When you need to find health insurance for low-income individuals, you have more options than you might assume.
Today, it’s easier than ever to apply for government programs or sign-up to receive a discount on health plans offered through the federal health insurance marketplace. Still, finding affordable health insurance can be a chore if you don’t know what you’re looking for. So, with that in mind, here are your four best options for reliable health insurance based on your income.
1 – Apply for Medicaid and Medicare
The first option for people on a limited budget is to apply for Medicaid and Medicare. You may not know that you can actually sign-up for both types of government-sponsored health coverage. The main difference between Medicaid and Medicare is that Medicaid essentially covers individuals with the lowest incomes. To search for health insurance based on your income, you initially need to apply through your home state’s health services department because each state administers its own version of Medicaid.
Nevertheless, here are the basic requirements to be eligible for Medicaid.
To qualify for Medicaid, you’ll have to be a resident of the state in which you apply for services, and you also have to be a citizen of the U.S. or a lawful permanent resident. Most importantly, your home state will determine your eligibility for Medicaid based on your income. The catch is that Medicaid services vary state-to-state, so you may need to provide additional information upon applying. But the requirements for Medicare are slightly different.
On the other hand, the main requirement for medicare eligibility is your age since the program is intended to cover people over the age of 65, similar to Social Security. You’re eligible if you’re a U.S. citizen or legal resident and have paid Medicare taxes for at least ten years. You also can’t already have private health insurance at the time you apply. But the program also covers those in rapidly declining health or younger adults with specific disabilities.
Aside from those options, buying a health plan via the Affordable Care Act is the next choice.
2 – Search for affordable health insurance on HealthCare.gov
Interestingly, you can also apply for Medicare and Medicaid via HealthCare.gov – not just subsidized insurance. Created by the ACA in 2010, the federal marketplace is a website that makes it easier to find discounted health policies. Each plan comes with subsidies to offset the cost of premiums and includes four different “metal tiers” for policies. Most people opt for the Silver plans to cut to the chase because they come with the best value based on the subsidies you’ll receive.
How to sign-up for subsidized health insurance
To sign up, you need to visit HealthCare.gov during a Special Enrollment Period that occurs a few times a year.
Although most people have to sign-up during this time, you can still apply if you experience a sudden financial loss. After filling out your tax information and basic health status, HealthCare.gov will show you options available in your state. The catch with going through Obamacare is that the platform may not display all of your options!
3 – Find a private health insurance carrier
The last option is to find a private insurer because many offer reasonably affordable health plans. The catch is that these bare-bones policies may not comply with the ACA’s minimum essential health benefits. Not only that, the search takes significantly longer because you have to search for the plans individually.
How to apply to private insurers
You could simply visit a private insurer’s website and fill out a contact form or give them a call. The problem is that everything else will be manual and inevitably take far longer to find the right plan. It can also get very confusing from a beginner’s standpoint since many top insurers will offer bundles of products that low-income individuals usually can’t afford.
With that in mind, the better alternative is to use an online platform that takes everything you need to know and displays quotes and rates in one place.
4 – Visit HealthPlans.com for the best options
Overall, finding the best health insurance for low-income individuals can be easy if you have a way to sort through so many choices. So, visiting HealthPlans.com gives you a way to see which policies you can afford and which ones aren’t worth the higher out-of-pocket costs. All you need to do is fill out a short health questionnaire that includes your basic contact information and estimate your household income.
Click to start comparing health insurance for low-income individuals today!