The United States health care system is unorganized and divided and focuses on intervention as opposed to prevention and complete health management. Health care costs keep on increasing at an impractical rate, and quality is far from great.
In the course of the last twenty years, policies carried out through the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) have expanded access to affordable health care inclusion to many who were previously uninsured, non-Medicare qualified adults and kids. The uninsured population came to a historic low of 8.8% under the execution of these policies. The best gains in inclusion have happened among our most vulnerable populations and young adults. Notwithstanding, the rollback of certain arrangements of these policies has increased the level of those uninsured to 15.5%, close to what it was almost ten years ago when the uninsured rate was approaching 17%, with almost 50 million individuals uninsured.
Guaranteeing that all individuals in the United States have affordable health care inclusion that gives a characterized set of essential health benefits (EHB) is vital to advance toward a healthier and more active society. Also, our health care system should start to represent and address social determinants that significantly affect individual and population health results and expenses, like financial status, housing, and occupational conditions, food security, and the environment.
Table of Contents
- 1 Individual health insurance plans
- 2 More about individual health insurance
- 3 Affordable Care Act
- 4 Special considerations regarding the Affordable Care Act
- 5 How can I get cheap health insurance?
- 6 What is the best cheap health insurance?
- 7 Conclusion
Individual health insurance plans
For individuals and families, there are 3 types of health insurance.
1. Affordable Care Act Plans
You may know Affordable Care Act (ACA) plans as significant medical, comprehensive inclusion, or even “Obamacare,” however despite what you call them, these plans meet all the necessities of the ACA and are usually the most comprehensive plans available on the market. If you have a chronic ailment or a health-related emergency, these plans can assist with preventing huge costs.
ACA plans give benefits to a wide range of health care services, both inpatient and outpatient, and can get you a good deal on routine visits to the doctor, prescription medications, preventative care, hospital stays, and more. These plans are accessible to nearly everybody, and you cannot be denied based on preexisting conditions.
2. Short-Term Plans
If in case you cannot afford the cost of an Affordable Care Act (ACA) plan or have missed the deadline to apply, you might need to think about a short-term plan. As compared to ACA plans, short-term health insurance ordinarily gives considerably less inclusion and does not assist you when it comes to avoiding state tax penalties. However, short-term plans do accept applications all year, and they can assist you with balancing costs on the off chance that you have a medical emergency that is not related to a preexisting condition.
Short-term plans do not meet the necessities of the ACA and may not cover all — or any — of your clinical requirements, so you will need to carefully read the subtleties of the plan before you decide to apply. Additionally, it is important to note that buying short-term health insurance may make you ineligible for other health insurance, including ACA plans and COBRA.
3. Medical Indemnity Plans
Also called fee-for-service plans, medical indemnity health insurance pays you a fixed sum for services, for example, $50 for a visit to the doctor. In this example, if you visit the specialist, the plan will give you $50, paying little heed to the bill for the actual visit.
When joined with other insurance, medical indemnity plans can help cover out-of-pocket clinical costs like co-pays and coinsurance. You can likewise buy a medical indemnity plan as your only insurance or as a part of an insurance bundle. However, as with short-term health insurance, medical indemnity plans do not meet the prerequisites of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and will not assist you with avoiding any state tax penalties. Indemnity plans additionally do not cover preexisting conditions and may incorporate per-incident, yearly, as well as lifetime benefit limits.
Medical indemnity plans are not appropriate for everybody, but rather in the event that you need assistance taking care of clinical expenses and costs, they might be worth another look.
More about individual health insurance
You can get individual health insurance and compare costs from all carriers in a single spot with a marketplace. Marketplaces offer more support to help you track down the right plan that suits your necessities at no additional expense for you. To get coverage, just enter some basic information (age, zip code, gender, and so forth) and look at quotes from carriers in your state. You can buy an individual health insurance plan during open enrollment or a special enrollment period. To meet all requirements for a special enrollment period, you should have a qualifying life occasion, like loss of current coverage or a change in marital status. Individual health insurance costs change contingent upon your state. By and large, you can hope to pay somewhere in the range of $225 and $327 each month for a single individual. Make sure to look search for health insurance options by the state to discover plans accessible in your area.
Affordable Care Act
Since the Affordable Care Act is one of the most widely used affordable health insurance plans in the United States, we are going to look at it in more detail. As mentioned previously, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is the complete healthcare reform and was signed into law by President Barack Obama in March 2010. Formerly known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and often just called Obamacare, the law incorporates a list of healthcare policies expected to extend health insurance coverage to a huge number of uninsured Americans.
The Act extended Medicaid eligibility, made health insurance exchanges, and made it necessary for Americans to buy or otherwise acquire health insurance. Moreover, it also restricted insurance organizations from denying coverage (or charging more) because of preexisting conditions. It additionally permits children to stay on their parent’s insurance plan until the age of 26. The ACA was intended to decrease the expenses of health insurance coverage for individuals who qualify. The law incorporates premium tax credits and cost-sharing reductions to assist with bringing down the expenses for individuals and families with a low income.
Premium tax credits bring down your health insurance bill every month. Meanwhile, cost-sharing reductions, diminish your out-of-pocket costs for deductibles, co-pays, and coinsurance, along with bringing down your out-of-pocket maximum: the total sum you pay in a year for covered health costs.
All ACA-compliant health insurance plans — including every plan that is sold on the Health Insurance Marketplace — should cover specific “essential health benefits” including:
- Ambulatory patient services
- Emergency services
- Family planning
- Laboratory services
- Mental health and substance use disorder services
- Pregnancy, maternity, and newborn care
- Prescription medications
- Preventive and wellness services and chronic disease management
- Pediatric services
- Rehabilitative and habilitative service
What’s more is that the ACA requires most insurance plans, including those sold on the Marketplace, to cover at no expense to policyholders a list of preventive administrations. These incorporate routine check-ups, patient counseling, vaccinations, and various health screenings. It likewise permitted states that opted in, to extend Medicaid coverage to a broader range of people. To date, 38 states and the District of Columbia have practiced that option.
Each year, there is an open enrollment period on the Health Insurance Marketplace, during which individuals can purchase or switch insurance plans. On the off chance that you miss this time, you cannot enroll until the next year except if you fit the bill for a special enrollment period because your conditions change, for instance, you get married, get divorced, become a parent, or lose employment that gave health insurance coverage.
Special considerations regarding the Affordable Care Act
A fundamental part of the original ACA was the individual mandate, an arrangement requiring all Americans to have healthcare coverage — either from an employer or through the ACA or another source — or face tax penalties. The mandate was eliminated in 2017. This mandate filled the double purpose of extending healthcare to uninsured Americans and guaranteeing that there was an adequately wide pool of insured individuals to support health insurance payouts.
Combined with the mandates that insurers issue coverage covering a wide scope of care and conditions, including preexisting conditions, these parts of the law were intended to overcome issues portrayed by the economic speculations of asymmetric data and the principal-agent issue.
To put it plainly, the mandates for guaranteed issues and preexisting conditions would make a monstrous industry-wide adverse selection and moral hazard issues. Since they were guaranteed coverage, only unhealthy individuals would have a monetary motivation to purchase most sorts of health coverage, while healthy individuals would have a motivator to put off buying coverage until they required it, creating a widespread adverse selection.
Meanwhile, healthy individuals would even have an incentive to take part in more practices that put their health in danger, secure in the knowledge that they would be guaranteed coverage if their actions created poor health outcomes. That is the issue of moral hazard. Necessitating that all individuals buy and maintain health insurance coverage, whether they required or needed it, was planned to beat both the adverse selection and moral hazard issues that other provisions of the law would typically make.
This mandate addressed an extraordinary extension of government control over the healthcare industry and the economy overall in that it required all individuals to buy a service (health insurance) available on the market regardless of whether they wanted to or not. This part of the law was a significant focal point of discussion and was challenged in the U.S. High Court in 2012 by the National Federation of Independent Business. The Court decided for the individual mandate as a constitutional exercise of the taxing authority of the Congress, portraying the penalties required against the uninsured as a tax.
How can I get cheap health insurance?
Medicaid is the cheapest health insurance option for eligible people. The eligibility requirement for the federal insurance program is that your household income must be less than 133% or 138% of the federal poverty level (FPL). The exact eligibility level is based on the state in which you live, since some states have passed legislation to extend their Medicaid programs to more adults with low income.
In case not eligible for Medicaid coverage, the most affordable health insurance with full medical benefits is individual coverage, which you can buy through your state marketplace. Full medical benefits imply that these health insurance plans give comprehensive coverage for all 10 of the essential health benefits that need to be covered under the Affordable Care Act. These 10 essential health benefits are as follows:
- Emergency services
- Laboratory services
- Maternity and newborn care
- Mental health and substance abuse care
- Outpatient services
- Prescription drugs
- Preventative and wellness services
- Rehabilitative services
The most affordable health insurance relies upon your household income. The least expensive choice is to enroll in Medicaid if your income falls underneath 138% of the federal poverty level. Medicaid is a federally supported health insurance program that gives health care advantages to low-income individuals. For those not qualified for this alternative, the most affordable arrangement might be through your state marketplace, along with off-exchange plans, including short-term health insurance policies.
Note that the least expensive health insurance plan may not generally be the right policy for you. Consequently, to track down the best value coverage, you ought to assess your medical necessities before purchasing a health insurance policy.
Short-term health insurance
Short-term health insurance is less expensive than marketplace health care. These plans have low-cost monthly premiums, yet the policies may only extend for a couple of months up to one year at most, contingent upon short-term health insurance laws in your state. Another justification for the decreased expense is that short-term health insurance is not needed to cover the same health benefits as individual medical plans. These health strategies ordinarily will not cover all of the essential health benefits covered under the Affordable Care Act insurance found on your state marketplace.
Cheap health insurance for students
Students frequently have extra health insurance choices. Numerous colleges and universities give free health insurance to students through a school-sponsored plan. These arrangements commonly give health insurance to most on-campus medical services, but you may lose the coverage if you become a part-time student or move schools. Another choice for certain students is to buy a student health plan. These health insurance strategies are designed for full-time students between the ages of 17 and 29. Plans can be purchased through most huge health insurance organizations and are paid either by a yearly or semiannual premium. A student health plan can be an incredibly affordable health insurance option since you will not lose your coverage on the off chance that you choose to move to another school.
What is the best cheap health insurance?
Blue Cross Blue Shield
Blue Cross Blue Shield was initially established in 1929 and has since extended to offer high-quality health insurance coverage across the United States. The organization offers coverage to 76% of America’s Fortune 100 organizations, 6.9 million individuals who work for small employers, 17 million unionized laborers, and millions of others. Moreover, Blue Shield also has options for remote workers, including health insurance that works all over the nation or even around the world.
Blue Cross Blue Shield allows you to purchase health insurance coverage that works in each one of the 50 states, and it is widely accepted by doctors and specialists from one side of the country to the other. They likewise offer coverage on the Affordable Care Act marketplaces, which implies that qualified clients can get endowments to make their health insurance expenses affordable. You can even purchase overall health insurance coverage that works for short-term or long0term travel — both real possibilities if you can work from home or from anyplace on the planet.
- Global coverage available
- Long company history and a strong reputation
- Widely accepted by doctors and specialists
- There are a lot of negative user reviews online across both Consumer Affairs and Trustpilot
UnitedHealthcare was initially established in 1977 and has since then developed enormously, and now serves over 45 million clients. This provider additionally works directly with more than 1.2 million doctors and healthcare suppliers, along with 6,500 hospitals and medical centers around the United States. UnitedHealthcare’s short-term health insurance choices, help buyers connect the gaps when they are in between plans.
Short-term insurance from UnitedHealthcare can be a good decision if you missed open enrollment for the ACA, you are waiting for coverage to begin, or you are in between jobs. You can get covered as soon as the day after you apply, and you can pick your length of coverage along with your deductible. You additionally have the alternative to drop your short-term coverage with no penalty if a long-term insurance option comes along.
At last, it is essential to keep in mind that short-term health insurance plans from UnitedHealthcare are underwritten by Golden Rule Insurance Company, which has an A rating from AM Best for its financial strength.
- Long company history
- Offers ACA-compliant plans
- Short-term health insurance available
- Below average ratings in almost all regions in J.D. Power’s 2020 U.S. Commercial Health Plan Study
- Some short-term plans are not available in every state
Kaiser started offering health insurance plans to the public in 1945 and has now developed into one of the biggest non-profit health insurance suppliers in the country. Kaiser serves more than 12.4 million individuals in eight states in addition to Washington D.C. Moreover, they offer their own Health Savings Account (HSA) option, which allows you to save up some cash for health costs in the event that you have an eligible plan.
At the point when you pair a high deductible health plan (HDHP) from Kaiser Permanente with a Health Savings Account (HSA), you get paired with a convenient debit card that directly allows you to cover qualified costs with your HSA funds and that too with no additional paperwork. Your HSA plan likewise accompanies no secret charges, and you can get the $3.25 month-to-month plan fee waived if you maintain an HSA balance of $2,000 or more. Likewise, keep in mind that Kaiser may offer ACA-compliant plans in your area, so it is conceivable that you could apply subsidies you get to make your premiums more affordable.
- ACA-compliant plans available for individuals and families
- Kaiser offers its own HSA
- Several top ratings in J.D. Power’s 2020 U.S. Commercial Health Plan Study
- Coverage is only available in eight states and Washington D.C.
Cigna was initially established in 1792, which makes it one of the longest-running insurance organizations on the planet. While Cigna coverage regions are restricted across the country, it offers extraordinary advantages to individuals in employee plans.
Cigna clients who have employee coverage enjoy advantages like $0 yearly checkups and a 24/7 Healthline that allows you to call in and get medical inquiries answered by a nurse. The myCigna cellphone application can likewise help you monitor your medical care and your medical bills, along with your general healthcare objectives.
A variety of plans are accessible for employers who select this option, including ones that incorporate dental, vision, pharmacy, and health and wellness coverage. While employee plans are accessible, Cigna additionally offers ACA-compliant plans in 10 states.
- $0 annual checkups on employee plans
- Multiple coverage types available
- Talk to a nurse 24/7
- ACA-compliant individual and family plans only available in 10 states
- Mostly below-average ratings in J.D. Power’s 2020 U.S. Commercial Health Plan Study
Oscar was only established recently in 2012, so this technologically-driven healthcare organization does not have the long history that some of its rivals do. In any case, they right now serve over 529,000 individuals in 291 counties across 18 states. This implies their coverage region is restricted, however you may in any case discover value in their policies if you live in one of their coverage regions. Oscar has a computerized healthcare experience that keeps everything convenient through a cellphone application. Moreover, the company can book healthcare arrangements through telephone or video.
Oscar makes it simple for clients to maintain a digital ID card, book appointments, and find in-network providers utilizing their cellphone application. You can deal with tasks like prescription renewals and preventative care via telephone or through a video call. With Oscar’s Virtual Urgent Care and Virtual Primary Care, you can likewise book limitless virtual visits for $0.
Likewise know that contingent upon where you live, you might have the option to purchase an ACA-compliant plan through Oscar that is made more affordable on account of healthcare endowments. You can check healthcare.gov during open enrollment to see coverage choices in your space.
- ACA-compliant plans available in eligible coverage areas
- Digital healthcare experience
- Mobile application
- Talk to a doctor for $0
- Fewer ratings and reviews to compare
- Plans only offered in 18 states
- Shorter company history than most competitors
Humana was initially established as a nursing home organization in 1961, but it developed after some time to become one of the biggest health insurance suppliers in the United States. It provides liberal coverage alternatives for Medicare Advantage and Medigap clients.
Medicare Advantage plans from Humana come in a wide range of forms, including HMO plans, PPO plans, PPFS plans, and SNP plans. While coverage alternatives fluctuate, every one of their Medicare Advantage choices incorporates essential advantages like coverage for hospital stays and emergency transportation, telehealth visits, preventative care and specialist visits, medical supplies and equipment, and outpatient care and systems. You additionally get coverage for lab work, X-rays, screening, and imaging.
Meanwhile, Humana is additionally notable for its Medicare Supplement plans, which are habitually alluded to as Humana Medigap plans. These plans are not quite the same as Medicare Advantage plans and they are offered in many states. Like Medicare Advantage, Medigap plans can help fill in the gaps conventional Medicare coverage leaves.
- All Medicare Advantage plans include a list of covered benefits
- Mostly better than average and several top ratings in J.D. Power’s 2020 U.S. Commercial Health Plan Study
- Some plans offer benefits not required by Medicare Part A or Part B
- Humana no longer offers traditional individual health insurance coverage
- Some plans not offered in all states
Health insurance is accessible for purchase through numerous administrations and suppliers. From private care to public choices, there are numerous sorts of health insurance to browse through. For some individuals, the best arrangement is individual health insurance, which can be found through your state marketplace.
Numerous individuals pay nothing if they fit the bill for the Affordable Care Act’s premium tax credit subsidy. This tax credit is taken ahead of time to bring down the measure of each monthly health premium you should pay, although it goes directly to the insurer. The sum you get will rely upon the household income that you reveal when you apply. You should make somewhere in the range of 100% and 400% of the federal poverty level to qualify.