Usually, a cheap health insurance plan means high out-of-pocket costs for minimal coverage. But low cost health insurance premiums and copayments are available if you know where to look. In some cases, you may even be able to get free coverage.
Getting a cheap and affordable health insurance plan might help your budget, but it’s important to understand the benefits and drawbacks. For example, some plans cost just a few dollars, but have minimal coverage. Continue reading for tips on finding affordable health insurance plans.
Most people receive health care benefits from their employers. Employer based health insurance is often the cheapest option. With this type of insurance, the company pays for a portion of the premium. The average employer contribution is around 82%.
Getting job health insurance means your company chooses a health care provider for you. Businesses pick group plans based on budget, the number of employees, and their employees’ needs.
Depending on the employer, employees may be able to choose a plan from a few selections. Employers may offer the following plans:
- Health maintenance organization (HMO) plans
- Exclusive provider organization (EPO) plans
- Point-of-service (POS) plans
- Preferred provider organization (PPO) plans
- Health savings account (HSA) plans
The U.S. government requires businesses with at least 50 full-time employees to provide health insurance options to at least 95% of their workers and their dependents. Otherwise, the business must pay a fee to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for each qualifying employee.
If you do not get health coverage from your employer, you may be able to buy insurance on the Health Insurance Marketplace, a federal health insurance website.
Plans are available for:
- Full-time workers who do not have access to health care through their employers
- Part-time workers who do not qualify for employer-sponsored plans
- Self-employed individuals
- Individuals between jobs
The Health Insurance Marketplace divides plans into four categories: Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum.
Each category has different share costs. For example, the insurance company pays 90 percent of medical costs for Platinum policyholders and only 60 percent with Bronze plans.
You might qualify for an advanced tax subsidy that reduces your monthly premium. Subsidy amounts are based on a few factors, including the following:
- Family size
Generally, individuals and families may qualify if their household income is no more than 400% above the Federal Poverty Level (FPL).
Individuals with higher incomes can also use the Health Insurance Marketplace to purchase a plan even if they are not eligible for the tax subsidy. Or, they can buy a plan directly from insurance providers.
Many insurance providers sell individual, family, Medicare, and Medicaid plans. These health plans tend to be more expensive than employer-sponsored or tax-subsidized plans. However, health insurance could save policyholders hundreds to thousands of dollars in medical expenses.
Depending on the applicant, some plans offered on the ACA Marketplace may be extremely low in cost or even free. Continue reading to learn more about these types of health insurance plans.