Last updated on August 6th, 2018
Finding the cheapest health insurance options available can seem like an overwhelming task. There are numerous insurance companies to search through as well as a long list of plan types to enroll in.
What can make the task harder is finding the time to research and sign up for the plans. At the end of the day, though, you need to have good coverage at an affordable price. Here are the best ways to find low cost medical insurance and the cheapest health insurance for young adults.
Short-Term Health Insurance
Between jobs, or just need to make sure you have some low-cost health coverage during a certain point in your life? Short-term health insurance may be the best thing for you.
Short-term health insurance plans are generally less expensive than qualified major medical health plans, but they do not offer the same level of coverage and usually do not cover pre-existing conditions. They also do not cover the minimum essential coverage of Obamacare, so a short-term plan will not get you off the hook for paying the individual mandate penalty.
Having said all that, short-term plans are a really good idea if you want an inexpensive plan for a short period. Just make sure you understand – and are ok with – the fine print.
Need help finding a great short-term plan? Get a quick and easy quote here.
Medicaid is a government program that helps people with low incomes receive medical services. Medicaid is administered by the states, and eligibility varies depending on where you live. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), or Obamacare as it is commonly known, expanded Medicaid, making it easier to enroll. If Medicaid is something you think you might qualify for, check out your state’s Medicaid website. Medicaid isn’t the cheapest health insurance, because it is not technically insurance, but it helps pay for the cost of health care needs.
Health Insurance Marketplaces
The health insurance marketplaces, or exchanges as they were first labeled, will not be the cheapest health insurance for everyone, but it can be for some people. The Affordable Care Act provides tax credits for individuals that makes less than 400% of the federal poverty level. The credits are graded based on income, and if you are eligible for the subsidy, the marketplaces can be great places to find cheap medical insurance.
Like Medicaid, the marketplaces are administered by the states. However, not every state participates. In that case, residents can use the federal exchange. You can find your state’s exchange here.
Also, not every marketplace is the federal marketplace. There are also private marketplaces that will give you another wide range of enrollment ideas.
To view all of the marketplace options available to you in your area, both federal and non-federal, go here.
Your Parent’s Medical Plan
Another benefit of the Affordable Care Act is that young adults are able to be enrolled in their parent’s medical insurance plan until age 26. This can be advantageous because many times there is not a huge rate increase to add a child. If your parent(s) already have another child enrolled in the plan, you can probably be added with no additional cost. Many group plans have an Employee + Child(ren) rate tier, meaning that a subscriber can add multiple children for the same rate. The same goes if your parent is in an Employee + Family rate tier.
Not only could this be the cheapest health insurance option, it can also be a free health insurance option.
Catastrophic Health Insurance
You have to be careful with catastrophic health insurance. On one hand, the premiums will be lower than a plan with lower deductibles and copays. However, if you have a claim, you will be required to pay more out of pocket expenses. But if you are looking to at least have some coverage, and you are lucky enough to not have many claims, catastrophic coverage might be the cheapest health insurance available.
Your Employer’s Plan
This option is not available to anyone, but if you are offered a health insurance plan by your employer, it might be the cheapest health insurance that you can get. Employers that offer group coverage will usually subsidize the cost of the employee’s health insurance premium, many times paying 100% of the cost. What they pay for dependents, though, is usually a much higher amount.
In addition, PPACA caps the most a company can charge a worker for the employee portion of the premium at 9.5% of the employee’s salary. This equates to about $89 per month for a minimum wage worker that works 30 hours per week.
Health insurance costs continue to increase, but these options will help you find cheap health insurance for young adults.