Budget medical insurance plans can save money, while still providing quality benefits for you and your family. We help you find affordable policies that cover all of your needs at the best available prices. You can easily apply for coverage online and stay within your financial spending plan. During Open Enrollment periods, a federal subsidy can also substantially lower your premium. Senior Medicare coverage is offered to most persons that have reached age 65. This includes Supplement, Advantage, and Part D prescription drug plans.
Often, the federal government is not very good at maintaining a balanced budget that keeps bills and obligations paid on time. However, it’s easier to stay within your healthcare spending guidelines for your household. We show you the best ways to save money, including possibly qualifying for financial assistance that can make a dramatic effect on how much you pay. Purchasing discounted benefits places more of your own money, in your own pocket. Maximum out-of-pocket expenses can reduce, and copays and deductibles can become more manageable.
Coverage is offered from top US health insurance companies such as Blue Cross, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Aetna, Humana, UnitedHealthcare, Ambetter, Molina, Cigna, and other carriers who offer affordable plans to individuals, families and the self employed. Benefits can be customized to properly cover existing conditions or future surgeries. Although some areas don’t offer a wide selection of insurers, additional options are typically available, including short-term and “medi-share” plans. However, plans purchased outside of the Open Enrollment period (without a qualified SEP exception) are likely not to contain all “essential health benefits.”
These inexpensive policies still include rich benefits and major medical coverage to protect against the catastrophic loss. In some states, lesser-known companies feature high deductible off-Exchange options worth considering. Although not eligible for federal subsidies, the low premiums and high out-of-pocket limits are attractive to some consumers. However, chronic conditions and ongoing expensive medical treatment are situations where a more conventional plan will be much more cost-effective.
Many states have “Regional” carriers that are based locally and often offer lower deductibles than the larger companies and very attractive rates. They are able to negotiate attractive pricing with local healthcare providers and pass the savings to the consumer. Previously, many Co-operatives offered Exchange plan options. But many of these companies were saddled with large losses and discontinued their services.
Geisinger Health Plan in Central Pennsylvania and Summacare in Northern Ohio are two examples. Although they do not have large national Networks, they are very reliable companies. And their customer-satisfaction ratios are very high compared to some of the larger companies in the area. These carriers also offer Senior Medigap products, including Supplement and Advantage plans.
Creation Of Subsidized Plans
With the creation of Exchanges six years ago, it’s much easier for you to understand your options. Open Enrollments always begin in October or November, and with the inclusion of tax-credit subsidies, an experienced broker is needed more than ever. You can also keep your existing plan if it is “grandfathered.” These types of plans were issued in early 2010 (or before) and although they omit several required benefits, they are often much cheaper than purchasing a new unsubsidized plan.
Since premiums are regulated by the state, we are able to offer the lowest available prices from the carriers. But low cost plans often contain slightly different coverages than more comprehensive options, so we feel it is important to fully explain and review any differences, to insure you are applying for the most appropriate policy. If a policy costs less, in most cases, there is a reason.
Whether it happens to be low premiums for a particular area, or a benefit that is limited, it is important to know the specifics. And often, policies change and are sometimes discontinued. We’ll do our best to keep you informed whenever this occurs. We expect there to be more changes in 2016 and 2017 after the next Presidential election.
Although it is unlikely that previous legislation will be repealed, there still could be significant changes impacting how premiums are calculated, and the burden of expenses and fees that is sometimes passed on to consumers.
Popular Low Cost Options
Some of the most popular inexpensive medical insurance policies are considered “Bronze” tier plans. This type of policy assumes that 40% of the expected medical expenses will be paid by you. Yes, that’s a large amount, which helps explain why premiums are quite low, especially when compared to Silver, Gold and Platinum-tier options.
You need quality coverage but you don’t have to pay for items you don’t need. For young adults, additional information is on this page. After 2014, many children under age 19 were able to purchase single plans. Since 2002, they were eliminated by most of the large carriers because of changes in the law.
Cheap medical insurance plans often include higher deductibles on the larger claims to reduce the premium. As an example, by increasing the deductible from $1,000 to $5,000, rates can reduce by as much as $4,000- $5,000 per year for families and $2,000 per year for an individual. For healthy individuals and families that don’t have many major claims, we highly recommend considering this option. Unless you submit many claims, your savings will be substantial. And if you have no major health issues, generally you can change deductibles on your policy anniversary date. In some states, deductibles as high as $25,000 are available.
Another common feature of “catastrophic” or “limited benefit” plans is restricting the number of covered office visits. Many “Saver” and “Value” policies provide benefits for only two or three symptomatic physician visits. However, typically, these types of policies often cost hundreds of dollars less per month than conventional family plans. If you do not have many office visits per year, it may be advisable to consider this type of health care coverage, if no other affordable option meets your budget, and/or you missed the Open Enrollment deadline.
Also, most limited office visit policies (compliant) do include preventive coverage, which makes them an attractive option. However, some of these low-cost plans have “brand name” RX coverage that must meet the large policy deductible. This could pose a serious risk if you develop a chronic illness or disease.
Low cost children’s health insurance is also available. However, since the cost savings is not significant, a comprehensive policy for children is recommended. In most states, prices are quite affordable and most coverage, such as office visits, prescriptions and preventive benefits, are not subject to a deductible. Please keep in mind that most medical insurers do not offer “child only” plans.
In the past, the child had to be included on the parent’s plan to be offered coverage. However, you could purchase “short term” plans that cover only toddler. As previously discussed, in 2014, this changed and no longer was an issue. Also, CHIP programs have expanded n many states and provide cheap quality medical plans for young persons.
Catastrophic plans are the least costly type of health care and are also the most popular low cost contract. Premiums are bargain-basement low low since these types of plans typically do not cover office visits or prescriptions. Major expenses such as hospital stays, emergency room charges, inpatient and outpatient surgeries and other associated costs are generally covered. And once you have satisfied the deductible and any coinsurance, usually your qualified expenses are covered at 100%, although 80% and 70% options are also available.
Other inpatient benefits often include room and board, intensive care unit, operating room, recovery room and professional expenses of doctors, surgeons and nurses. We highly recommend catastrophic medical plans when office visits and prescriptions are not a priority and are rarely used. The cost savings can be significant, especially over a 5-10 year period. Most carriers have this type of plan in their portfolio. Exchange plans include 10 “essential benefits,” and are often a worthwhile option for persons under age 30.
Temporary health insurance (short term coverage) is designed to provide medical coverage…usually for 1-12 months. Premiums are extremely low and the application process is simple. Normally, there are less than 10 medical questions and policies can be approved in 24-48 hours. Depending on the plan, short term policies can offer limited office visit and prescription coverages along with catastrophic benefits. Most carriers allow you to renew the policy one time although you must medically re-qualify if you want benefits to extend beyond six months.
Typically, short term medical coverage is designed for healthy individuals and families that do not have any major pre-existing conditions. Temporary coverage is often ideal if you are a newly-hired employee, a recent graduate, unemployed, between jobs and temporarily out of work or waiting for approval for standard health insurance benefits. Generally, a deductible applies to each claim. Once the deductible is met, 50%-80% of the remaining expenses are paid, although your out-of-pocket expenses are normally capped.
We consider all of the short term plans offered by most major health insurers. We feel it is important to carefully evaluate your specific situation before we make a recommendation. Although these types of policies are not the perfect substitute for comprehensive long-term benefits, they do provide a solution that is budget-friendly, and protects against a large claim eradicating your assets. It is hoped that future legislation will allow carriers to offer 12-month policies, instead of the options that are only allowed to guarantee coverage for three months.
You can view your free quote at the top of this page. The process is quick and it won’t take long to compare the best bargain plans in your area. Of course, there is never any obligation. After entering your zip code, you can review plan rates and details.