Tips for Finding Affordable Health Insurance

Open enrollment is almost upon us, which means many Americans will be considering their options for health insurance. Unfortunately, finding the right health insurance plan can be tricky – especially if you are on a budget. Where do you start? How do you know if you qualify for a subsidy? How do you know you are getting the best price?

These are all common questions when looking for affordable health insurance. To answer these questions and provide some guidance as you start your search, we offer some helpful tips for finding affordable health insurance.

Tips for Finding Affordable Health Insurance

Finding health insurance can be a daunting process, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be successful. Take a look at these tips for finding health insurance that meets your needs and budget.

Find Out Where and When to Enroll

Depending on where you live, open enrollment periods may be a bit different. Twelve states and the District of Columbia have their own insurance exchanges. Open enrollment generally begins on November 1, and lasts until December 15. These dates may vary, however, if you are using a federal exchange versus a state exchange. Check open enrollment dates for your state before you start shopping for health insurance.

Know what you Need

Before you start comparing health insurance plans, it is important to know what sort of coverage you need. You should also understand what certain health insurance terms mean, such as:

  • Deductible
  • Co-Insurance
  • Co-Pay
  • Out-of-Pocket Maximum

Research shows that only 4% of Americans know what these terms really mean. This is important so you know what your coverage and requirements are.

Set a Budget

Now that you have an idea of what sort of coverage you need, you should set a budget. How much can you afford to pay for insurance premiums each month? If you already have health insurance, you can also calculate how much you currently spend on healthcare, including prescriptions and co-pays. You can then add these costs into your budget and determine what your monthly allowance should be for a premium.

See if you Qualify for a Subsidy

If you need help paying for your health insurance, you can see if you qualify for a subsidy. Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also called Obamacare, you may qualify for a subsidy depending on your income, household size, and monthly expenses. Your subsidy amount would then be divided into 12 equal payments that would reduce, or potentially eliminate, your monthly premium cost.

Research Current Rates

You can get some general idea of the cost of health insurance by researching current rates in your state for people with a similar household size. This research is helpful, but is not an accurate way to determine how much you will pay, and for what benefits.

Check out the Marketplace

The health insurance marketplace is where the majority of states access health insurance information and apply for subsidies. The marketplace is designed to offer consumers comprehensive coverage at an affordable cost. Here, you can compare plans and providers, and see benefits, coverage limits, deductibles, out-of-pocket maximum, and more.

You should remember, however, that the marketplace only lists plans that cover essential benefits per the ACA. There may be other plans available to you outside the marketplace.

Consider Alternatives to Traditional Health Insurance

As recommended by an Abilene insurance agency, if you have exhausted your options on the healthcare marketplace, you may want to consider alternatives to traditional insurance. There are some low-cost insurance alternatives, such as short-term health insurance. Whether these plans work for you will depend on what you need in the way of coverage.

Also, don’t give up if you don’t find what you are looking for on the marketplace. You may find it helpful to contact an independent insurance agent to discuss your needs and budget restrictions. There may be other options to help you get the insurance you need at a price you can afford.