America’s Health Rankings, compiled by the United Health Foundation, ranked California 16th overall in 2016, the same spot the state held in 2015. In the 2017 edition of the rankings, California fell one place, to 17th. Air pollution, pertussis, and disparity in health status by education level are the state’s biggest public health challenges. But the state has a low incidence of tobacco use, preventable hospitalizations, and infant mortality.
On February 20, 2018, the Trump administration proposed a plan that would loosen regulations on short-term health insurance. The Obama administration had capped short-term health insurance policies at 90 days, but the new plan would allow short-term policies of up to a year. That hasn’t happened yet, but you can essentially get the same thing by purchasing a three-month policy that will renew for the next nine months.
Now insurers have to cover you regardless of your health history, and they can't charge you more because of medical conditions. You qualify for health insurance even if you're pregnant, have a long-term condition like diabetes or a serious illness such as cancer. Health plans also can't cap the amount of benefits you receive, and they can't make you pay more than a certain amount out of pocket for health care each year. In addition, all individual health plans must cover a standard set of 10 benefits:
Regular eye exams are important to you and your family's health, and they can help detect health problems and other conditions, like diabetes and glaucoma. Our affordable vision plan provides coverage for exams and eyewear or contact lenses. Like our dental plans, you can buy a stand-alone vision plan, or you can add vision coverage to a Medical Mutual individual health insurance plan.
The Medicaid program is now called Washington Apple Health. Children’s Medicaid is called Apple Health for Kids and the adult program is called Apple Health for Adults. Washington Apple Health provides coverage for income eligible adults, pregnant women and children. Eligibility is determined by your income level and household size. For example, an individual would qualify for Medicaid if they are age 19 to 65 and their annual income was less than $16,644, with higher limits for families with children. If your income is higher, you may still be eligible for a Qualified Health Plan.
Open Enrollment 2019 has already come to a close as of December 15, and Open Enrollment 2020 won’t start until November 1, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find cheap medical insurance right now! FirstQuote Health has put together a list of the cheapest medical insurance options that you can enroll in today. These plans will help you save money, while still giving you the peace of mind of being covered in the event of a medical emergency.
One more tip: Consider opening a health savings account (HSA) if you go with a high-deductible plan, which are often called high deductible health plans (HDHP). You can sock away money in an HSA completely tax-free to help you pay for health care. Individuals can contribute up to $3,500 in 2019 as long as they are enrolled in a health care plan with a deductible of at least $1,350.
Though the actual cost will vary according to the plan you choose, as you can see below, the average cost of adding a 40-year-old spouse to a Silver plan is $504. Adding a child to a Silver health insurance plan costs, on average, $302. So, a family of five in Pennsylvania, with an adult couple and three children, would pay an average health insurance cost of $1,914, or $603 more than a family of three would pay for a Silver plan.
The set of available insurers changes by county, so the best cheap health insurance plan available to you in Illinois will depend on where you live and your chosen level of coverage. Higher metal tier health plans, such as Gold policies, have more expensive monthly premiums but significantly lower out-of-pocket expenses, such as deductibles, copays and coinsurance. So, if you have costly prescriptions or are concerned about unpredictable costs during the year if you become ill, a higher metal plan will likely be your best health insurance choice. On the other hand, if you have a large emergency savings to cover cost-sharing, but have no expected medical costs and want to keep your monthly rates down, a lower metal tier plan may be the cheapest.
In general, you’re more likely to find low-cost medical insurance through the marketplace if you’ve been a high-risk customer to insurers in the past — that is, one who is older or has known health problems. You may also find more affordable health insurance through the marketplace if your income makes you eligible for subsidies that can help keep your costs down.
Medicaid is a jointly-funded, Federal-State health insurance program that helps many people who can't afford medical care pay for some or all of their medical bills. Medicaid is available only to people with limited income. You must meet certain requirements to be eligible for Medicaid. Medicaid does not pay money to you; instead, it sends payments directly to your health care providers. Depending on your state's rules, you may also be asked to pay a small part of the cost (co-payment) for some medical services.
No matter what your health insurance needs are, it pays to shop around. Unfortunately, depending on when you’re reading this, you’ve probably missed the 2019 open enrollment window, which went from Thursday, Nov. 1, 2018, to Saturday, Dec. 15, 2018. After that date, your enrollment options in most states will be very limited until late 2019, unless you have a qualifying life event — such as getting married, losing your job, or having a child, for example.
In most cases, your coverage will take effect either the first of the next month, or the first of the month after that, depending on how late in the month you enroll. (Typically, if you enroll during the first 15 days of the month, your coverage will take effect on the first day of the next month. Enroll after the 15th and coverage won’t kick in until the first of the following month.)
Covered California has also helped Californians lower their prescription medication costs. In 2016, the state exchange rolled out a cap on prescription costs. Available to consumers purchasing off-exchange plans as well, the cap is linked to the metal level of the plan purchased and is $250 per specialty medication per month for the majority of consumers.
Supplemental coverage is not real medical insurance. In essence, you are giving up most of your benefits, and in return, you get a low monthly premium. Supplemental coverage only pays out a lump sum of cash for a qualifying medical expense, so you can forget about benefits like preventive care. It’s not recommended to have supplemental insurance as your only source of coverage, but if it’s your last resort, some coverage is better than none.
You can apply online on CoveredCA.com. This single application will let you know if you qualify for coverage through Covered California or Medi-Cal. You can also apply in person at your local county human services agency or by phone by calling Covered California at (800) 300-1506. If you need help applying or have questions, you can Find Help for free. Find a certified enroller in your area.
Apply for California health insurance coverage at eHealthInsurance. We offer thousands of health plans underwritten by more than 180 of the nation’s health insurance companies. Compare California health plans side by side, get health insurance quotes, apply online and find affordable health insurance today. You can read more about the Affordable Care Act in our Obamacare Resource Center.
“Humana” is the brand name for plans, products and services provided by one or more of the subsidiaries and affiliate companies of Humana Inc. (“Humana Entities”). Plans, products, and services are solely and only provided by one or more Humana Entities specified on the plan, product, or service contract, not Humana Inc. Not all plans, products, and services are available in each state.