How to Find Individual Health Insurance that Fits Your Budget
If you’re on a budget, you’re not alone.
With the cost of living constantly increasing, it’s important to save money however you can.
Aside from spending less money on things you may not need like $5 lattes (maybe), focus on saving money on something you do need like health insurance.
If you’re a self-employed entrepreneur or independent contractor needing to purchase health insurance now for the best value when it comes to immediate coverage for you and your loved ones, where should you look?
Consider an individual plan, or a few individual plans that fit your budget. You have options like ACA-compliant plans (Obamacare) and options outside of the ACA, like Short Term Medical Insurance.
Once you find them, you can start parsing down plans based on the key things you need to look for when purchasing health insurance.
So How Much Is Health Insurance?
It depends on what kind of insurance you have. Here are some ways you can make private plans more affordable*:
- High Deductible
- High Coinsurance
- High Copay
- Short Term Medical Insurance
- Compare Plans Online
Higher Deductible = Lower Premium
The deductible is the amount which you pay for health services before the insurance company does.
You can adjust this amount when shopping for a plan, which is a good option for healthy people who rarely need medical services.
A high deductible health plan usually means a lower premium.
Higher Coinsurance = Lower Premium
This is the amount you’ll pay after meeting your deductible up to your policy’s max out of pocket.
If you won’t need health services, you should increase this percentage.
The higher the coinsurance, the lower you pay on the policy.
Higher Copay = Lower Premiums
This is what you pay each time you visit a doctor or pharmacy, as a set cost separate from the deductible.
If you don’t plan on using it, then you can adjust the levels of your copays when you’re signing up.
The higher the copay, the lower you’ll pay monthly.
Short Term Medical Insurance Plans = Healthy Option
You want to save money, but you still need health insurance.
Short Term Medical Insurance (also known as Short Term Medical or STM Insurance) plans are a great option if you’re on a tight budget or need streamlined medical insurance that will cover you in case of accidents or illness.
You’ll still be covered when you need it most, like if you break a leg and need to visit the emergency room. Or, if you come down with a sudden illness.
Not everyone knows about the benefits of STM plans and with recent health care reform laws, STM may be the more flexible, more affordable option for you.
Starting in the fall of 2018 in many states, you will be able to purchase an STM plan for up to three years.
STM is different from Obamacare. It doesn’t offer the all 10 of the essential benefits, so you are not getting as much coverage as you would with Obamacare. It also doesn’t cover pre-existing conditions. If you need or want the reassurance of having the 10 essential health benefits, which include maternity and mental health services, you should look at healthcare.gov.
STM is to designed to keep you protected when your life is going through the unexpected--if you’re a student who is transitioning to the gig economy, if you’ve left your employer and are becoming your own boss, if you have been downsized and are looking for a job. There are numerous situations where you can’t predict your income or where you’ll end up, but you need the security of having health insurance.
Another benefit of STM plans is that you can purchase one at any time, as opposed to having a limited open enrollment period. You can also cancel anytime, so there’s no staying locked into one policy if you need to make a change.
Since the plans are based on individual factors of your physical condition, you can save money if you’re healthy and live a safe lifestyle.
It’s like car insurance -- safe drivers with a clean record end up paying less.
Compare Plans Online
The benefit of living in the digital age is that consumers have the power of information when it comes to shopping online.
You can see numerous options before you buy so you can find the best price to fit your budget.
The goal is to save as much money as possible but still keep you meaningfully covered.
How much you pay out of pocket depends on your budget and what you can afford.
Another great tool is the power to choose your own provider, as opposed to being limited to a network.
The plans offered here at Agile show you all the options and benefits included with each policy, and most do not limit you to a network.
With so many options available, you can choose a policy online that reflects what you’re looking for in health insurance and what you can afford.
Are You Covered?
Do not think that not having health insurance is a good idea to save money. This is a dangerous decision, in more ways than one.
It’s a calculated risk not worth taking, and one that potentially costs way more money down the line.
Not that you’d ever want this to happen of course, but let’s say you’re in a car accident and required to stay in a hospital for 3 days - it was unavoidable.
You’ll recover in time, but now you’re left with a hospital bill of approximately $30,000. Without health insurance, this could financially devastate many of us for years - leading to debt or even bankruptcy.
You need to have health insurance to protect you from the unexpected.
Your health insurance company would help pay your covered medical expenses and work with you on your path to recovery.
With health care reform opening up the products available to consumers, there’s a policy for everybody.
Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to know what’s right for you, since there is so much to choose from and so many factors to consider.
No one should go without health insurance though, so ask yourself this:
- Do you care about your health?
- Do you want to save money on health insurance?
- Can you not afford to go uninsured?
If you answered Yes to any of these questions:
*Please Note: AgileHealthInsurance is not recommending that you take these measures, but merely conveying the measures one can take at their own discretion to lower the cost of an individual health insurance policy they may or may not purchase. All choices made, and the subsequent risk that entails when it comes to purchasing an individual health insurance policy is the sole responsibility of the consumer. If you have questions or need an expert’s guidance, contact a licensed agent at our toll-free number. This article is for informational purposes only.