Are you looking for the best ways to get affordable health insurance? This article will help you find out how you can get cheap health insurance.
In this era, everyone wants to get things done at affordable rates. Health insurance is a solution to deal with rising medical expenditures. If you plan to have health insurance for yourself, for your newborn child, or any member of the family, you would prefer to get affordable health insurance. By buying health insurance, you can receive medical care without blowing up all your savings. Health insurance plans offer much more than mere hospitalization expenses.
If you have no idea about cheap health insurance, this article will be proven helpful for you to understand through various perspectives. To select a health insurance plan, you need to consider all available options before deciding. It will help you to determine the best insurance plan.
Table of Contents
- 1 What is health insurance?
- 2 How does health insurance work?
- 3 Best affordable health insurance plans
- 4 Individual health insurance plans
- 5 Benefits of individual health insurance
- 6 What should you keep in mind while buying an individual health insurance policy?
- 7 Affordable care act
- 8 How much does health insurance cost?
- 9 Why should you buy a health insurance policy?
- 10 For how long you can be facilitated with health insurance after you leave the job?
- 11 Difference between health insurance and life insurance
- 12 Cashless health insurance
- 13 What does health insurance not cover?
- 14 When should you get health insurance?
- 15 Things that should be avoided while buying a health insurance
- 16 Conclusion
What is health insurance?
Health insurance is a plan that covers your medical expenditures such as illness and injuries, prescriptions, and treatments. It provides you with financial security by covering the expenses of treatments, check-ups, surgeries, and pre and post-hospitalization. If you have health insurance, you will be secured by medical expenses and the massive costs of unexpected accidents, illness, and disability. It lowers the medical expenditures, cost of your prescriptions, and routine doctor check-ups.
How does health insurance work?
Health insurance is a legal agreement between the insurer and a health insurance company. It works to help lower the amount otherwise you would have to pay the high cost of medical care. You have to pay a premium monthly- A fee for having the health insurance plan. Most insurance plans have a deductible. A deductible is how much you must pay for care until your health plan kicks in to share a percentage of the costs.
Deductibles can depend on the size of the firm you work for or the type of plan you buy on a federal or state government exchange. Once you meet your deductible and your plan starts to kick in, you start sharing costs with your plan. For example, your health plan is 80% of your medical costs and all you have to pay is 20%.
Your health insurance may also come with a no-cost program and services that include health and wellness discounts for services and products, incentives where you earn cash awards, and other prizes for completing healthy activities.
Best affordable health insurance plans
The best affordable health insurance plan depends on your income and medical needs. Choose the right plan and affordable company for cheap health insurance. If you are looking for a cheap health insurance plan and don’t have insurance through any means, it would be great to have a bronze plan. Its rates are low, and it provides benefits that include prescription drugs, mental health services, and preventative care. Bronze plan is the top-rated health insurance. It costs $338 per month.
Due to the additional discounts offered through the American Rescue Plan, about 80% of applicants can be facilitated with a bronze health insurance plan for only $10 per month after tax credits. A bronze plan is the most affordable health insurance that provides various medical benefits. These plans include essential health benefits such as hospitalization, maternity, and newborn care, laboratory services, emergency services, outpatient services, mental health services, prescription drugs, pediatric services, and rehabilitative services.
If you want better coverage and need a moderate amount of medical care, it would be more cost-effective to upgrade to a Silver plan. These plans cost a little more than that, but it will be more beneficial to save you on health care. Medicaid is the cheapest health insurance for low-paid income employees. In many states, you can qualify as an individual earning less than $ 17,774 or a family of 4 with an income that is less than $36,570.
Other than the Bronze health insurance plan, Silver health insurance plan, and Medicaid, there is another way “Short-term health insurance” It has cheap policies for stop-gap coverage. One bad thing about it is; it does not have essential health benefits. It usually has restrictions on who can be covered and for how long. The company decides it.
Individual health insurance plans
In individual health insurance, the medical coverage is offered to a person or an individual sum insured basis. It is the type of health insurance plan that needs to be purchased separately for each family member. It allows you to get benefits from the insurance as per your health and not for the entire family. Most individual health insurance plans facilitate emergency medical expenses that result from hospitalization costs, daycare procedures, organ donor expenses, surgical removals, or any other kind of medical treatment.
The policy of an individual health insurance plan is; you can not share the coverage amongst your family members.
Benefits of individual health insurance
- Sum insured – It comes with a maximum sum insured of Rs 1 crore depending on the insurance plan.
- Vast coverage – Individual health insurance policies offer an extensive range that includes in-patient hospitalization, pre, and post-hospitalization expenses, ambulance, and daycare charges exclusively.
- Multiple claims – It gives you the authority to claim many times a year, as long as the sum insured is not exhausted.
- Family discount – Most individual health insurance plans offer a family discount if more than two family members get insured based on an individual.
- Renewal for life – The plan offers lifetime renewability for individuals.
- Cumulative bonus – It gives a discount on a premium insurance policy if you do not file a claim in the previous year.
- Add-on covers – It offers you the option of buying add-on covers, such as restoration benefits, critical illness cover, outpatient treatment benefit, maternity benefit, etc.
- Tax benefits – It provides tax savings on the paid premium under section 80D of the Income Tax Act.
What should you keep in mind while buying an individual health insurance policy?
Before you begin the buying process of an individual health insurance policy, you should analyze your health requirements. Know what coverage and service benefit you want from the insurance policy. Also, check the list of network hospitals of the insurance company at the time of the policy. You would prefer to find any network hospital near your home or office. Do not go for an expensive health insurance policy to get higher coverage, or it may result in a financial burden.
You must check the applicable sub-limits under specific covers before choosing an insurance policy. It will ensure that you get sufficient coverage as per your expectations. Don’t forget to go through the claim of the insurance company. Also, check how many days the company takes to settle the claim.
While selecting a health insurance plan, you should choose the amount wisely as it covers the medical expenses for the whole year. It will be a better option to account for your age, the younger you are, the lower the sum insured you need. Take a look at your income levels to analyze the premium affordable. Another essential aspect is the add-ons because they impact premium amounts. Ensure to choose a sum insured which won’t fall short in case of an emergency and whose premium is not too outrageous.
Affordable care act
The Affordable care act is an American law that aims to achieve universal health insurance coverage by facilitating cooperation among employers, citizens, and the government. Another goal of the affordable care act is to make healthcare more affordable while simultaneously increasing healthcare quality and reducing unnecessary spending. The Act focuses specifically on primary and preventative care. The affordable care act requires that all US citizens and legal residents purchase health insurance to increase the pool of healthy individuals enrolled.
The Affordable care act, known as Obamacare is designed to make healthcare affordable for people regardless of income. Individuals at all income levels can sign up for cheap health insurance under ACA. If you are incarcerated and do not live in the US, You are not eligible for AFA. Also, if you are already covered by Medicare and you are not a US citizen, US national, or lawfully present in the US, you will be marked as ineligible.
The ACA requires most screenshot plans, including those sold on the marketplace, to cover at no cost to policyholders a list of preventive services. These include patient counseling, regular checkups, immunizations, and numerous health screenings. In addition, it allowed states that opted in to extend Medicaid coverage to a wide range of people. As of June 2021, 37 states and the District of Columbia had practiced that option.
Every year, there is an open enrollment period on the health insurance Marketplace during which people can buy or switch insurance plans by their choice. If you miss that time, you won’t be able to enroll until the following year unless you qualify for a peculiar enrollment period because your circumstances change, you may have to face tax penalties. It is the rule.
Other than that, the act promotes the creation of state health insurance “Exchanges” that allow employers and individuals to select health insurance options that are eligible for federal subsidies by state and federal regulations. The Act incentivizes the creation of “wellness programs” in the workplace by offering discounts, and waivers towards the cost of insurance to more thoroughly integrate employers into the program and emphasize preventative care.
Despite the availability of subsidies and cost-sharing reductions, the reliance of the affordable care act on health insurance exchanges may both increase access to health insurance and simultaneously pose unintended barriers to access, specifically for low-income populations. The most publicized method is through the creation of narrow networks, where insurers offer plans and policies with fewer doctors and hospitals to keep premiums as competitive as possible.
How much does health insurance cost?
Across the United States, Americans pay wildly different gratuities for monthly coverage. Several factors contribute to the price of health insurance premiums, including state and federal laws, where you live, whether you get insurance through your employer, and which type of plan you choose.
In 2020, annual bonuses for health coverage for a family of four averaged $21,342, but employers picked up 73% of that cost. The rise in employer health costs may be the reason wages have not risen much over the past two decades. The highest benchmark plan for a 27-year-old in 2022 was Wyoming’s at $648; the lowest was New Hampshire’s, at $273.
In 2022, the average cost of individual health insurance for a 40-year-old person on a silver plan is $541. A factor in your health insurance plan is your location because the prices vary depending on the state and country you live in.
From 2021 to 2022, as per record, health insurance costs across the nation increased by less than 1%. South Dakota faced the largest year-over-year jump in health insurance costs for a 40-year old on a silver plan increasing just over 23%. Including South Dakota, 27 states had their rates increase on average from 2021 to 2022 as per record.
For those without cover, entrepreneurs, and the self-employed, taking out private health insurance is a common route. The average cost of purchasing your health insurance policy in this way is $465 per month for unsubsidized individuals in the USA, according to a 2020 survey.
Why should you buy a health insurance policy?
In this era, medical costs are skyrocketing. They are high today and will be higher shortly. An individual or family floater health insurance is a smart way to safeguard your savings during a medical emergency. Employer-provided health policy is not enough to fulfill medical expenses. A health cover provided by your firm ceases to cover you once you switch jobs. Furthermore, you cannot be facilitated with benefits as per your needs. That’s why investing in a health insurance policy covers up to 2 adults adequately.
Occasionally, you end up bearing out-of-pocket expenses for your family’s health check-up, seasonal sickness, illness, or any other unexpected accident. These costs put together can be a burden on your pocket. In such cases, a family floater health insurance will help you avoid just that.
A very good reason why you should buy a health insurance policy is; you can also get tax benefits on health insurance premiums. Premium paid towards your health insurance policy are eligible for tax deductions under section 80D of the Income Tax Act, 1961. In the case of the individual, the quantum of the deduction is 25,000 for himself and his family. If the individual or spouse is about 60 years old, the deduction available is 50,000. In the case of uninsured super senior citizens (around 80 years old), the medical expenditure incurred up to Rs 50,000 shall be allowed.
Keep these advantages in mind and choose wisely from numerous medical insurance plans available in the market. Based on your personal needs and requirements, select the best plan and do not miss out on this opportunity to get benefitted. It is way better to buy a cheap health insurance policy than to blow up all your savings. It provides risk coverage against expenditure caused by any foreseen medical emergencies.
For how long you can be facilitated with health insurance after you leave the job?
Although there is no set requirement, most employer-sponsored health insurance ends on the day you leave your job. It may end at the end of the month when you stop working. The employer sets the rules for when employer-sponsored health coverage ends once you resign or are terminated. To figure out your employer’s policy, talk with your HR department about employer-sponsored insurance.
If you plan to leave your job in the first week of a month, your HR representative will inform you that the company terminates the health insurance at the end of the month of the employee’s last day. It simply means that you would no longer be covered by the next month depending on your company’s policy.
Difference between health insurance and life insurance
Health insurance covers the costs of hospitalization and related treatment to a maximum amount while life insurance financially safeguards your family in case of your untimely death. It can help them to maintain their lifestyle and achieve their goals in your absence. Its core benefit is a sum assured is paid to the nominee of the person. Life insurance is a comprehensive cover that is not limited to a certain expense. Its premiums are fixed and flexible depending upon the type of life insurance you picked. Check out the difference between health insurance and life insurance below:
- Health insurance is a short-term plan whereas life insurance is a long-term plan.
- Life insurance is generally for a fixed tenure and is terminated once the tenure of the insurance is over whereas the tenure of health insurance is not fixed. Under normal circumstances, the insured renews the policy annually to continually have the protection coverage it offers.
- Health insurance is the protection cover for self as well as the family, to avoid any unfortunate eventuality such as loss of life due to financial constraints whereas life insurance mainly protects your family/nominee/beneficiary financially in the eventuality of the insured’s demise.
- Health insurance comes with no survival or death benefit as it only caters to your current medical needs and treatment expenses whereas life insurance gives the option to choose both survival and death benefits at the end of the policy term.
- Health insurance does not refund any amount at the end of the policy term. The amount comes back only reimbursement that too against the expenditures you incurred during the term of your illness or any other medical expense whereas in some cases, by paying an extra premium, the money you invest comes back to you tax-free.
Cashless health insurance
Cashless health insurance refers to health insurance that gives you the choice to opt for your required treatment without having to pay any cash. The costs of your medical treatment are directly taken care of by the hospital and your health insurer.
For example, If you or your family member is affected by Covid 19 and needs to be admitted for treatment, cashless medical insurance will ensure you don’t need to pay upfront for the medical costs. All you need is approval from your health insurer or third-party administrator. To know more about cashless health insurance, check out the following ways;
- When you need to make a health insurance claim, choose any hospital from the broad networks of any company of your choice. There are only hospitals where you will be able to claim cashless health insurance.
- Let the hospital authority know at least 3 days in advance if you are going to a planned hospitalization or within 24 hours in a medical emergency case.
- When you are at the hospital that provides cashless health insurance, you will need to share your health e-card and ID proof with the hospital authority.
- Get your pre-authorization from the hospital before treatment.
- After your forms are filled and signed, ensure the hospital shares them with the third-party administrator (mediator between the hospital and your health insurer.
What does health insurance not cover?
What’s not covered in health insurance varies on the plan you choose. Usually, alternative medicine such as herbal healing, massage, and acupuncture are not covered in the health insurance plan. It also does not cover cosmetic surgeries like plastic surgery, laser hair removal, liposuction, rhinoplasty, and weight loss surgery. This depends on the plan you get. Some procedures may be covered if they are medically necessary.
In case you fail to get the required precertification for care or service, your health plan may deny your coverage. The experimental surgeries or treatments that use new technology or methods that have not proven outcomes would not be covered in the insurance plan.
Once you know your health plan works, you will be at peace for not paying unnecessary out-of-pocket costs.
When should you get health insurance?
To choose the right time for health insurance, ask yourself. Do you want to live a risk-free life or do you like to live life on the edge? If you have a chronic health condition that requires immediate treatment, go for it RIGHT NOW!!
If you are offered the health plan through your employer, avail of the opportunity immediately. Your employer helps to give your medical bills. Preventative care is a big saving for you and your family. If you have a family of four, are you able to pay for their routine check-ups and screenings? With the help of a health insurance plan, you can be free of the burden of sudden medical expenses. Imagine facing an unexpected accident when you lack savings. It will be more difficult to arrange money in a hurry. So choosing a health insurance plan at the right time is a better idea than being in any tense situation.
If you feel healthy and at low risk for illness and you don’t want to spend on paying for a comprehensive health plan, consider ‘Comprehensive health insurance. This plan offers a basic level of coverage in the event of a serious accident. You can also go for ‘Short-term- health insurance’ which covers normal medical coverage in gaps.
Things that should be avoided while buying a health insurance
Health insurance is a crucial thing to keep in mind. While buying a health insurance plan, avoid making the following mistakes.
- Hiding your accurate medical history
Some insurers conceal their medical history while applying for health insurance policies fearing rejection or high premiums. Hiding medical history or lifestyle habits such as smoking or taking any drug can act against the insured at the time of claims. If the information gets disclosed, it can result in serious denial of the claim.
2. Insufficient policy coverage
The premium rate of prime consideration is to decide from a wide range of health insurance policies. However many individuals choose sub-optimal coverage plans to have an economic premium and select plans with restricted insurance coverage. In this case, the restricted insurance coverage may leave an individual to pay out-of-pocket at
the time of a medical emergency.
3. Lack of sufficient research
Some individuals buy a health insurance policy in a hurry that they forget to go through the policy terms and conditions. Sometimes they don’t even remember to compare different policies and rather buy the first policy cones their way. Later on, they hear about a better policy and regret.
Choosing the health insurance policy for yourself or your family is a never-regretting decision of life. Be vigilant while buying the insurance. Analyze your needs and health requirements. Select the cheap health insurance company and understand their policy and terms thoroughly. Buy the health insurance policy before it’s too late.