One of the easiest ways to save money is to compare health plans sold on an exchange and those sold directly through an insurer.
Tips for Finding Affordable Health Insurance
When the Affordable Care Act went into full effect in 2014, it gave uninsured Americans a powerful incentive to go out and obtain a health policy: a fee if they didn’t comply. And while the penalty was relatively mild then, it’s only been increasing since 2015. As a result, many individuals who never thought they could afford health insurance are being pushed into the marketplace.
There is some good news for those on a budget, however. The ACA provides more insurance options than before. And those on the lower end of the income scale qualify for subsidies that make premiums a lot more manageable.
If you’re one of the many Americans looking for insurance on their own because they don’t get coverage through work, here’s what you need to know to keep your payments as low as possible.
See if You Can Get a Subsidy
If you’re buying an individual health care plan, you can either do so the old-fashioned way – purchasing it directly from a carrier – or shop policies on your state’s health insurance exchange. An exchange, or “marketplace,” is comprised of private insurers who must offer standardized plans for individuals, families and small businesses.
From a cost perspective, going through this marketplace is a double-edged sword. Because the government sets minimum standards for what’s covered under these plans, their sticker price is sometimes higher than plans sold outside the exchange. However, some consumers can get income-based tax credits if they use the marketplace. For that reason alone, it’s worth checking them out when you go looking for a policy.
To obtain a subsidy as an individual, you have to be a citizen or legal resident of the U.S. and earn less than 400% of the federal poverty level. Currently, that amounts to $47,520 or less per year for an individual and below $97,200 for a family of four. Once you go on the exchange website, you’ll be asked for your income and family size to determine your eligibility.
Decide if a Basic Plan Fits Your Needs
One of the easiest ways to keep your monthly expenses in check is to choose a high-deductible health plan (HDHP). You’ll have lower premium, but also a lot more risk if something unforeseen should happen – they’re called high-deductible plans for a reason.
Read more: Tips for Finding Affordable Health Insurance | Investopedia http://www.investopedia.com/articles/personal-finance/112914/tips-finding-affordable-health-insurance.asp#ixzz41sjODsZJ
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