How to Find Affordable Health Insurance

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How Can I Find Affordable Health Insurance?

Where Can I Find Affordable Health Insurance?

With all the debate about the new federal Affordable Healthcare Act, there is not much discussion on how to find health insurance for your budget now.

Some of the changes have already happened. For instance, your children can stay on your plan until they are 26 and insurers are prohibited from charging co-pays, co-insurance, or deductibles for a wide range of preventative care and medical screenings. But many more changes won’t go into effect until 2014, assuming that the court challenges to the new legislation don’t go through. And of course, the verdict is still out on exactly how these changes will impact the healthcare system.

So where does that leave you now if you are unemployed, self-employed, or your current employer doesn’t offer health insurance as a benefit? There is hope! Here are a few places to look if you need affordable coverage:

Go COBRA. After resigning or being terminated from your job for reasons other than gross misconduct, you can keep your company health benefits for a maximum of 18 months via COBRA. The bad news? You have to pay the full amount (not just the portion that was taken out of your paycheck every week) plus two percent for administrative costs. This can get costly if your previous employer offered a premium plan, but it still may be a good deal for the amount of coverage offered.

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Join a freelancer group. Many of them offer health insurance options as a benefit for members. For example, MediaBistro has group plans for residents of New York and New Jersey, as well as HSAs and PPOs for residents of other states.  The Freelancers Union offers health insurance in some states as well. The National Association for the Self-Employed doesn’t offer health insurance, but it does offer discount cards and HRAs, which make health insurance premiums and medical expenses 100 percent tax deductible.

Join a professional organization. Often there are niche groups, such as guilds or associations, that offer health benefits to their members. Find out what options are available for your profession in your area.

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Join your Chamber of Commerce. In some cities, the local Chamber of Commerce offers plans to small businesses, as well as individual plans. If you are starting up a business, you may qualify.

Do comparison shopping. There are many great sites that allow you to compare the different individual plans available. One such website is thcsonline.com, which provides plan information for Californians. They have representatives who are available to answer any questions you have as well.

Look into Medicaid and other state-sponsored plans. Medicaid offers insurance coverage for low income citizens. If you are unemployed or underemployed, you may now qualify. Some programs, such as Medi-cal in California, also offer coverage for pregnant women, which can be hard to find. They even provide coverage for mid-income pregnant women, so you may qualify even if you are currently working. Each state is different, so contact your local department of health care services to understand your options.

State high risk health insurance pool. Have you been turned down by a health insurance company due to a pre-existing condition? Then you may qualify for your state’s high-risk pool.

Consider short-term health insurance coverage. In between jobs? Since these insurance plans only cover you for a short period of time, the premiums are lower.

If you end up with a high-deductible plan, you can further lower your financial burden by opening a Health Savings Account. The funds must be used for qualified medical expenses, but there is no federal tax liability or penalty, and any unused money will rollover for the next year.

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For more ideas on how to slash your budget and make the most of your hard-earned dollar, check out Quizzle.com, where you can learn how to improve your credit so you can score lower rates and better terms, and how to lower your monthly mortgage payment to ease your monthly bill burden.

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