Finding affordable health insurance can be a daunting task when you have limited income to allot towards insurance costs and medical expenses. If you are new to health insurance, you may also feel overwhelmed by the number of options available or unsure as to how to apply for coverage.
There are several low cost health insurance options that may be available to you. While many state and federal health insurance programs are primarily income-based, you might also qualify for affordable coverage through your employer.
If you are married, you could potentially save by piggybacking off of your spouse’s health insurance policy. Depending on your age, you may also be entitled to coverage through your parent’s plan.
By exploring the best ways to obtain affordable health care coverage within the United States, you will gain the ability to make an informed decision on the options available to you.
By reading below you can learn more about any eligibility requirements that you may need to meet to qualify for coverage.
1. Learn About the Medicaid Health Insurance Program
Medicaid is a government-based health insurance program that is administered through individual state programs. However, these state programs still must follow federal guidelines.
This health insurance program is considered a social welfare program. This is because Medicaid health insurance coverage is offered at little to no cost to qualifying enrollees.
Furthermore, enrollees can also usually obtain health care services without paying copayments or coinsurance.
Since the Medicaid insurance program is administered on a state level, the coverage benefits, costs and eligibility requirements vary slightly between states.
However, all applicants must meet income-based qualifications to receive coverage. Income limits are different from one state to another, but you can qualify in most states if your household’s income is within a certain percentage of the federal poverty level (FPL).
In addition to income-based requirements, some state programs only provide benefits to households where there is a member who is considered “medically vulnerable,” such as a disabled person, a pregnant woman, a senior citizen or dependent child.
You can apply for Medicaid by contacting your state Medicaid office. When applying, you will be required to provide specific documentation alongside your application, including proof of your family’s income.
2. How to Receive Low Cost Health Insurance Through Short-Term Health Insurance
If you need cheap medical insurance, you may benefit from acquiring short-term health insurance. Short-term health insurance is generally available at a considerably lower cost than standard long-term policies.
However, these plans may only provide coverage for a set period of time, and they will likely have limits regarding how many times you can renew your enrollment.
Short-term health insurance plans are often most beneficial to families who are in between coverage options, such as after the loss of employment, but do not qualify for federal or state health insurance programs.
This type of low cost health insurance plan is not for everyone. This is because short-term policies are not required to provide comprehensive insurance coverage and may only provide limited benefits.
Additionally, these plans can include caps on benefits, which can become problematic if the enrollee becomes severely ill.
3. Learn About Cheap Medical Insurance Through Affordable Care Act Subsidies
By visiting the Health Insurance Marketplace, you will be given a selection of private health insurance options that are available to you. The various plans and providers that you may be offered will depend on your state.
When reviewing the premiums associated with each of these plans, it is essential to know that you may receive a reduction to the premiums that are quoted to you based upon subsidies that you qualify for.
This is because the Affordable Care Act helps low-income families and individuals pay for the cost of health coverage through premium tax credit subsidies.
Generally, you will qualify for a premium tax credit if your income is between 100 percent and 400 percent of the federal poverty line. This tax credit pays a portion of your monthly premiums for your health insurance. This can help you save more money each month.
4. How to Get Low Income Health Insurance Through Employer-Based Plans
You may qualify for an affordable health insurance plan through your employer if you are a full-time employee. In some cases, you may even have several health plan options available to you.
Generally, you can enroll in an employer-based plan for a limited period after you become eligible for benefits. If you do not join, you can enroll during the next open enrollment period.
In most cases, you can become eligible for an employer-based insurance plan after you serve a waiting period after being hired. Usually, this lasts between 30 and 90 days.
Employer-based plans are considered affordable health insurance options because your employer will typically pay a portion of your monthly premiums.
Your share of insurance premiums is then deducted automatically from your paychecks.
5. Learn About Piggybacking on a Spouse’s Healthcare Plan
If your spouse has a low cost health insurance plan through his or her employer, you and any qualifying dependents may be eligible for the same policy. In fact, many employers will extend job-based health insurance to an employee’s children, step-children and spouses.
Some employers also offer specific health insurance packages for families. Therefore, it is essential to review any policy that may be available to you through a spouse’s insurance plan to compare costs and coverage benefits.
6. How to Find Affordable Health Insurance Through a Parent’s Health Insurance
You can receive affordable health insurance through your parent’s health insurance plan if you are younger than 26 years of age. This health insurance option is available even if you are married or you are not a tax-dependent of your parent.
Unless you qualify for a special enrollment period, you will need to be added to your parent’s health insurance plan during his or her open enrollment period.
If your parent receives their health insurance through an employer, it is crucial that you and your parent review the costs of adding you to the policy. While some employers subsidize health insurance costs for an employee’s qualifying family members, this is not always the case.
Fees related to your health insurance will automatically be deducted from your parent’s paychecks if their health insurance policy is job-based.