How to get affordable health insurance

Although health insurance can be expensive, you might still be able to find affordable insurance that suits your needs.

You likely only have one or two options if you are covered by an employer. Your spouse may be eligible through your employer for one or more options.

If you search for a plan that is not sponsored by your employer, like individual insurance, there are more options. This can lead to higher premiums because you don’t have an employer paying for your health insurance.

Let’s look at the best way to find cheap health insurance.

IN THIS ARTICLE

  • Affordable Health Insurance in Employer Plans
  • Individual and Affordable Care Act plans
  • Medicaid
  • Catastrophic Health Plans
  • Short-term Health Plans
  • out-of-pocket and deductibles. If you require health care services, low premiums may not be enough to offset significant deductibles.

How do you find an affordable plan?

  • To review your options for health insurance, check with your spouse’s employer. You can sign up for or modify your health insurance during Open Enrollment. Open enrollment is subject to employer restrictions.
  • If you are looking for a cheaper health plan, a health maintenance organization plan (HMO) is better than a preferred organization (PPO). HMOs are more affordable than PPOs and have similar deductibles. HMOs have a limited provider network, which means you can only see those providers. To see specialists, you will need referrals from your primary physician. This compromise means that you might pay half of the premiums for PPOs.
  • If you don’t anticipate needing much healthcare in the next year, an HDHP might be a smart choice. HDHPs are cheaper than PPOs and HMOs but have higher out-of-pocket costs. HDHPs offer savings accounts that allow you to save tax-free money on your health care. Learn more about the differences in health plans.
  • Compare the premiums, copays, and deductibles for each plan. This is the amount you will pay for healthcare services after you have met your deductible. These numbers will help you decide which plan is the most affordable.

Individual and Affordable Care Act (ACA), plans

Individual health plans can be purchased in the ACA marketplace or outside the marketplace.

The ACA created an exchange for individuals to shop and compare individual health plans. These plans must cover 10 essential benefits such as prescription drugs, outpatient hospitalization, mental health, and more.

If you purchase an ACA plan, the federal government offers tax credits or subsidies to people who meet income requirements. Subsidies are available to help reduce the cost of an ACA plan if your household income exceeds 400% of federal poverty levels.

This is approximately $52,000 for an individual and $106,000 for four people.

You will need to enter your household income information when searching for an ACA plan. This tool will give you options that include subsidies so you can see what your premiums will be.

Bronze plans are the most affordable in terms of premiums in the ACA Marketplace for health insurance. Plans are classified by metal tier in the ACA marketplace.

  • Bronze
  • Silver
  • Gold
  • Platinum

Bronze has the lowest premiums but the highest out-of-pocket and deductible costs. The Bronze plan is more expensive than other plans, but it will cost you more in out-of-pocket expenses if you require health care services.

Platinum offers the highest premiums but has the lowest out-of-pocket costs and deductibles.

Silver plans are more expensive than Bronze. If you are eligible for subsidies, a Silver plan may be cheaper than a Bronze one. Silver plans have lower out-of-pocket costs than Bronze. If you are eligible for subsidies, a Silver plan may be better than a Bronze plan.

However, ACA plans may be more costly than employer-sponsored plans if you aren’t eligible for subsidies. You might consider looking for an individual plan outside the marketplace.

Plans outside the exchanges are less restrictive and more affordable than ACA plans that don’t include subsidies.

An independent broker can help you find a plan that suits your needs.

You should check the coverage of any plan you are considering purchasing outside of the exchanges before you sign up.

How do you find the cheapest health insurance?

  • healthcare.gov is the website for the ACA exchanges. You will be asked to provide your personal information such as your address and family income. The tool will then provide you with estimates of premiums and options for health plans.
  • An HMO is better than a PPO. HMOs offer the same coverage but are less expensive. HMOs need referrals for specialists, and HMOs are limited to doctors within the HMO network.
  • If you aren’t likely to visit the doctor as often in the next year, a Bronze plan could be the best option.
  • A Silver plan is less expensive than a Bronze plan if you are eligible for subsidies. However, you will pay lower out-of-pocket costs with a Silver program.
  • You may be unable to find an affordable plan through the exchanges. Check with local health insurance providers for information and other options.

Medicaid

Medicaid is a low-cost health insurance plan that offers the same benefits as an employer-sponsored plan.

You pay little to nothing for Medicaid depending on your income. Medicaid is an affordable option for health insurance because of its low cost and extensive benefits.

Medicaid premiums are determined by income. This varies from one state to the next. Thirty-eight state have increased Medicaid eligibility to 138% of federal poverty levels. This is $17,609 per person and $36,156 per family of four. Other 12 states have more stringent eligibility requirements.

There are some drawbacks to Medicaid. Not all providers will accept it. You may have trouble finding a doctor who takes Medicaid.

How do you find an affordable plan?

  • Make sure to check with your state’s Medicaid program. You can find out if you are eligible and offer options.
  • Most states don’t offer you the option of choosing Medicaid. Instead, you will be enrolled in either the state Medicaid program or a managed Medicaid plan. This is a private insurance company that contracts with the state.

Plans for catastrophic health

Catastrophic insurance provides low-cost premiums and the same comprehensive coverage as standard health insurance. Catastrophic plans cover you for pregnancy, mental, and outpatient care.

These plans are not available to people younger than 30 or those facing particular hardships such as homelessness.

The Affordable Care Act marketplace offers catastrophic plans. These plans come with low premiums but high deductibles. The average monthly premium for these plans is $195. This is significantly lower than other plans.

The deductible is $8150. You will have to pay for your health care services up until you reach the deductible. The plan will then cover all your health care costs. Another difference about catastrophic insurance is that it does not have coinsurance.

How do you find an affordable plan?

  • Visit your state’s ACA Marketplace. You should consider catastrophic insurance if you are under 30.
  • If you are facing hardship, you will need to contact your state’s market directly and provide information.

Health plans for the short-term

Short-term health plans are another low-cost option that most Americans can choose from. A short-term plan can be found for lower premiums than an individual or employer-sponsored health plan.

These plans are not considered to be health insurance. These plans are for a limited time and don’t offer the same coverage as a traditional health insurance plan.

Short-term plans don’t usually cover mental health care, prescription drugs, or maternity. You will have to pay the entire cost once you reach the annual coverage cap.

The short-term health plan is available for one year. Most states allow you to renew them twice. California, Hawaii, and New Jersey don’t allow short-term plans. The plan’s duration is limited in Colorado, Delaware, and Washington.

These short-term plans are useful for those who have to change jobs, or until your employer covers you. These plans don’t provide long-term coverage.

How do you find an affordable plan?

  • Google will give you a list of insurers offering short-term plans for health.
  • To understand the details of coverage, read the fine print.

The Best Affordable Health Insurance Companies in 2021

Affordable healthcare insurance was once a distant dream. But the Affordable Health Care Act has changed this for many Americans. Barack Obama signed sweeping healthcare reform into law in 2010.

This allowed households earning between 100% and 400% below the federal poverty line (FPL) to be eligible for subsidies that will help them afford their premiums.

The Medicaid program for low-income adults was extended to include all adults earning less than 138% of the federal poverty line.

However, it is not easy to find affordable health insurance premiums for Americans. This is especially true for those who are at the top of the subsidy spectrum and above.

The ACA is a complex system that allows for health insurance premiums to vary based on the location you live in, the amount of money you earn, and the size of your family.

No matter where you are in these metrics, it is worth shopping around among different providers to compare plans.

Compare plans based on their offerings, monthly premiums, annual out-of-pocket costs, and other details. Investopedia compared the top providers in the space to help you find the most affordable health insurance companies.

These companies may be the most affordable in health insurance, but your premiums will vary depending on where you live, how large your family is, and whether or non-eligible for subsidies from your state exchange or Healthcare.gov.

No matter your financial situation, you can save money on your insurance premiums. Compare at least a few providers in your area to find the best deal. These companies could be a good fit for your needs, regardless of whether you are a remote worker or want convenience.

Compare providers


Company

Wins for

Key Benefits

Blue Cross Blue Shield
Remote WorkersAll 50 US states covered, plus international plans.

UnitedHealthcare
Short-term CoverageThere are plans that can be used to fill in the gaps between jobs.

Kaiser Permanente
Optional Health Savings Plan (HSA).HSA plan with debit cards

Cigna
Protection for employeesAnnual checkups at $0 and a 24-hour nurse hotline

Oscar
ConvenienceTelehealth and mobile apps

Humana
Medicare Advantage and Medigap PlansMedicare members can also take advantage of supplemental plans

How can I get affordable health insurance?

Choosing to compare different plans is one of the best ways to save money on your health insurance. You should also check if you are eligible for ACA subsidies. These can help make your insurance more affordable if your income is between 100% and 400% of federal poverty.

No matter how you shop around for affordable health insurance, you should do your research and ensure that your doctors are happy with the plan. You may end up paying more for the visits to these doctors, or even all of them.

Compare the out-of-pocket and premium costs, as well as copays, deductibles, and premiums. You can also compare the costs that are most important to you. Would you prefer lower premiums or higher out-of-pocket expenses?

Is there any time I Can Purchase Affordable Health Insurance?

You might be able to buy short-term insurance coverage anytime, but only plans that are offered with the ACA can be purchased during open enrollment unless your eligibility for a special enrollment period.

You may be able to buy short-term health insurance coverage at any time, but you can only purchase plans offered in conjunction with the ACA during open enrollment unless you qualify for a special enrollment period.

Medigap coverage has an open enrollment period. It starts in the month that you turn 65, and lasts six months if you are already enrolled under Medicare Part B. You might not be eligible to purchase Medigap coverage after the open enrollment period.

How do I choose the best affordable health insurance company?

Begin by finding out which affordable insurance companies provide plans in your region. You can then check if you qualify for subsidies on ACA plans and compare providers based upon their networks, plan deductibles, copays, and included benefits.

You should search for a plan that has an annual deductible, out-of-pocket maximum, and fits within your budget.

Is it worth using a private health insurance company?

It is important to save money on rising medical costs. This is possible by obtaining private insurance. To get private insurance affordable, you must meet the ACA income guidelines.

How to Choose the Best Affordable Insurance Companies

Investopedia compared the top 10 U.S. health insurance providers to find the most affordable options for each individual’s needs. We searched for companies with strong financial ratings as well as those that are highly rated for customer service by J.D. Power.

We also preferred affordable plans that are ACA compliant, since consumers have the option to receive subsidies to lower their monthly premiums.

 

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