6 Free or Low-Cost Health Insurance Options
It may surprise you how expensive the cost of health insurance is in the United States. however, cost isn’t the only challenge for people navigating health insurance, it’s also a complex system.
This article will explain what you need to know about getting affordable health insurance, even if your income is low.
where to get health insurance
in the usa In the US, you may be able to obtain health insurance through several different sources. insurance may be provided by the government or by your job or college. You can also buy it from a private health insurance company, either through the exchange/market or directly from the insurer.
If your health insurance is free or low cost, it means:
- Someone else is paying all or part of your monthly plan premiums. This is called a subsidy. The subsidies usually come from your job or from the government. having a subsidy means you won’t have to pay the full cost of insurance yourself. If you qualify for subsidies, it’s a great way to get health coverage that fits your budget. And most people qualify for subsidies, either from the government (via the exchange, medicare, medicaid, etc.) or from an employer.
- plan benefits have been reduced. In this case, the coverage you are buying does not cover much. in other words, it is not comprehensive health insurance. Less comprehensive coverage may seem appealing at first glance, but it may not be enough to help you if you have a major medical claim.
- Premium: This is what your health care plan costs per month. you have to pay this amount every month to keep the plan in force, regardless of whether you need to use your health insurance or not. And even if you have medical claims that result in you reaching your plan’s out-of-pocket maximum for the year, you’ll still have to pay premiums. but as noted above, premiums for most people are subsidized by the government or an employer.
- Deductible: This is what you must pay for health care before your plan begins to pay for certain services.
- Copayment: This is what you have to pay when you get a health care service that isn’t subject to the deductible. For example, if you go to your doctor’s office, your plan may pay part of the cost, but you may have to pay a set amount when you have your appointment (for example, you may have a $30 copay). some plans only have a deductible and no services subject to copays.
- Coinsurance: This is what you’ll have to pay after you meet your deductible, but before you reach your out-of-pocket maximum. your plan will pay part of the cost, but you will also have to pay part. for example, you may have to pay 35% of the total cost of a test you have.
- Out-of-pocket maximum: This is the limit on how much you will have to pay for medical treatment during the year. the limit varies from plan to plan, but the federal government imposes a higher limit for most plans, which varies from year to year (for 2022, it’s $8,700 for a single person; for 2023, it’s $9,100) . the out-of-pocket maximum only applies to in-network claims for covered essential health benefits, and you still need to follow your plan’s rules for things like prior authorization and step therapy.
key terms you should know
There are a few words that will come up frequently when searching for health insurance. it is important that you understand what they mean. this will help you make an informed coverage decision.
Here’s an overview of several free or low-cost health insurance options. You’ll learn who’s eligible, how to apply, and what to expect from each option.