Health Insurance for Individuals – How to Find a Good Plan

When you are an individual looking for an insurance plan all on your own, you have a lot of decisions to make.  Where should you go to find medical coverage?  What kind of premium is available?  Is low cost insurance anywhere to be found?  What kind of plan design should you purchase?  All of these questions are important in finding health insurance for individuals.

Health Insurance for Individuals is Different than Group Coverage

Health insurance for individuals can be totally different than receiving your medical and pharmacy benefits through an employer.  With an employer you have a small selection of plans available to you.  The good thing about a group plan is that some of the premium is paid for you.  It is not that way with an individual plan.  You will pay the entire premium on your own.  However, you are free to pick from a much larger plan design selection.

Individual Insurance is Now Easier to Come By

In the past, health insurance for individuals could be hard to find.  Or at least a quality plan was hard to find.  Insurance companies could deny you based on your health history, and there was less regulation over the rise of insurance premiums.

With the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), also known as Obamacare, being denied for preexisting conditions is illegal, and insurance companies have to explain extreme premium increases.

As for finding a quality plan, the Affordable Care Act created the health insurance marketplaces, online exchanges where you can compare plan designs and premiums easily and quickly.  If you have trouble figuring things out on your own, there will be customer service representatives called navigators that you can call for assistance.

While you do not have an employer to help pay for the cost of an individual plan, there are tax subsidies available if you purchase an insurance plan through the online marketplace.  If you earn less than 400% of the poverty level and are not eligible for Medicaid you can get premium assistance.

Health Insurance for Individuals is Still Available from Insurance Companies

The marketplaces are administered by the states and not all insurance companies participate.  In addition, while there is a spread of available plan designs on the exchanges, the plans might not fit everyone.

If these things are the case, you can still apply for health insurance for individuals directly from the insurance companies.  You will have to do a little more work on your part, and tax credits are not available, but you will have a bigger selection of plans available, and good premiums can still be found.

Health Insurance Brokers

One way to make the search for health insurance for individuals easier is to hire a broker.  There are brokers available online as well as in person.  If you want to explore your options on the individual market but do not want to do all the legwork, a broker could be the way to go.

Health insurance for individuals is going to become more and more popular thanks to the health insurance marketplaces.  If you do not receive coverage from an employer, good plans are still available.

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Health Insurance for Unemployed Young Adults

Anyone—especially a young person—who has ever been without a job knows the immense stress that can overwhelm your life.  One of the biggest worries is how medical bills will be paid.  After all, the easiest way to be covered with medical insurance is to be a part of a group plan.  There are less pre-existing condition exclusions to worry about, and an employer will usually subsidize the cost of the plan, making it much cheaper than going out on your own and buying an insurance policy.  However, if the day comes that your job is no longer around, know that comprehensive health insurance for unemployed young people can be found at an affordable rate.  Here are ways to make that happen.

COBRA Health Insurance for Unemployed

If you worked for a company that employs more than 20 people, then COBRA insurance is available.  COBRA allows former employees to continue on the medical plan that they were a part of when they were employed.  The access to quality insurance is a good thing about COBRA.

However, there is a significant downside to this form of health insurance for unemployed young people, and that is the cost.  To be on a COBRA plan, you are required to pay the entire monthly premium of the plan (plus 2% for administrative costs).  Since the premium was most likely partly paid for by the company, the cost of COBRA insurance will be a big jump from what was being paid previously.

Parent’s Plan

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as PPACA or Obamacare, allows people to be enrolled on a parent’s plan until the child reaches age 26.  This can be a terrific option of health insurance for unemployed young people.  If your mom or dad has group insurance, they can enroll you in their plan if you lose your job.

The upside of this is that to add a child to a plan is not very expensive.  In fact, if another child is already on the plan then there will probably not be an additional cost.

Marketplace Health Insurance for Unemployed Young Adults

The Affordable Care Act set up health insurance marketplaces, also known as exchanges, where people can go online and shop for health insurance.  The exchanges might be a good option if a young person is having trouble finding good, affordable coverage elsewhere.

The marketplaces can be a great place to find health insurance for unemployed young people since the federal government provides tax credits to individuals that earn less than 400 percent of the poverty level but are not eligible for Medicaid.  Many unemployed young people will fall in this category.

The marketplaces are also good places to find health insurance for your children.

Medicaid

While Medicaid isn’t technically health insurance for unemployed young people, it can be a good way to help pay for medical expenses.  Medicaid is administered by the states, and eligibility varies by state.  PPACA expanded Medicaid eligibility, but not every state has implemented the new Medicaid rules.

If your child needs Medicaid, but you are not eligible, CHIP insurance is available.

If Medicaid or CHIP is something you are interested in, check out your state’s Medicaid website.

Find Health Insurance One Way or Another

With the cost of health care continuing to rise, quality and affordable health coverage is needed.  Fortunately, finding health insurance for unemployed young adults is not as difficult as it used to be.  Government programs and group plans are available to keep from going broke when you least can afford it.

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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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Is Health Insurance for College Students Available Through the Exchanges?

Health insurance for college students can be a tricky thing.  For one, health insurance plans have limits on how long a dependent child can be on their parent’s medical plan.  Second, it can be hard to find a health insurance plan that is affordable for students while they are not making much money.

Both of these issues are addressed by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), or Obamacare as many people know it.  While the law is a political hot button, college age students can benefit greatly from the legislation.

How Does Obamacare Help College Students?

Health insurance for college students is addressed in couple of ways by the Affordable Care Act.  First, the law allows dependent children to remain on their parent’s plan until the child reaches age 26.  For many people, this gets them through the college years with access to health insurance.

Second, the law provides two avenues to help pay for medical expenses  – expanded Medicaid and the health insurance exchanges, or marketplaces.  Medicaid has been expanded to include adults that make less than 133% of the poverty level.  Medicaid is administered by the states, and not all states are going to expand Medicaid, so make sure to check with your state’s eligibility.

The health insurance marketplace, then, is a great option of health insurance for college students.

Why is the Exchange Good for College Students?

If a student in college needs to purchase insurance on their own, there is a good chance that they will be making this sort of purchase for the first time.  The exchanges are online locations where available plans are laid out side-by-side to make it easy to compare the health insurance options, both by plan design and premium.  This will make the purchase easy to wade through and understand.  If the student needs assistance, they can contact customer service representatives, called navigators, to help them through the process.

But perhaps the best thing for college students is that PPACA allows for tax credits for purchases through the marketplace if the individual makes less than 400% of the poverty level.  The calculation for this credit is done online.  Since many people in school make less than this threshold, health insurance for college students is much more affordable than before the Affordable Care Act.

Like Medicaid, the exchanges are administered through the states.  Some states do not have their own exchange.  In that case, residents will go through the federal marketplace.  You can find your state’s marketplace here.

Filing Tax Returns

One thing to be aware of if a college student purchases a medical plan through the exchange is that he or she will have to file a tax return, even if there would otherwise be no reason to file.  So while health insurance for college students is available for a low cost on the exchange, make sure to actually get the credit you were promised.

The Affordable Care Act is a controversial piece of legislation.  The effects, both good and bad, will be felt for years.  But one thing for sure is that the availability and affordability of health insurance for college students was helped by PPACA.

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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.

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

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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