Looking for Cheap, Affordable Health Insurance?
Shop Quotes from up to 7 Prequalified Companies!
Are you in need of a major medical policy? Has your employer reduced or even dropped your coverage? If so, you are no doubt looking for an affordable, individual or family health care plan.
Start your search here! Browse our listing of prequalified companies that provide health insurance in your State and local area. It’s easy! Simply enter your zip code and then click the ‘get quotes’ button. We will see that you get connected with a licensed agent who knows how to navigate the insurance market and find an alternative that will meet both your needs and your pocket book. He/she will also give you an overview of how everything works in today’s health insurance market.
The goal is to ensure the best fit for you and your family!
How the Current Plans work
Prior to the Affordable Care Act, you shopped for individual insurance on the basis of benefits you wanted and could afford. You might have had an option to choose an office visit copay that was exempt from the deductible, prescription drug coverage, or coverage for pregnancy, just to name a few. Your premium was based on your coverage, your age, and your pre-existing conditions. Today, premiums are still determined by your age and pre-existing conditions, but the third factor is your income. Basic benefits are the same across all major medical plans. They must all include the following to be compliant with ACA requirements.
- Hospital care
- Emergency treatment
- Lab work
- Outpatient care
- Pediatric care
- Mental Health Care
- Preventative care
- Rehabilitative treatment
- Prescription drugs
Your health insurance premium can be controlled by choosing your level of coverage. Whether you go to Healthcare.gov or work directly with a carrier yourself, a lower deductible and lower out of pocket max means a higher premium. Choosing a bronze level plan could mean a $10,000 to $12,000 deductible, but your premium will be lower. Such an option might work for people who are in good health and really only need catastrophic coverage. The Platinum level will give you the most coverage with your provider, but will also have the highest premium.
How to Get a Plan
If your State has a state exchange, you may obtain coverage by completing the application on your state web site. Those states are:
- District of Columbia
- New Mexico
- New York
- Rhode Island
If your state is not listed, you would go to Healthcare.gov to find a plan. Part of the enrollment process involves finding out if you qualify for a subsidy to pay part of the premium. You can make up to 400% of the federal poverty limit and still qualify for a subsidy. That means a family of 4 could make over $90,000 and still qualify for a subsidy. The money will go directly to an insurance company; you will, however, get a 1099 showing that money as income to you and you will likely need to include it when you file your taxes. Be sure to discuss this with your CPA or tax accountant.
In some states you may still have the option of finding low cost insurance outside the exchange. The plans are still categorized according to the metal levels—bronze, silver, gold, and platinum—but companies may be able to offer benefits in addition to the 10 required benefits. Insurance companies offering off-exchange plans claim that premiums may be less and access to coverage may be more flexible. Some states may have some PPO plans allowing you to receive care both in and out of networks. According to law, any plan offered ON the exchange has to be offered at the same price off the exchange, but that is not true in reverse.
If you qualify for a subsidy—called premium tax credit, you can only get the credits by staying on the exchange. However, if that does not apply to you, you should find out what is available in your state before just taking something on the exchange. Your agent can help you accomplish that.
Additional and Alternative Options
Because of the high deductibles on today’s health insurance plans, many people have turned to ancillary coverage to help offset those out of pocket costs. Two of the best known companies offering ancillary coverages are AFLAC and Colonial Life. These programs are indemnity type plans where the money is paid directly to you. Benefits at one time were only available in the event of an accident, but today you can purchase coverage for cancer, catastrophic illness such as heart attack or stroke, and daily benefits for hospitalization due to illness. Many of these plans include a benefit payment for certain preventive procedures like mammograms. They do not replace insurance, but the benefits can certainly help with deductibles and other out of pocket costs. Furthermore, such plans are usually very inexpensive.
For those unable to find insurance coverage they can afford, there is yet another option. These plans are not considered insurance, but those who have them are exempt from any penalties due to their inclusion in the Senate version of the ACA. You pay a monthly premium which is called a “share” because the companies are not permitted to use insurance language. Your premium is used every month to pay for health care needs of other members of the program. Most, if not all, of these companies are non-profit; thus the overhead is minimal, and your monthly share is much less than the premium to an insurance company. In most cases, you are expected to negotiate with your hospital or provider for a “self-insured” discount on your bill. Then you will most likely have a deductible ranging from $500 to $5000, depending on the level of coverage you choose. The remainder of the bill—after the deductible is met and the negotiated bill is determined—is paid by the organization using accumulated funds from the member shares.
Thousands of people are taking advantage of the cost sharing ministries as an alternative to high premiums and deductibles, but some people feel they are a somewhat scary way to go. The organizations have to regularly state that they are not insurance, and that coverage of your medical bills is not guaranteed. If you choose this option, do a little homework and select an organization with a long history and a reputation for paying in a timely fashion. Some of these include Libertyhealthshare, Medi-share, Christian Healthcare Ministries, and Samaritan Ministries, to mention just a few.
Avoid the Penalty
The ACA was designed with the intention of enabling everyone to have health insurance or coverage of some type, whether through Medicaid, State and Government Exchanges, Off-Exchange Coverage, or Cost Sharing Ministries. Everyone with a high enough income helps pay for the same basic benefits so there is money to pay for coverage for those who do not have income. The penalty is a percentage of your income, is assessed per person, and increases yearly. The best way to avoid it is to work with an agent who will do everything possible to help you find health insurance coverage that meets your needs.