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.
The cheapest purchase you'll ever make is the one you don't make. It's entirely possible that you don't have to buy individual health insurance at all. Depending on which state you live in and what your income is, you might qualify for Medicaid. You can contact your nearest Medicaid office, or go to Healthcare.gov to determine if you're eligible (see step three below for the latter route).
If you are going to buy your own insurance, start your research with Web sites that explain the basics, such as healthinsuranceinfo.net, sponsored by the Georgetown University Health Policy Institute, and healthcarecoach.com, from the nonprofit National Health Law Program. They will help you understand the concepts and language of health insurance, which aren’t always easy to grasp, and should give you some sense of the questions to ask about any plan. Healthinsurance.org has useful information, but be aware that the site also provides insurance quotes from what it calls “carefully chosen partners who are in the business of selling health insurance.”
You may want to consult the HHS Health Resources Services Administration (HRSA) directory of health centers at http://findahealthcenter.hrsa.gov/ - these health centers provide care on a sliding fee scale so it is affordable for anyone. You can receive care even if you are uninsured or cannot pay. Search the directory by zip code to find the centers nearest you.
Medicare is a Federal health insurance program for people 65 years or older, certain people with disabilities, and people with end-stage renal disease (ESRD). Medicare has two parts: Part A, which is hospital insurance, and Part B, which is medical insurance. For information on Medicare, visit the website at or call toll free 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227).
Additionally, short-term health insurance plans don’t have to follow all of the Affordable Care Act’s rules. For example, a short-term health insurance policy can place a cap on benefits, limiting the insurer’s potential losses if you become seriously (and expensively) ill while you’re covered. Short-term health insurance doesn’t have to cover all of the essential health benefits. For example, it might not cover maternity care or birth control.
We are certified as “in-person assisters” by the Washington State Health Benefit Exchange. Regardless of your financial situation, we are here to guide you through the system and help you understand and apply for health insurance. Visit our online Benefit Finder or call the WithinReach Family Health Hotline at 1-800-322-2588 today to get started. Or, read on to learn more about health insurance.
The Kaiser Family Foundation web site is a good place to start in researching your eligibility for various government programs or, if you are losing coverage because of a layoff, continuing workplace benefits through the federal law known as Cobra. Once Cobra coverage runs out, insurers may be required under federal law to sell you another policy, though there’s no guarantee on the price. But different states implement this rule in different ways.
First, the protections afforded by the ACA don’t apply here. That means if you have pre-existing conditions, short-term plan providers might not cover you, and if you become seriously ill, you might not be able to renew your plan. And because short-term plans don’t qualify as adequate coverage under the ACA, you will still be hit with the same tax penalties that people without any sort of health coverage must pay.
The health care industry is slow to advance technologically, and the limitations of many legacy systems lead payers to spend time and money fixing inaccurate payments. The claims payment process needs to be more efficient. Fortunately, there are health care IT solutions to address these issues. Advancements in interoperability, integrated ecosystems, and business intelligence allow efficient and accurate payments – the first time.
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.
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.