be repatriated in case of an emergency.

If you will not be staying for a long time in the US, say only for a few months to a year, and you have free insurance in your home country, you may be able to get a lower maximum coverage amount.

Sometimes, your job will require you to stay for a minimum number of years, depending on what is stated in the contract. In this case, you will probably be required to stay in the US for medical treatment, whenever you seek a healthcare service. This will impact the cost of your health insurance in America as you will possibly pay a higher maximum coverage amount.

Need help? Read: A guide on choosing an international plan that will help you understand which type of plan to purchase. We offer short-term Travel Medical and long term Global Medical plans.

The Upside Of Obtaining Health Insurance Through An Employer

We like several features of obtaining our insurance through an employer. Insurance is affordable and we have a fixed cost, regardless of our income.

We are also able to control our downside risk in a worst case scenario. This is ultimately the purpose of having any insurance. Suffering a major injury or illness without adequate insurance would cause serious financial hardship for all but the most wealthy.

Having seen worst case scenarios hit close to home, I know it is not difficult to accumulate massive expenses with serious and/or chronic conditions.

Recommended Reading: How To Understand Health Insurance Plans

Tip #: Get Trustworthy Professional Help For Free

Still feeling overwhelmed with all the ACA choices? You’re in luck. There is free, impartial professional help available to help you choose and enroll in a plan. Just put in your zip code at Healthcare.gov/localhelp and look for an “assister” a person also referred to as a health care navigator on some state websites.”

Aaron DeLaO is one such navigator, and notes that he and his fellow guides don’t work on commission they’re paid by the government. “We’re not contracted with insurance agencies,” he says. “We do it completely autonomously, impartially. It’s about what’s best for the consumer.”

In 2021, the Biden administration quadrupled the number of navigators ahead of open enrollment.

Insurance brokers can be helpful, too, says Corlette. “Brokers do get commissions, but in my experience, the good brokers want repeat customers and that means happy customers,” she says. To find a good broker, she advises, “go through either Healthcare.gov or your local state department of insurance to find somebody that’s licensed and in good standing.”

Are Your Providers In Network

When can I buy individual health insurance?

Check the health plan’s network to make sure it has a good selection of hospitals, doctors and specialists. Look for your providers in the plans network.

This is especially true if you get an HMO. HMOs have a restricted network and wont pay for the care you receive outside of the network.

If you get a PPO, youll likely be able to get out-of-network care, but it can come at a higher price tag.

Read Also: Do Employers Pay For Health Insurance

Where Can I Buy Private Health Insurance

A good place to start looking for coverage is the Health Insurance Marketplace created in 2014 by the Affordable Care Act . On the marketplace for your state, you can look through the details of private health insurance plans, and compare the cost and benefits of each. If your state does not have its own marketplace, use Healthcare.gov.

Buying An Aca Plan On The Open Marketplace

Buying insurance through healthcare.gov guarantees access to health insurance similar to what we always had available through our employers.

There is a lot I dont like about our current healthcare system. That said, I find comfort in familiarity.

An ACA compliant plan allows us to have contractually binding health insurance that protects us in a worst case scenario. The issue is determining whether it is a good value proposition.

Using the Kaiser Family Foundations Health Insurance Marketplace Calculator allows you to get a close approximation to what health insurance would cost based on income, age, geographic location, family size and whether or not you are a smoker.

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How To Apply For A Plan

Applying for an insurance plan through the health care marketplace can be done online through healthcare.gov or a state site, over the phone, or through regular mail by filling out a form that can be mailed to you or downloaded from the Internet.

Before you fill out an online application, you’ll need to create an account on either healthcare.gov or your state’s marketplace.

You’ll need to know a few things about each person applying for coverage. Be ready to provide:

  • Social Security numbers
  • information about employers and income
  • policy numbers for any current health insurance plans

If you have a job that offers health insurance but you’re not happy with it, you can choose to get coverage through healthcare.gov instead. But before you apply, you’ll need to fill out a form called an Employer Coverage Tool that can be found on the healthcare.gov website.

The application will ask for standard information like your name, your child’s name, your address, phone number, and email. You’ll need to answer questions about citizenship, dependents, and whether you plan to file a federal income tax return the following year.

If you want help paying for insurance, you will have to provide information about your yearly income . This includes income from jobs and other sources like:

  • Social Security
  • property rental
  • alimony

If you pay alimony or interest on student loans, you can deduct the amount you pay when you fill out your application.

Aca Premiums Were In Line With Employer Premiums Prior To Trump Actions

Affordable Care Act: Health Insurance Exchanges (4)

Discussions about affordability challenges for middle-income individual market consumers often start from the assumption that premiums in the ACA individual market are far higher than in other health insurance markets due to severe adverse selection. This impression was reinforced by large premium increases in 2017 .

But in fact, as of 2017 after these premium increases ACA individual market premiums were roughly in line with premiums for employer coverage with similar out-of-pocket costs , a reasonable proxy for the cost of providing private coverage to a broad cross-section of the population. For example, about 60 percent of ACA marketplace consumers lived in states where benchmark premiums for ACA coverage were below or equal to employer premiums, and another 17 percent lived in states where they were no more than 10 percent higher, according to an Urban Institute analysis. Individual market plans often have narrower networks than employer plans, which lowers prices, and so similar premiums indicate that the individual market risk pool was likely modestly weaker, on average. But the data contradict claims that healthy people have largely exited the ACA marketplaces or that the structure of the ACA inherently leads to very high premiums.

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Best For Availability: Cigna

Some insurance companies can be a challenge to contact. They might only be available during business hours, which is when most of us work.

Cigna is available 24/7, which makes it easy to talk to someone when you need to. It also offers a user-friendly mobile app so that you can access your insurance info on the go. Cigna offers affordable copays and low-cost preventive care.

Cheap Health Insurance For Students

Students often have additional health insurance options. Many universities and colleges provide free health insurance to students through a school-sponsored plan. These policies typically provide health insurance for most on-campus medical services, but you may lose the coverage if you become a part-time student or transfer schools.

Another option for some students is to purchase a student health plan. These health insurance policies are designed for full-time students between the ages of 17 and 29. Plans can be bought through most large health insurance companies and are paid either by an annual or semiannual premium. A student health plan can be a great cheap medical insurance option because you will not lose your coverage if you decide to transfer to a different school.

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Types Of Marketplace Health Plans

Here are the health plan categories in the ACA marketplace, going from those with the least to most expensive premiums:

Type of plan
90%10%

Bronze plans have the lowest premiums, but the most out-of-pocket costs when you use health care service. Platinum has the highest premiums, but lowest out-of-pocket costs.

Keep in mind these are general categories. The projected out-of-pocket costs are averages. Plans in the same metal category might achieve the cost split in different ways. Two Bronze plans, for instance, might have different deductibles and co-insurance levels. However, their overall out-of-pocket costs are about the same.

Plans in the same metal level might also be structured differently. One Bronze plan might be a health maintenance organization, and another might be a preferred provider organization. Depending on the type of plan, you might have free access to any provider in your network or you might need to get a referral from a primary care physician.

Nearly half of individual health plans are health maintenance organization plans. Exclusive provider organization plans make up one-third of individual plans. PPOs, which are the most common type of plan in the employer-sponsored market, only make up a small portion individual plans, according to eHealth.

Here are the average monthly premiums for individual and family coverage by metal level, according to eHealth:

Metal level
$732$1,610

How Much Should You Spend On Health Insurance

How To Buy Individual Health Insurance

Health insurance helps pay for medical expenses. But it isnât free. Thatâs why itâs important to know how much you can afford to spend on health insurance on an annual basis.

The first cost in health insurance is the premium. For 2021,if you are the only person in your household and make less than $51,040 per year and don’t have health insurance through your employer, you may qualify for federal subsidies, like the premium tax credit to help you pay the monthly premium.

If you don’t qualify for a subsidy, you should aim to spend under 5% of your annual gross income on health insurance premiums. That’s how much consumers spend, on average, on health insurance premiums according to the government’s Consumer Expenditure Survey.

Five percent is also below the government’s “affordability threshold” or âpremium capâ of 9.78%. This is the max amount of your income that the government thinks you should have to spend towards health. For 2020, the government considers your health care to be affordable if you spend less than 9.78% of your household income on the insurance premiums.

By aiming to spend only up to 5% of your income on the premiums, you can budget more of your money for other expenses related to your health care. Check out your health insurance options here.

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When Can I Purchase Cheap Health Coverage

Health insurance coverage can be purchased by anyone during the annual open enrollment period . During this period you can access your state or federal health insurance marketplace and shop around for coverage from a variety of providers. If you need coverage outside of this time, then you may qualify for a special enrollment period which allows you to still buy coverage. However, qualification usually only occurs if you have lost a job, had a child or recently gotten married.

What Types Of Coverage Exist

Health insurance coverage comes in three major types: employer-sponsored health insurance , individual or private plans and Medicare/Medicaid. In the last decade, the number of private employers offering employer-sponsored insurance decreased significantly, from 61.6% in 2008 to 47.3% in 2018, according to the Agency for Healthcare and Research Policy. In 2010, President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law, which made private health insurance significantly more accessible to uninsured Americans and expanded eligibility to Medicaid.

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Can You Buy Your Own Health Insurance

BY Anna Porretta Updated on November 25, 2020

If you or your spouse work, you may have the opportunity to get your health insurance through an employer-sponsored group health plan, but thats not your only option. You can buy your own health insurance. Perhaps your circumstances are such that buying your own health insurance is the most reasonable, financially viable course of action. This may be true if you are self-employed, the owner of a small business, or an employee of a business that either does not offer health insurance as an employee benefit, or offers group health insurance but does not share substantively in the premium cost.

According to Medical Mutual, due to changing economic conditions, some employers have chosen or been forced to cut group insurance as an employer-sponsored benefit. This has led to a growing number of people looking elsewhere to get health coverage. If you are interested in comparing individual and family health insurance plans, eHealth can help you navigate your health insurance options and find an affordable that meets your needs.

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