Last updated on August 12th, 2013
When you are young and low on funds, finding low cost health insurance is a must. When you go out searching for medical plans to enroll in, the monthly premiums can be overwhelming. Fortunately, there are ways to keep the cost of your medical insurance needs as low as possible. One thing, to keep in mind, though, is that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), or more commonly referred to as Obamacare, prevents the premiums for young people being as low as they otherwise could be.
Be Willing to Accept Larger Out of Pocket Expenses
Insurance is all about how much risk you are willing to take. You pay a premium in exchange for the insurance company paying your medical claims. If you want them to pay more claims when you are in need of medical care, then you will pay a higher premium. Therefore, one way to get low cost health insurance is to enroll in plans with high deductibles, copays, and out of pocket maximums. This leaves less financial exposure to the insurance company, and thereby reduces your monthly premium.
Join Your Employer’s Health Plan, if Available
If your employer offers a health insurance plan, it will almost always be less expensive that what you could find in the individual insurance market, especially for the employee portion (the dependent portion could get expensive). Most employers subsidize the premium as a benefit to their employees. And due to PPACA requirement, the plan will most likely be comprehensive enough to cover your health care needs.
Look at Your State’s Health Insurance Marketplace
PPACA has created health insurance exchanges, or marketplaces, where individuals can shop online and plainly see different medical plan options and their prices. The idea of the marketplaces is to lower health insurance costs by creating a competition amongst insurance companies. If this quest is successful, it can be a great place to find low cost health insurance.
If your state does not offer a marketplace, you can shop on the federal exchange.
Search for Yourself for Health Insurance on the Individual Market
If the exchanges don’t work for you, and your employer doesn’t offer a medical plan, you are still free to shop for insurance on your own. The marketplaces are not the only places to find insurance. Insurance companies like Blue Cross Blue Shield, Aetna, Cigna, UnitedHealthcare, etc. will still sell individual plans. To make things easier, contact an insurance broker.
One Bad Thing About PPACA and Being Young
One of the ingredients that goes into an individual medical insurance premium is the age of the applicant. Younger people have less claims, and thus their premiums are lower. However, PPACA has limited how much higher the premiums can be for older people than younger people. Therefore, the premiums for older people and younger people have been brought closer together. This means that a premium for a younger person will be higher than before. In essence, the law is asking younger people to help pay the cost of medical claims that older people incur.
Low Cost Health Insurance is Available through Subsidies
PPACA helps low income earners with premium subsidies through tax credits. There are online tools to help you determine if you are available for this assistance. The online marketplaces will also be able to determine if you are eligible.
Medical insurance plans will never be a cheap expense, especially with additional coverage being required by the legislature, but for young people, low cost health insurance is definitely available; it just might take some time and research.