Health insurance is an integral part of our lives. It’s there to make healthcare more affordable and accessible and protect us financially from accidents or illnesses.
Healthy people may feel that they don’t need health insurance, believing it’s an expense they don’t need. But the truth is, we all need health insurance. No matter how healthy you are, there’s always a chance that you could get sick or be injured. If you’re not insured, those medical bills can add up.
If you’re on the lookout for health insurance, here are the different health insurance types and networks you should know about.
This government-sponsored health insurance program provides comprehensive coverage to low-income individuals and families. It’s one of the best deals, offering low premiums and out-of-pocket costs and free or low-cost preventive care.
There’s no cost for this program. However, beneficiaries must meet specific eligibility requirements, which vary by state. The common denominators are usually:
- pregnant women
- people with disabilities
- people aged 65 and above
Check with your state’s Medicaid office to see if you qualify. If you do, you can sign up by contacting your state Medicaid agency or filling out an application via the Health Insurance Marketplace.
Parents’ Insurance Plan
Young adults aged 26 and below can stay on their parent’s health insurance plan. This provision of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has helped many young adults stay insured when they may not have been able to afford it on their own.
Even if you aren’t tax dependent, have a child, get married, or start school, as long as you’re under 26, you can stay on your parents’ plan.
If you’re thinking about this option, talk to your parents about their health insurance coverage and whether or not it would work for you. It would help compare the costs of staying on their plan versus getting your insurance.
If you have a job, there’s a good chance your employer offers health insurance. Most large employers are required by law to offer health insurance to their employees.
Employer-sponsored health insurance is usually one of the most affordable options available. That’s because your employer typically covers a large portion of the premium and, in some cases, the entire premium.
Another benefit of employer-sponsored insurance is that it often comes with perks like free preventive care and wellness programs. Best of all, you don’t have to worry about meeting any eligibility requirements because your employer has already done that for you.
So, if you’re lucky enough to have employer-sponsored health insurance, take advantage of it. Otherwise, you’ll likely have to pay more for your coverage. Ask HR or check your employee handbook if you’re unsure whether your employer offers health insurance. You may also find this information on your company’s website.
Health Insurance Marketplace
The Health Insurance Marketplace is a way for people to shop for health insurance. It’s open to people who don’t have health insurance and people who do but want to look for a better plan.
And to qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen, live in the United States, and can’t be in prison. In addition, you can only enroll in a Marketplace plan during the annual Open Enrollment period. But some people could qualify for a Special Enrollment Period if they’ve had certain significant events in life, like having a baby, getting married, or losing other health coverage.
Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)
This program provides health coverage to children only, generally under 19 years old. Each state has its own unique rules about who is eligible for CHIP. But the standard requirements include:
- a U.S. citizen or meet immigration requirements
- not have access to other types of health insurance (including Medicaid)
- live in the state where they are applying for coverage
- eligible within the state’s income range
Most kids can get CHIP for free, while others might pay a low monthly premium or copay for some services. Some of the benefits of CHIP for your kids include:
- dental and vision care
- emergency care
- autism care
In short, CHIP is a great way to make sure your kids are getting the health care they need. If you think your child might be eligible, find out more information from your state’s CHIP program.
Health insurance is a wise investment that can save you a lot of money in the long run. Being uninsured will only cost you more money in the long run if you ever get sick or injured. Plus, the advantages of having health insurance extend beyond just financial protection. Health insurance can also give you peace of mind and help you live a healthier life.