No one wishes to fall sick or hurt. We eventually need medical care, usually unexpectedly, but mostly due to our poor lifestyle. The problem is the current world is facing inflation, and the medical world is no exception.
This is where having health insurance is really important. It protects you from health and financial risks. Unfortunately, not everyone can easily afford it nowadays, but we’ve got you covered.
Here are cheap health insurance options to try:
Parents’ Health Plans
Staying covered by your parent’s health insurance is one of the ways to ensure low-cost medical coverage. This is allowed under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) but only in some specific states, so be sure to check your state’s rules on this.
According to the US Department of Labor, young adults can stay or join on their parent’s health insurance, regardless of whether they’re:
- A student
- A full-time employee
- Not dependent on their parents for money
- Not living with their parents
- Already married
However, most of the time, they’re allowed to do so until they’re 26 (or older, depending on the state’s rules). Another limitation is when you experience major life events, such as getting pregnant.
In this case, your parents’ existing policy may not be the right fit for your condition. Always check and be aware of your parent’s health plan coverage to avoid paying for extra medical fees out of your pocket in the future.
If you can’t stay on your parent’s health plan and don’t have or can’t afford health insurance yet, see if you qualify for Medicaid. It aims to cover the healthcare costs of low-income individuals and families.
Specifically, it helps cover the costs of doctor visits, inpatient and outpatient hospital services, laboratory services, prescription drugs, therapies and case management, and home health services. Its eligibility varies by state, but generally, you should be at least:
- A US citizen
- A resident of the state you’re applying for
- From the low-income group
Don’t confuse it with Medicare, primarily available for people 65 or older. Other younger people can avail of it, too, but only if they have disabilities, such as permanent kidney failures like end-stage renal disease (ESRD) or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
Another difference is that the latter has Medicare Drug Price Negotiations. However, the former usually doesn’t have them. Instead, it has plans that offer additional gap coverage to help you pay for prescriptions.
However, additional coverage during the Medicare drug coverage gap usually calls for higher monthly premiums. Alternatively, you can tap into Pharmaceutical Assistance Programs to help lower prescription costs for your medicines.
Catastrophic Health Insurance
An alternative to Medicaid is a catastrophic health insurance plan. It’s recommended to you if you’re looking for lower premiums since you rarely visit the doctor and don’t need much medical care.
Catastrophic health insurance works like Medicaid, offering all ten essential health benefits that all ACA plans are required to cover. These include hospitalization, prescription drugs, laboratory, preventative and wellness services, maternity, pediatric, emergency, ambulatory patient, mental health and substance use, and rehabilitation.
However, it doesn’t cover emergency care, including sudden illness, unexpected injuries, or emergency care after an accident until you’ve met the deductible. It may also have high out-of-pocket costs.
Choosing catastrophic health insurance is recommended only when you’re healthy and financially ready. In other words, you should already have emergency funds set aside in the case of a serious medical issue.
Employer-Sponsored Health Insurance
If you’re working full-time, opt for your employer-sponsored health insurance rather than getting an individual health plan. It’s much more cost-saving since your company can help you pay for your health plan and other medical expenses.
Specifically, the annual premium of individual health insurance for a single person is around $7,911. In contrast, it’s $7,873 employer-sponsored health insurance, which will be even lower because it’ll be split between you and your employee by at least 50%.
However, to be clear, companies aren’t legally required to offer you employer-sponsored health insurance. If they refuse to offer, it’s legally fine. Most companies offer health insurance to motivate their employees or avoid the ACA’s penalties.
Under the ACA, “big companies” or firms with 200 or more employees are responsible for improving healthcare availability, quality, and affordability in the US. They must pay at least 50% of their employees’ health insurance premiums to achieve this. Otherwise, they’ll have to pay a penalty of around $2,750 for every full-time worker or its part-time equivalent.
Short-term Health Insurance
If you’ve recently changed or lost your job and have to fill a lapse in permanent coverage, taking out short-term health insurance is one of the low-cost solutions. It’s also beneficial to those attending an out-of-state college or still waiting for the open enrollment period.
Short-term health insurance only costs $55 per month on average. This is because it offers limited benefits. It usually only includes doctor visits, preventive care, and emergency care, but no coverage for prescription drugs, maternity care, and mental health.
Like catastrophic health insurance, it’ll likely cause high out-of-pocket costs should you get severely sick. Hence, it’s only recommended as a temporary coverage. Despite this, it’s better having it than having no insurance at all.
Remember that health insurance plans aren’t one-size-fits-all. If you’re unsure of what to choose, it’s always highly recommended to pan to professionals who can help you match your unique needs with a plan that suits you best.