Cheap individual health insurance policies are hard to find. But there are many “gems” that selected carriers have in their portfolio. If you presently can not afford to purchase medical benefits, we can help. Many available policies are great choices for consumers that don’t have a lot of their hard-earned money to spend. You can obtain comprehensive benefits that pay first-dollar expenses from the most reputable companies. Typically, most US counties offer multiple plans from three or more companies.
With the help of a federal subsidy, several low-deductible and low copay plans are usually offered in your area. Silver-Tier plans that qualify for special “cost-sharing” provide low premiums, and smaller copays and deductibles. The cost sharing reduction (CSR) provides premium tax credits that are instantly applied. Once out-of-pocket maximums are reached, covered benefits are paid at 100%. Bronze, Gold, and Platinum-Tier contracts do not offer “cost-sharing.”
Large federal aid will often pay most, and sometimes all of your premium. A $1,200 per month rate can reduce to $50 per month or lower. In many situations, the monthly cost to provide coverage for an entire family may be less than $150. Also, if the cost of available plans exceed 8% of your household income, additional financial assistance may be able to help. The Federal Poverty Level (FPL) guidelines can help determine many of your options. If the projected household income is not high enough, Medicaid becomes a viable option to consider. However, an Exchange plan can be selected, but without the usage of federal subsidies.
Medicaid Expansion in many states has provided additional low-cost plans to millions of Americans. Currently, the only states that have not approved expansion are Texas, Kansas, South Dakota, Wyoming, Wisconsin, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Florida. Approximately 4 million persons could potentially be covered with expansion. A 90% federal matching rate (FMAP) match (from the ACA) is available.
Federal and State Marketplaces provide additional options with high and low deductibles. Along with Medicaid and CHIP for lower-income households, and Medicare and Medigap supplements for Seniors, many cost-savings options are available. Plans G (HD) and F (HD) provide high-deductible Medicare Supplement options for Seniors. Monthly premiums are often less than $60 per month, and once the deductible is met, benefits can be utilized. Each year during the Open Enrollment process, you can change to a different Supplement plan. Note: Plan F (HD) plans are no longer offered as a newly-purchased contract.
Healthy Vs. Unhealthy Applicants
If you are healthy and do not have any major conditions, “Catastrophic” and “Bronze” Metal tier rates are often lower than traditional group coverage for individuals and families. Recently, as employers contribute less towards employee’s health care, employer-sponsored policies are becoming quite expensive. Depending on the size of the company, individual group plans can cost as much as $600 per month, and family coverage as much as $1,500 per month. Dental and vision benefits will further increase the premium. Also, PPO plans may not be offered, and instead are replaced by HMO or EPO plans.
Although medical conditions do not impact the price you pay for Exchange coverage, often, the least expensive plans are the most appropriate for extremely healthy persons. Premium savings can be much better utilized, or perhaps invested safely in another contract. However, higher deductibles and out-of-pocket limits could create a financial challenge if enough assets are not readily available. Deductibles as high as $8,700 are very common.
Also, many policies that feature lower deductibles ($1,000-$3,500) often include out-of-pocket maximum limits as much as $9,100. Coinsurance on Marketplace plans is typically 0%, 10%, 20%, 30%, 40%, or 50%. Gold and Platinum-tier plans feature lower deductibles (sometimes $0), although out-of-pocket maximums generally remain high.
If you rely on non-generic medications and/or continuous expensive treatment or therapy, a high-deductible policy with thousands of dollars of out-of-pocket expenses is not the best solution. The combination of low premiums, low copays and no (or very small) deductible needs to be found. If you are treated for an extremely expensive chronic condition, and your deductible and maximum out-of-pocket expense limit will be met, a Bronze-tier plan may (not always) be more cost-effective than a Gold-tier plan.
A subsidized plan will give you the opportunity to enroll in a policy from a top-rated company with a good portion (perhaps most or all) of the premium payed by the federal government in the form of an instantly-applied credit. To qualify for federal “subsidies,” your household MAGI (Modified Adjusted Gross Income) must meet Federal Poverty Level guidelines. Using an average US subsidy calculation for Kansas City residents (each area will vary), we have illustrated below the approximate monthly government aid you can receive to help pay your premium:
25 Year-old with household income of $25,000 – $341
35 Year-old with household income of $30,000 – $378
50 Year-old with household income of $35,000 – $530
32 Year-old couple with household income of $40,000 – $776
44 Year-old couple with household income of $50,000 – $821
54 Year-old couple with household income of $55,000 – $1,292
30 Year-old couple and two children with household income of $100,000 – $791
42 Year-old couple and two children with household income of $95,000 – $997
48 Year-old couple and two children with household income of $90,000 – $1,288
54 Year-old couple and two children with household income of $90,000 – $1,655
Expansion Of Medicaid Eligibility
Many states have liberalized their Medicaid eligibility requirements so that more consumers can quickly and easily qualify. If you’re under age 65 and make less than 133% of the Federal Poverty Level, you may be eligible for help. We provide this link, which shows you specific Medicaid guidelines in your state, and an easy method to determine if you can qualify for benefits. For example, at the 133% and 150% levels, we have listed below the monthly incomes of different household sizes, that would qualify for assistance.
1 Person – $1,507
2 Persons – $2,030
3 Persons – $2,552
4 Persons – $3,076
5 Persons – $3,599
6 Persons – $4,122
7 Persons – $4,645
1 Person – $1,700
2 Persons – $2,289
3 Persons – $2,879
4 Persons – $3,470
5 Persons – $4,059
6 Persons – $4,649
7 Persons – $5,239
1 Person – $4,532
2 Persons – $6,104
3 Persons – $7,676
4 Persons – $9,252
5 Persons – $10,824
6 Persons – $12,396
7 Persons – $13,968
You can apply at any time of the year since there is not a formal Open Enrollment period. Adults, children, pregnant women, and persons with specific disabilities are part of the more than 50 million persons covered by these programs (including CHIP). Although there are no medical requirements, immigration and citizenship requirements would have to be met. It is also prudent to compare COBRA health insurance rates (if you are eligible) to other available options. Coverage is guaranteed and your benefits will be identical to your employer-provided policy.
How We Find Low-Cost Plans
We specialize in finding the medical plans that cost the least, but also provide comprehensive benefits. The prices on our site represent the most competitive rates available. There are never any costs for visiting or using our website, and we’ll continue to help you as long as you need assistance. If you are getting ready to go on Medicare, this page may help you with some of your choices. Medicaid-eligible applicants that have reached age 65, will be presented with additional options. Many “Dual” plans are offered, and copays and deductibles are typically very low.
As national medical reform and state health insurance Exchanges continue to evolve and change, we provide the resources to show you the best way to take advantage of any tax credits that might reduce your rate. Although you may not believe you can afford quality benefits, we find and compare options that will fit within your budget. Short-term plans can be kept for up to 36 months in many states, and are a low-cost option in many situations.
Of course, these credits can change every year, depending on new legislation or your income. Yes, the more money you make, the lower the government assistance you will receive in the form of tax relief. However, since federal subsidies are indexed, built-in inflation protection will keep your financial aid stable, even if your income slightly increases each year. New programs introduced by the Trump Administration will offer more customized plans that better fit your specific concerns.
Often, the cheapest type of individual health insurance is catastrophic coverage. This type of benefit typically costs significantly less than comprehensive plans, while still providing “big ticket” benefits. Some of the inpatient expense benefits include room charges, intensive care, operating and recovery room, prescriptions, and professional fees of specific providers. Since so many deductible and out-of-pocket expense options are available, customized policies can be selected.
Through Open Enrollment each year, changes can also easily be made. For example, since subsidies are offered on non-catastrophic-tier plans, it may become very cost-effective to change to a Bronze-tier or Silver-tier plan if major changes in household income occurred. Cost-sharing may be available with Silver-tier plans, depending upon the total household income. Cost-sharing plans can potentially lower deductibles, copays, and out-of-pocket expenses.
Self-employed business owners often prefer these types of options since their budget may be tighter and they may be paying for employee benefits as well. Often, selecting a higher deductible and offering some of the savings back to the worker will be popular for both parties. And this strategy used over a 5-10 year period can translate into substantial savings. If chronic disease is present, changing to another type of coverage may be more cost-effective.
An “HDHP” (High Deductible Health Plan) can be attached to an HSA to provide tax-favored treatment of medical, dental, and vision expenses. Contributions are optional, and deposited funds can also be used after you become eligible for Medicare. However, additional deposits are not allowed for any person receiving Medicare benefits.
Catastrophic policies often cover many outpatient expenses such as X-ray and lab costs, emergency room fees for illness or injury, outpatient surgery facility and hospital fees, CAT scans, MRIs, radiation treatment and chemotherapy. A deductible and coinsurance typically must be met before any benefits are paid. Of course, as previously noted, higher deductibles will increase your out-of-pocket costs but reduce the premium that you pay. It’s a risk, but the rewards can be substantial.
IMPORTANT: When the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) was passed, the enrollment criteria for catastrophic Marketplace (Exchange) plans changed. Applicants must be under the age of 30 or show proof of financial hardship to buy these low-cost plans since they don’t contain several benefits that other Metal options contain, such as maternity, and specialists visits without having to meet a deductible.
However, If your existing policy was cancelled, and you can’t afford other available policies, you may apply for a hardship exemption. There are several other hardship exemptions, including previously large unpaid medical bills, caring and paying medical expenses of a family member, and recent bankruptcy filing. Beginning in 2024, it is possible that the age restriction will be removed. Also, other high-deductible (perhaps $10,000 or more) options may become available for off-Exchange purchase.
Cheap Policies For Students
Low cost student insurance plans are also offered by most of the reputable companies. If you qualify for a federal aid, premiums are generally under $100 per month (less than $50 in some states) and coverage is designed to provide major medical benefits along with flexible office visit and prescription coverage. Often, purchasing benefits from a reputable insurer is a better option that purchasing a plan directly from the school. Coverage tends to be more comprehensive and a major insurer can offer off-campus medical facilities and doctors. Larger Universities often feature the most attractive options.
If student maternity benefits are needed, both private and school-sponsored policies can provide inexpensive comprehensive coverage. If you qualify for a large federal subsidy, an Exchange plan (possibly Silver or Gold tiers) will provide lower out-of-pocket cost with complete prenatal, maternity and delivery benefits. Your newborn can also be easily added to your policy, without having to qualify medically, or meet Open Enrollment requirements.
Important Note: The fine (tax) for not having qualified medical benefits (as required by the law) was previously 2.5% of your entire household income. The tax has been repealed. Thus, if that income was $40,000 per year an you remained without coverage, $1,000 was be deducted from the following year’s tax refund, or you were assessed an extra tax the following calendar year.
However, if you did not (legally) need to file a return because of low income, you were not subject to the penalty. For example, if you were unemployed most of the year and your income was $8,500, you did not have to file a tax return, and thus, were not subject to the fine.
View Plans Now
To see options in your area, a box to enter your zip code is available at the top of the page. Very quickly, you’ll be able to compare plans side by side. And if you apply to purchase a policy, it doesn’t take long and the paperwork is very easy to complete. If you feel you can not afford a policy, you may be eligible for a federal subsidy, Medicaid, or another government program that helps you obtain cheap or free office visits and/or prescriptions.