Does finding affordable health insurance feel impossible? It doesn’t have to be.
Cost is one of the biggest factors people consider when making any decision, especially when it comes to buying health insurance. According to a 2018 Kaiser Family Foundation study, 45% of uninsured adults said they are uninsured because the cost of health insurance was too high.
Going without health insurance may save you money today, but it’s not necessarily the cheapest option in the long-term, especially if you’re ever hit with an unexpected medical bill. For instance, the average emergency room visit cost $1,389 in 2017, and that can quickly skyrocket if you require other services, like an ambulance trip.
Health insurance is an expense, but that doesn’t mean it’s inherently expensive. Keep reading for steps you can take to help lower the cost of health insurance.
How to Find Affordable Health Insurance
There are plenty of affordable health insurance options that can give you the coverage you want without blowing your budget. Follow these steps to find the best option for your needs:
1. Determine your budget
Your health is unique to you, so there is no magic formula that tells you how much you should spend on health insurance. When evaluating health insurance plans, try not to get too hung up on your set monthly premium because it’s not the only health insurance expense you’ll have. Things like how much care you need and how you use your plan may increase or decrease your health insurance budget.
Regardless of how much you’re hoping to spend on health insurance, there are affordable options out there that can meet your health care needs.
2. Assess your health care needs
A big part of your monthly premium is determined by the amount of health care you need. For example, do you have a pre-existing condition that requires you to meet with a specialist? Are there particular procedures you need to schedule within the next year? Are you or your partner pregnant or trying to become pregnant?
Asking yourself these kinds of questions will help you determine your health care needs and medical expenses past, present, and future, so you can ultimately pick a plan that makes sense for you.
A lower premium plan may seem like the cheapest option at face value, but you may want to consider a plan with a higher premium and low deductible if you expect to use your insurance. Choosing a high premium/low deductible plan usually means you reach your deductible faster and pay less out of pocket when you require care.
3. Determine your eligibility for subsidies
You may qualify for free or low-cost health insurance depending on your income level. Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) are examples of subsidized coverage that provide free or low-cost health insurance to people who would otherwise struggle to afford it.
Your income level can also determine your eligibility for a premium tax credit to pay for an Affordable Care Act (ACA) compliant plan through the Health Insurance Marketplace plan. Keep in mind that the only way to get the premium tax credit is through the Marketplace.
4. Explore other health insurance options
A traditional individual health insurance plan offered through the Health Insurance Marketplace isn’t your only option if you’re looking for affordable coverage. Short-term health insurance, also known as short-term medical insurance, has lower monthly premiums than many Marketplace plans because it limits what and who is covered. For example, short-term insurance plans do not cover pre-existing conditions, mental health care, and pregnancy care.
However, if you don’t need all the coverage offered in an ACA-compliant plan, a short-term health plan could be a viable budget-friendly option. Vera Health’s affordable short-term health insurance plans typically include access to the Aetna Open Choice® PPO network and benefits for:
- Doctor visits
- Urgent care
- Child immunizations
- Ground ambulance trips
- Emergency room care
- Diagnostic testing and interpretation of results, depending on the state in which you purchase your plan
- Inpatient/outpatient hospital care
- Emergency surgery
- Outpatient physical therapy
- Home health care
- Prescription medications, depending on the state in which you purchase your plan*
You can apply for short-term health insurance at any time, and your coverage can kick in as soon as the next day.* Plus, you can keep short-term coverage for up to one year with the option to renew coverage for up to two more years.
If you’re in the market for affordable health insurance, Vera Health can help. Call 888-499-1187 to chat with a Vera Health pro and learn more about your coverage options, or get a free short-term health insurance quote online.
*Covered services may be subject to waiting periods, visit limitations, deductible, coinsurance, copays, and/or benefit maximums depending on the plan you purchased.
Short Term Medical coverage is not required to comply with federal market requirements for health insurance, principally those contained in the Affordable Care Act. Be sure to check your policy carefully to make sure you are aware of any exclusions or limitations regarding coverage of pre-existing conditions or health benefits (such as hospitalization, emergency service, maternity care, preventive care, prescription drugs, and mental health and substance use disorder services). If this coverage expires or you lose eligibility for this coverage, you might have to wait until an open enrollment period to get other health insurance coverage.