The good news is that as of 2019, there is no longer a penalty for not carrying health insurance. The bad news is that health insurance is still expensive. Finding health insurance can be like a minefield of huge premiums, unreliable coverage and hidden fees. The United States has some of the most expensive healthcare in the world, and the insurance cost reflects that. Health insurance is expensive because the treatments, branding and wages are expensive.
Apply for Insurance Through Your Workplace
In most cases, health insurance through your employer will be cheaper than purchasing individual health insurance. This is because the employer purchases health insurance which is then spread (cost included) among the employees. Pay close attention to the health insurance plan, however. Some workplaces offer better health insurance coverage than others while some don’t offer it at all. It’s increasingly important to vet your applications and discuss health insurance benefits when considering accepting a job offer. Most businesses offer health insurance for their full-time employees. On average, employees may pay around $1,427 a year for health insurance through an employer (roughly $120 a month.) In comparison, an individual may pay an average of $321 a month for individual health insurance. Families cost a substantial amount more. For stand-alone health insurance for a family of four, you may pay around $833 a month.
This doesn’t mean insurance through work is always the less expensive route, however. Health insurance costs vary per state and depend on what subsidies you’re eligible for. Make sure to run the numbers before signing up for a policy.
Choose a Smaller Plan
There are different types of health insurance coverage that offer a range of coverage at different prices. While it’s important to have the right amount of health insurance, there are ways you can scale down your health insurance coverage until you’re paying manageable premiums. If you choose to pay higher deductibles and co-pays, you will pay a cheaper rate monthly. If you visit the doctor often and want cheaper co-pays, you may want to opt for a higher monthly rate. Your plan should depend on your healthcare needs and financial abilities.
The different types of health insurance are called tiers. The tiers and their average monthly premiums are:
- Catastrophic. Catastrophic plans cover the basic ACA health benefits. For people younger than 30, a catastrophic plan can lower premiums by having you pay up front costs until you reach an annual deductible. In other words, you pay medical costs out of pocket until you reach a certain amount. Once you do, your plan will pay for the remaining covered healthcare. The monthly rate is around $244.
- Bronze. Through a higher deductible, you can lower your premiums for basic healthcare on the bronze plan. Its monthly rate is around $329.
- Silver. If you want a lower deductible and more coverage, you can purchase a silver plan with a more expensive premium. Its monthly rate is around $433.
- Gold. Though your premiums will be higher with a gold package, your out of pocket cost will be lower. It also provides comprehensive healthcare. The coverage for a gold plan is around $495 a month.
- Platinum. For the most comprehensive plan and almost no out of pocket costs, you can pay a higher premium for a platinum package. Its monthly rate is around $547.
Apply for Healthcare Subsidies
Visit Healthcare.gov to see if you qualify for a healthcare subsidy. Healthcare subsidies are available for people below the poverty line.
Do heavy research before signing any health insurance policy. Health insurance is about you and your family’s healthcare needs.
Also Read: When Should You Start Shopping for Long-Term Care Insurance?