If you’re new to health insurance in the United States, you’ll find it’s expensive. But cost isn’t the only problem for beginners trying to get health insurance. It’s also a complex system with multiple entry points. Since you can potentially get health insurance from many different sources, for example, the government, from your job or university, or from a private insurance company, it’s not always clear where you should start looking when shopping for low-cost health insurance.

SB10 – This bill was introduced in 2015 and was signed into law by Gov. Brown in June 2016. It would have allowed undocumented immigrants to purchase unsubsidized coverage in the exchange, but the state needed a waiver from HHS in order to implement the law (the ACA does not allow undocumented immigrants to purchase coverage in any state’s exchange, even if they pay full price). California submitted a waiver proposal to HHS, but ultimately withdrew the waiver two days prior to President Trump’s inauguration. California State Senator Ricardo Lara (D, Bell Gardens) had introduced and championed SB10, but he requested that the waiver proposal be withdrawn (and Gov. Brown agreed) because the state was concerned that the Trump Administration could use information from the exchange to deport undocumented immigrants.

A high deductible health insurance plan has higher deductibles and lower premiums than most other health insurance plans. This means you pay a smaller fixed amount every month, but it will take a longer time for insurance to kick in and begin cost-sharing (meaning you will pay your percentage of coinsurance for every bill). You might benefit from this plan if you don’t require many doctor’s visits or other healthcare benefits. Look at quotes for high deductible health insurance plans to figure out if this plan is right for you.
Our short-term health insurance plans can help you bridge the gap in your healthcare coverage for up to three months when you're going through a transition. Short-term plans can save you money, but they aren't compliant with the Affordable Care Act and they don't have coverage requirements. Pre-existing conditions aren't covered and you will be subject to medical questions and Underwriting approval.

To get the subsidy, you must apply for it and purchase a plan through your state’s health insurance exchange, also known as the Health Insurance Marketplace. The amount you receive will depend on the estimated household income that you put on your Marketplace application. Usually, you must make between 100 and 400 percent of the federal poverty level to qualify.


According to the Kaiser Family Foundation’s 2017 report, the average monthly premium for a single individual (without a spouse and kids) is $558. The average premium for people who qualify for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, which means you’re getting subsidies and/or tax credits, is around $89 a month (about 85 percent of Americans are eligible for subsidies). But let’s say that you’re not eligible for subsidies or tax credits. Your average monthly payment would be $440, according to eHealth.com, so you’d still come out ahead.
Pull your medical costs from the past few years (ballpark estimates are better than nothing if you don't have this information readily available). Next, calculate how much you would have spent out-of-pocket based on the deductibles, co-payments, and co-insurance, plus what you would spend on monthly premiums with each plan. You just might find that the cheapest health insurance plan in terms of total cost actually isn't a bronze plan -- or even a silver plan.
In the ACA-compliant market, private health plans can only have first-of-the-month effective dates (with an exception for new babies or newly adopted children), and depending on the date that you apply, your effective date could be the first of the second following month. And if you enroll during open enrollment, your coverage won’t start until the first of the year, which can be two months in the future if you sign up at the start of the enrollment period.
In the ACA-compliant market, private health plans can only have first-of-the-month effective dates (with an exception for new babies or newly adopted children), and depending on the date that you apply, your effective date could be the first of the second following month. And if you enroll during open enrollment, your coverage won’t start until the first of the year, which can be two months in the future if you sign up at the start of the enrollment period.
Cheap health insurance typically has low premiums, high deductibles and limitations on services and covered procedures. Research insurance plans and take time to consider the various health coverage options available before making a selection. Health Plan One can help you quickly sort through available health insurance plans available by using our online system (start by entering your zip code at the top), by emailing us or calling 877.56 PLANS to speak to a an agent and receive free quotes.
Plans sold outside the marketplace are still categorized by metal tiers, and they still must offer the same minimum benefits to qualify as sufficient coverage under the Affordable Care Act. But you might find a plan with a wider network or a better price. Remember, though, you cannot qualify for tax credits for premium discounts when you buy outside the marketplace.

Perhaps the easiest step of all is to go to the Healthcare.gov website and complete an application. It's easy, that is, if you're doing so during an open enrollment period (the next one starts on Nov. 1) or if you have a qualifying life change. These life changes include getting married, having a baby, or losing other coverage. The website, by the way, will help you find out if you have had a life change that qualifies. 
Medicare insurance plans include coverage for hospital, medical, and some prescription drugs. Medicare supplemental insurance plans, also called Medigap, can help pay for your copays and deductibles. You can also explore Medicare Part D plans, which are a standalone prescription drug program offering coverage for medication costs. eHealth makes it easy to browse insurance plans in your area while advocating for you throughout the process. Guidance is available at no cost from more than 200 licensed insurance agents.
The higher metal tier health plans, such as Gold and Platinum tiers, come with higher premiums, but significantly lower out of pocket expenses, such as deductibles, copays and coinsurance. Therefore, they're typically a more cost-effective option if you expect to have consistent or high medical expenses. For instance, people with consistent prescription needs may want to consider Gold and Platinum plans that have cheap out-of-pocket expenses for prescription drugs.
Pull your medical costs from the past few years (ballpark estimates are better than nothing if you don't have this information readily available). Next, calculate how much you would have spent out-of-pocket based on the deductibles, co-payments, and co-insurance, plus what you would spend on monthly premiums with each plan. You just might find that the cheapest health insurance plan in terms of total cost actually isn't a bronze plan -- or even a silver plan.

The State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), created in 1997, expands health coverage to uninsured children whose families earn too much for Medicaid but too little to afford private coverage. Through the national "Insure Kids Now" initiative, each state has its own SCHIP program that makes health insurance coverage available to children in working families. For more information, visit www.insurekidsnow.gov or call toll free 1-877-KIDS-NOW (1-877-543-7669). This website and toll free number also provide information on Medicaid.
If you're looking for a middle ground—health insurance with both affordable premiums and out of pocket expenses—we typically recommend looking at Silver plans. Silver health insurance plans have lower out-of-pocket costs than Bronze plans, but cheaper monthly premiums than the Gold or Platinum policies. In addition, if you have a lower income household, Silver plans are eligible for cost-sharing reduction subsidies (CSR), meaning you may qualify for an even more affordable rate.
Attention: In offering this website, eHealthInsurance Services, Inc. is required to comply with all applicable federal law, including the standards established under 45 CFR 155.220(c) and (d) and standards established under 45 CFR 155.260 to protect the privacy and security of personally identifiable information. This website may not display all data on Qualified Health Plans (QHPs) being offered in your state through the Health Insurance MarketplaceSM website. To see all available data on QHP options in your state, go to the Health Insurance MarketplaceSM website at HealthCare.gov.
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