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How do I get Affordable Health Insurance?

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  • Written By: wiseGEEK Writer
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 14 August 2018
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Affordable health insurance isn’t always easy to get. The number of uninsured people in the US is testament to this fact. Even with the wherewithal, many are routinely denied health insurance because they have minor or major pre-existing conditions that insurance companies want to exclude, or if they develop these conditions an insurer may drop them. Alternately, folks will pay a very high price for health insurance, when they have pre-existing conditions and they may be still be underinsured or unable to cover medical expenses should a serious illness or injury occur. With this caveat in mind, a small number of people may be able to obtain affordable health insurance.

The most affordable health insurance is usually available through jobs, and those searching for insurance may want to look for a job with a company that offers this benefit. The specific benefits can vary from company to company, but many companies contribute a greater share of insurance premiums and ask for an employee contribution too. Company benefits are free of some of the pitfalls of individual private insurance; an insurer cannot refuse to insure a single employee and has less basis for denying coverage because of pre-existing conditions. This may vary depending on the state in which a person works.

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People who own their own businesses could participate in some states in health insurance exchanges. This is where small companies join together to purchase insurance so that the cost stays lower. Sometimes the self-employed may be able to be part of these exchanges, and this is usually much cheaper than insurance purchased on the private market.

Those without this option and without major pre-existing conditions can look online at a variety of health insurance plans that may be affordable. Affordable is really a flexible phrase, and some might find payments of over $1000 US Dollars (USD) per month affordable, while others can barely afford a $100 USD payment. The cheapest plans are high deductible insurance. After people have met a certain deductible, the insurer can kick in with payments for certain conditions and treatments for which it approves payment. This would be underinsurance if folks cannot meet the initial deductible.

Another type of possibly affordable health insurance may be health maintenance organization (HMO) plans. Since coverage is limited to a group of network doctors and any visits to a specialist need to result from direct referral, costs are lower. A person might still need to meet yearly deductibles and pay copayments. Major medical or PPO (preferred provider organization) insurance are usually more expensive, though those in very low risk groups might quality for one of these plans at a lower price. There may be direct ratio between ability to obtain affordable insurance and decreased likelihood of ever needing it.

For those with very little income, possibility to get affordable health insurance may exist in the form of the US Medicaid programs, or sometimes in Medicare for people with significant disabilities. These plans are definitely affordable, and in fact there is no charge for Medicaid, but people must meet and not exceed income limits to qualify. These limits can be more generous for programs like the state children’s health insurance program (SCHIP), which provides an excellent way for low income families to purchase very low cost insurance for their children, though some states have cut budgets for both SCHIP and Medicaid.

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