Affordable health insurance plans.
Tens of millions of American households may qualify for more affordable health insurance as the result of federal government assistance. While the price that a family will need to pay may still be somewhat expensive when considering their total income, the subsidies can bring down the monthly cost of the health insurance plans so that the total cost involved will be significantly less.
The different options available will be the Affordable Care Act (often referred to as ObamaCare), state Health Insurance Exchanges, as well as coverage provided by non-profit companies such as Blue Cross Blue Shield as well as Kaiser Foundation Group. There are various tools that consumers can use as well to search for assistance, as indicated below.
Almost 80% of people that use tools such as HealthCare.gov turn out to be qualified for financial aid to pay for their monthly insurance bill. For those that have access to a state exchange, about 50% of those residents receive free or low-cost health insurance. So there are a number of resources available that will make the cost of paying for that insurance bill much more affordable.
Even for those that do not qualify for a free plan, the rates can still be much lower. When combining the government aid along with the ability to shop for a cheaper plan, it is estimated that about 7 out of 10 low income families can buy insurance for under $150 per month, with a significant number of plans costing less than $100.
Government subsidies to pay for insurance
There is financial assistance provided to households that have a total income of less than 400% of the Federal Government Poverty Level (FPL). This rate will factor in the size of the household as well, so the greater number of children or people living there, the higher the cut off amount is. The savings can be so significant that as a result of them it may be possible to buy health insurance for around $75 to $150 per month. While this is still a decent amount of money for a lower income family, it does make it much more affordable.
There is also out-of-pocket cost assistance available as well. This is more targeted for health insurance plans that are considered to be the “Silver” level. This will apply to coverage if the family is living at 100% – 250% of poverty levels. There are also tax credits that apply to very low income seniors, the disabled, or low income families on Medicaid.
Protections for consumers
The Patient’s Bill of Rights, which was part of the Affordable Care Act, provides people more rights when it comes to selecting a policy. It addresses barriers around pre-existing conditions, cancellations from insurers, right to appeal, and pricing as well as comparison shopping. The Bill of Rights also made an effort to make medical as well as dental care more affordable for millions of Americans. As some examples of what this law provides:
- An insurer can't delay enrollment for a patient with a pre-existing condition, regardless of their age.
- If a customer makes an honest mistake on their monthly payment or when seeking reimbursement, a company can't cancel a policy.
- Denials of payment for a medical or dental bill can be appealed.
- Households with residents under the age of 26 can still provide health insurance to their kids, teenagers, and others under that age.
- The policies mandate free preventive services are given to individuals, which includes an annual wellness visit, dental exam or physical.
- Health insurance companies can't discriminate based on age, race, gender, or health status.
- The affordable plans can be combined with other government benefits, such as CHIP, Medicaid, or Medicare
Providers of affordable health insurance coverage
There are many places to go to shop for a policy. It depends on the state where the family lives, as some government run Marketplaces only offer help for their residents. In addition, there are different health insurance companies that operate in different parts of the country. As an example, the not-for-profit Kaiser Foundation Group focuses mostly on California and western states while Blue Cross has a heavy presence in the eastern part of the country. Another resource, the healthcare.gov site is available across the nation for people to compare prices.
Anyone over the age of 65 will still be able to enroll into Medicare as well. This is what is used to provide coverage to senior citizens, and there are no income limits in place for this. The federal government will also allow the disabled to enroll into Medicare, if they meet a certain type of condition, such as being blind or have a serious physical condition.
These plans also tend to be more affordable, however any medical bill will still need to be partially paid by the patient as well. The government will not cover the entire expense on their own. Medicare is the main government benefit for the elderly, and it is available to millions of households.
Due to the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) that is now in place, more American have access to choice. There are more non-profit as well as “for-profit” companies that are available to select from, and this was done in an effort to expand health insurance coverage to more low to moderate income families. Also, while easier said then done, another aim of the Act was to reduce medical care costs for millions of patients.
Note that many health insurance plans are becoming less affordable to the average family due to higher deductibles. This means that the patient is responsible for a greater portion of the cost until that threshold has been met. But there are resources that focus on this expense as well. Find details on health insurance deductible assistance programs.
To learn more, the places to apply are as follows. If it is an option in the state where the family lives, many consumers tend to find non-profit dental as well as health insurance savings when using a non-profit company. So it is recommended to search for them first.
HealthCare.gov – There are various tools. Not only can a shopper seek income tax credits, there is information available on affordable insurance plans for their state, tools to shop for prescriptions and dental insurance, and more.
State Health Insurance Exchanges – Most states offer these to their residents. They include California, Colorado, Connecticut, Washington, D.C., Hawaii, Idaho, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Texas, Vermont, and Washington.
Use health insurance company websites – The top 10 insurers are UnitedHealth Care, Kaiser Foundation Group, Anthem Inc., Aetna Group, Humana, HCSC, Cigna, Highmark Group, Blue Cross Blue Shield, and Centene Inc.
Search price comparison sites including Ehealthinsurance and Healthpocket.com. These will compare prices for hundreds of insurance companies in all 50 states.
Third party, alternative health insurance plans can often be more affordable. The monthly premium is often much lower. There are also cost sharing policies, discount cards, low priced clinics, and many other options to save money. More on alternatives to health insurance.
Additional options are always available. After shopping around for an inexpensive health insurance policy, some consumers will still not be able to afford a plan. Or they may decide to pay the fee on their income taxes instead of signing up for an ObamaCare. In these cases, there are still ways to get medical needs met, including from various state programs that offer health care to the uninsured.
For more information, or to receive free help in shopping for a cheaper health insurance plan, dial 1-800-2596. All of the information given is confidential, and there are no costs or fees for using this federal government sponsored service.