Health Insurance for Low Income Earners – Where to Find Coverage

As most everyone knows, health insurance is not an inexpensive purchase.  Medical services continue to increase in cost, and the essential benefits of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), or Obamacare as many know it, have made the cost of medical plans increase dramatically.  Even with new measures in place to keep premiums in check, it is difficult to find low cost health insurance.  However, health insurance for low income earners can be affordable and comprehensive enough to provide good coverage is medical services are needed.  Getting sick should not mean going broke, and here are some ways to avoid that.

Health Insurance Marketplaces

The health insurance marketplaces, or exchanges as they were originally known, are great opportunities to obtain health insurance for low income households.  Through the marketplaces, individuals, families, and small businesses will be able to compare multiple medical and prescription drug plans and premiums side-by-side.  Not only is this a convenient way to purchase health insurance, but people with low incomes will be able to receive help paying the premiums.

If an individual makes less than 4 times the poverty level, he or she will be eligible for tax credits to help offset the cost of the insurance plan.  The online marketplace enrollment site will walk people through the process of determining if they are eligible for the subsidy.

Check here to see if an exchange is something that might suit your needs.

Mom or Dad’s Medical Plan

If the goal is to obtain health insurance for low income young adults, it is worthwhile to look into the medical plan of their parents.  The Affordable Care Act allows people to stay covered on their parent’s insurance plan until they reach age 26.  So if you are an adult, but under age 26, and you’re looking for a way to afford good healthcare coverage, your parent’s plan will be a great low cost, or even cheap, health insurance option.

If another child is already covered on the parent’s plan, the extra child many times will be able to be covered without an additional cost.  In essence, this is a no-cost way to obtain health insurance for low income young people.

Increase Out of Pocket Exposure

One of the easiest ways to find affordable health insurance for low income earners is by finding a plan with high out of pocket provisions, such as deductibles and copays.  This leaves less risk for the insurance company, thus the premium will be lower.

Of course, a plan with a high deductible is risky for the policyholder.  The plan may be inexpensive, but if a sickness or accident comes about, there will be a lot of money owed to doctors and hospitals.  However, the billing office of a healthcare provider will many times work out a payment plan over a period of months; if a health insurance premium is not paid, the policy will be cancelled.  There is a chance of a high medical bill if a plan with high out of pocket provisions is purchased, but at least the plan will be affordable.

Medicaid

If health insurance for low income residents is not affordable, Medicaid could be a viable option.  Medicaid is administered by the states, so eligibility is different all over the country.  PPACA expanded Medicaid coverage in 2014, so check with your state’s Medicaid office to see if you are eligible.

Health insurance for low income earners does not have to be unaffordable.  Take a look around and affordable and comprehensive coverage can be found.

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Coins representing the cheapest health insurance options available.

5 Ideas for Cheap Health Insurance for Young Adults





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.

Telemedicine

Telemedicine is the ability to have a consultation with a doctor anytime, 24/7. It is NOT insurance. It is just an inexpensive way to take care of minor illnesses that crop up. You can read more about it here. Even if you already have an insurance plan, you can still take advantage of a telehealth plan.

Medicaid

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.

To enroll in a Marketplace plan, 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.



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What Health Insurance Quotes Should a Young Person Expect?

When you are new to the health insurance world, you might not know what to expect in the way of health insurance quotes.  The rates vary from one company to the next and from one plan to the next.  While it is impossible to know exactly where your specific insurance quote will be priced, there are ways to know the ballpark that you will be in.

How Has PPACA Affected Insurance Quotes?

When the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), also known as Obamacare, was passed, the law established health insurance exchanges.  These exchanges are online marketplaces where individuals can easily comparison shop for plans and premiums to find the right medical insurance for them.  The idea is that these exchanges will bring about competition amongst health insurers.  While that may or may not be the case (health insurers already were in competition with each other), with prices displayed right next to each other, it stands to reason that increased competition will bring down premiums.

PPACA also established the Minimum Loss Ratio (MLR).  Health insurance companies are now required to pay out in claims at least 80% of the premiums they collect.  The other 20% goes to administrative costs, fees, taxes, profit, etc.  If the MLR is below 80%, the insurance company must pay a rebate to its subscribers.  The 80% MLR rule has kept premiums lower than they would have been otherwise.

PPACA also requires large renewal increases to be approved by the government.  This keeps insurance quotes from skyrocketing faster than needed.

Insurance Quotes are Affected by Age

As you might expect, a medical insurance premium is dependent upon the age of the applicant.  In general, older people require more medical services than young people.  Of course that isn’t always the case (some 80 year olds are in perfect health while 25 year olds have chronic conditions), but insurance risk tables are based on large populations.  Because older people have more claims, they must pay larger premiums.  Since young people typically have less claims, their premiums are lower.

However, the spread between the lowest age-banded premium and highest age-banded premium is not as large as it used to be.  PPACA sets a limit on how much more the highest age-based premium can be compared to the lowest age-based premium.  Because of this, it is expected that the insurance quotes that young people receive will be higher than usual since they will be subsidizing the cost of the health care for the older population.

Insurance Quotes are Affected by Plan Design

The plan design that you choose (deductible, coinsurance, copays, etc.) has a direct relationship to the insurance quote that you receive.  If you take on more out of pocket responsibility, you will receive a quote that is lower than if you choose a plan will less out of pocket responsibility.  It all depends on if you are willing to take a chance on not having a large medical claim.

The best way to find out what your insurance quotes will be is to just go and fill out an application.  It does not bind you to anything and doesn’t take too much time.  Once you do that, you will get some quotes and be on your way towards covering your health care needs.

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Low Income Health Insurance Options Available to Young People

It is very rare for a young person to begin life after high school or college with an enormous bankroll.  As you step out on your own and start down the path to a successful career, there is a good chance you’ll start at the bottom of the salary scale.  But that doesn’t mean that you cannot find a good medical insurance plan that fits your lifestyle and budget while giving you the ability to cover the costs of your healthcare needs.  When you go out to look for plans to sign up with, check out these low income health insurance options.

Health Insurance Exchanges are Great for Those with Low Incomes

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), or as many people know it, Obamacare, created health insurance exchanges, which are online marketplaces that allow people to go on the Internet to purchase health insurance.  Available insurance plans will be easily accessible on the exchanges, and the premiums are easy to determine.

In addition, when you buy health insurance through the exchanges you might qualify for subsidies to help offset the cost of the monthly premiums and out of pocket expenses.  Eligibility for these subsidies can quickly be determined online when the insurance plan is bought.  And the lower your income, the greater the financial assistance.

The online marketplaces are run by each state, so the same insurance options will not be available in every state.  Insurers are not required to participate in each state.

Medicaid

Medicaid is possibly another low income health insurance option.  Medicaid provides health benefits at a very low cost.  Like the exchanges, Medicaid is administered by each state, so check out your state’s Medicaid program for eligibility.  Not all states have the same Medicaid access.

Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)

If you make too much money to qualify for Medicaid, but you still need financial assistance to cover your children with health insurance, you should look into CHIP.  CHIP is a low income health insurance option that can provide your kids with quality healthcare at little or no cost.

Like the other two options listed above, CHIP is run by the states, and in most cases is administered very closely with Medicaid.

Check the Health Insurance Plan at Work

If your employer offers you health insurance, you should seriously take a look at the plan designs available and the cost of each.  PPACA sets a limit on how high employers can set the monthly contributions for their employees (or else face a steep fine).  Because of this, if you are eligible for medical benefits at work, you stand a good chance of receiving quality health insurance at a low cost.

Check Out Your Parents’ Health Insurance Plan

PPACA allows children to stay on their parents’ health insurance plan until the child reaches age 26.  If you are under this cap, and your parent is already covered by a family plan, then adding you to the plan can typically be done without an additional cost.

Increase Your Out of Pocket Liability

Out of pocket limits on health insurance plans are part of the formula that determines premiums.  The higher the out of pocket expenses, such as deductibles, the lower the premium.  If you want to be able to have coverage at a low cost, consider a plan with a high deductible or what some people would call a catastrophic plan.  It will leave you with high medical bills if you need service, but at least you’ll be able to afford the insurance to start with.

There are several ways to find quality insurance for all people, and these low income health insurance options are great places to start.

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Is Free Health Insurance Available to Young People?

It can be difficult to be a young person and be on the hunt for medical insurance.  You might be a student or early in your career, and the cost of a decent plan can be more than you can afford.  Fortunately, if you fall into certain categories, there are ways to get free health insurance.  While not everyone will qualify for no cost insurance, it is worth looking into if you are having trouble paying for your medical needs.  And don’t forget that due to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), or Obamacare as many people know it, there is a tax to be paid if you do not have an insurance plan.  While the tax is small to begin with, eventually it will increase to be a significant expense.

Look at Your Parents’ Medical Plan

One of the key features of PPACA is the fact that a child can stay on their parent’s medical plan until the child reaches age 26.  If your parent has a plan, there is a chance you can be added at no extra cost, but not necessarily.  If your parent is on a plan on only covering himself or herself, then there will be a cost to add you.  Or if both of your parents are on a plan with just the two of them, then there will probably be a cost to add you.  However, if the plan that your parent has already includes another child, then adding you will most likely not add an additional premium cost.

Adding you to an existing plan can be a great way to receive free health insurance.

Check the Insurance Plan at Your Own Job

If you work at a place that offers you benefits, check the plan that you are offered at work before going elsewhere to look for free health insurance.  While most employers require a premium contribution from their employees, some provide the insurance free of charge.

Free Health Insurance on the Health Insurance Exchanges

Beginning in 2014, PPACA created state-run health insurance exchanges.  These exchanges are online marketplaces that allow the user to go on the Internet and comparison shop for the medical plan that best suits their needs.

In addition, PPACA has allowed for tax credits for low income earners if health insurance is bought through the exchange.  If you earn less than 400% of the poverty level you are eligible for this subsidy.  The lower your income, the higher the credit.  The marketplaces will be able to determine online if you are eligible and can assist in reducing the monthly premium.  If your income is low enough, you may be able to buy free health insurance.

Medicaid

Medicaid is a state-run program that assists low income households with medical assistance.  If health insurance is difficult to afford, check with your state Medicaid program to find out details and your eligibility.

Free health insurance is not available to everyone, but if you take the time to look around you might be able to find coverage at little or no cost.

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