Finding an affordable health insurance plan can be a challenge, especially when you are struggling to make ends meet. Health coverage varies from each state, and the amount you’re obligated to pay often correlates with your level of income. If you are considered low income you might qualify for Medicaid, a health insurance provided by the U.S. government.
For people who aren’t considered low income, there are dozens of private health plan providers available to select from. Before you purchase health insurance, there are many things you should first take into account before you apply. First, what exactly are you looking for in a health plan? Not all health plans are created the same, and they all offer different levels coverage. Let’s compare Medicaid and Medicare, two of the most frequently used healthcare plans, for a moment.
Medicaid Versus Medicare
To be eligible for Medicare you to need to have lived in the United States for at least five years, be a permanent legal resident, and be over the age of 65. Although, there are a few exceptions to the age requirement. If someone under 65 has permanent kidney failure, Lou Gehrig’s disease, or has received disability for at least two years, they become eligible to apply for Medicare.
Medicare is strictly funded at the federal level, while Medicaid is funded at both the state and federal level. Medicaid coverage has expanded to include more people since the Affordable Care Act(ACA) was enacted in 2014. Some of the things offered by Medicaid and Medicare overlap, like certain inpatient and outpatient treatments at doctor’s offices and hospitals.
- Mandatory services that Medicaid must cover in every state
- Early and Periodic Screening, and Diagnostic, and Treatment (EPSDT) services for children
- Tobacco cessation counseling for expectant mothers
- Nursing facility services
- Home health services
- Doctor’s services
- Rural health clinic services
- X-ray and laboratory services
- Family planning services
- Midwife services
- Freestanding birth center services
- Certified pediatric and family nurse practitioner services
Getting Health Coverage Through Your Employer
The majority of Americans get health care insurance through their employers. Getting yourself insured through your employer is the easiest way to get health care coverage. Once you decide that you want to opt-in for the insurance your employer provides, a portion of your paycheck will be deducted automatically to pay for it. Within a few weeks, you should also get something like an information packet in the mail, to tell you about your specific plan, and it should contain your health care insurance card.
Top 5 healthcare insurance providers in the united states –
- United Health Group
If you are unfortunate enough to check off all the boxes of being over 26, not poor enough to qualify for Medicaid, and yet not have an employer who offers you a health care insurance plan, you will need to straight-up pay for insurance out of your own pockets. If the government finds out that you aren’t paying for health care insurance you will be charged a fine, called the individual mandate penalty. The fine will be tagged onto your tax return when you file your taxes for the year that you weren’t insured. The individual mandate penalty isn’t a fixed amount- it’s 2.5% of your annual income, starting from above $10,350 or $695 per adult and $347.50 per child under 18 living in your house. However, for those who can not afford to pay the fine they might qualify for an exemption.