It should come as no surprise that getting the right health insurance plan may be a bit tricky, and the difficulty of this task is made even harder if you do not have coverage under an employer, aren’t a dependent, or earn significantly less than the median wage.
It’s not all doom and gloom though, you can still take advantage of Obamacare and the Health Insurance Marketplace, as a useful tool that helps you get the best deal on health insurance even when you have limited resources to spend on coverage.
The Health Insurance Marketplace came into being as part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, popularly known as Obamacare, and it is a handy way to help you apply for health insurance.
Now, one of the amazing things about Obamacare is that it gives you the opportunity to get yourself screened for potentially deadly illnesses even if you haven’t met your deductible, and it also gives you the right to get health coverage regardless of what your insurer things if you have a pre-existing condition. One practical application of this is that all the plans offered on the Marketplace have to cover some essential health services including preventive care and emergency services.
Another thing you need to know is that you’re eligible for what is known as a Special Enrollment Period is you have a qualifying life event. This means that if you have a baby, get married or get divorced, then you’ll have the opportunity to apply for health insurance outside of the insurance period. If you do not qualify for the Special Enrollment Period, then you’ll have to wait for the open enrollment period which runs for only 6 weeks from November 1st to December 15th.
If you want access to the Marketplace, you can log in to the website and compare the available plans in order to find the one that is perfect for you. You can choose between four tiers of plans ranging from bronze to platinum, and while the platinum plans are more comprehensive but more expensive, the bronze plans are cheaper but require higher deductibles. When you begin the process of application, try to find out if you’re eligible for either the premium tax credit or a cost-sharing reduction. This would put you in the right position to find how just how much you can save on your healthcare plan.
How To Get The Lowest Possible Price
Here are a few tips to make sure that you get the best health insurance coverage for the lowest possible price. First, if your modified gross adjusted income is low and you have a large family, you qualify for both cost-sharing deduction and premium tax credit that will work to lessen your healthcare costs. Second, if you opted for a silver plan, you have the opportunity to get a reduction which lowers the amount you have to pay for deductibles, copayments, and out of pocket costs. In order to be eligible for this amazing offer however, you have to demonstrate that you are ineligible for public coverage such as Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program, are unable to get qualified health insurance through an employer, or that your income falls between 100% and 250% of the Federal Poverty Level. You also have to enroll in the silver plan through the Health Insurance Marketplace and apply for the subsidy.
If you do not qualify for the above, you may still be eligible for advanced premium tax credits which give you lower bills on insurance plans purchased through the market place. Although eligibility for this service is similar to the criteria for cost-sharing reductions, all you really need is to be ineligible for public coverage and unable to get qualified health insurance through an employer in order to qualify. You’ll also need your income to be low enough — approximately 100 to 400% of the federal poverty level — to qualify for the tax credit.
The fantastic thing about premium tax credits is that it is sent over from your government to your insurer, and that you can adjust the amount to add to your premium each month in order to make up the full amount. Take note that when filing your annual tax return, you’ll need to make sure that the tax credits you get and the amount you qualify for tally, otherwise you may either have to pay money back or get a refund.
Estimating Your Subsidy
You can make use of the nifty Kaiser Family Foundation calculator to determine the amount of subsidy you can get based on your family size and the ages of your dependents. Take note that in order to receive this subsidy, you need to have applied for the Advanced Premium Tax Credits on the Health Insurance Marketplace, and it gives you the opportunity to make use of both Cost-Sharing Reductions and Advanced Premium Tax Credits to reduce your payments.
Choosing Catastrophic Coverage
First, we need to define what a catastrophic health plan does. It covers for three primary care visits per year before the deductible is met. It also covers preventive services at no cost to you. In order to be eligible for this plan, you’ll need do be less than 30 years of age and able to prove that your income is sufficiently below the national average. Please note that if you opt for a catastrophic health plan, you won’t be able to make use of Cost-Sharing Reductions or premium tax credits.
Qualifying for Medicaid
In order to qualify for Medicaid, you’ll need to meet certain requirements, chief among which include being able to demonstrate that you make significantly less than the national average, and that you’re either pregnant, disabled or have a large family.
Note that it you qualify for Medicaid, then you don’t need a Marketplace plan.
If you’re unsure about where you fall in these categories, or where to get the right plan for you and your family, simply fill out an application on the Health Insurance Marketplace to lay your concerns to rest. You also get access to a comparative assessment of all available plans, S well as Essential Health Benefits and preventive services.
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