How to Get Affordable Health Insurance

Low-income families may believe it is impossible to obtain cheap health insurance for themselves and their children, but there are inexpensive programs available. Depending on different factors relating to claimants’ circumstances, these residents may qualify to enroll in government-sponsored, affordable health insurance programs. Generally, these plans are available to families who possess limited financial resources and are unable to pay standard premiums for private insurance plans.

Many individuals wish to find low cost health insurance programs because they do not want to pay the penalty fee that comes from not having insurance. Workers who are unemployed are also subject to this fee, so it is important that residents find insurance as soon as possible. Furthermore, claimants who technically can afford to purchase health insurance plans and decide not to buy these plans are required to pay fees. However, this insurance mandate and the issuance of penalty fees will soon be eliminated. Even without penalty fees, residents should consider pursuing economical or even free health insurance plans. These plans can protect their health, ensure they can seek medical treatment and keep them financially stable.

What is Medicaid?

Medicaid health insurance is a popular plan for individuals who cannot afford traditional insurance premiums. This program receives its funding through federal and government contributions, and individuals can apply to collect benefits where they live. Before petitioners decide if this program is a good fit for them, they may want to know the difference between Medicare and Medicaid. While these two programs may sound similar, they serve different populations.

Medicare is available to elderly individuals, while Medicaid eligibility is primarily based on candidates’ incomes. However, Medicaid may also be available to the following populations:

  • Children
  • Elderly people
  • Pregnant women
  • Disabled individuals
  • Residents who receive Social Security Income (SSI)

Petitioners who wonder who qualifies for Medicaid must remember that this program is also widely used by low-income individuals and households. In any case, there are several non-monetary requirements that claimants need to meet as well. For example, petitioners can only apply for coverage in the state where they live. Additionally, candidates need to be U.S. citizens or prove they are qualifying immigrants.

How to Apply for Medicaid

Low-income residents may decide to apply for Medicaid at some point in their lives. Therefore, these prospective petitioners must know how to apply for Medicaid insurance in their home states. Regardless of where claimants live, the application process is fairly uniform throughout the country.

Depending on petitioners’ preferences and internet access, they may either submit a Medicaid application online, via a paper form or by phone. In any case, candidates must be sure to submit their materials as early as possible. The sooner applicants are able to file their materials with program representatives, the quicker they may be eligible to begin receiving benefits through this insurance plan.

What is CHIP health insurance?

The CHIP Children’s Health Insurance Program is available to minors whose families earn intermediate incomes. Generally, the children who receive insurance throughout this program have parents who earn too much income to qualify for standard Medicaid insurance. However, these families also have incomes that are too low for them to afford private insurance coverage.

In some instances, CHIP health insurance can also be used to support pregnant women. This program works in conjunction with states’ Medicaid programs, and for qualified petitioners, the two can complement each other. Claimants who qualify for this cheap health insurance may be able to use their benefits to obtain services including:

  • Vaccines and prescriptions.
  • Vision and dental care.
  • Standard check-ups and doctor visits.
  • Hospital care and emergency services.
  • Laboratory testing and X-ray services.

However, claimants must remember that these are not the only services that the children’s health insurance program can cover. Individual states are in charge of managing these programs, so they can extend additional benefits to recipients. Therefore, claimants should contact their local CHIP offices to obtain accurate lists of the services they can receive with this insurance plan in their states. Generally, routine visits are covered under this program, whereas parents and guardians may need to provide copayments for additional services. These specific fees also depend on individual states.

How to Apply for CHIP Insurance

Adults who believe their children could qualify for CHIP health insurance can file applications at any time. There are no application deadlines that petitioners need to meet, so they should apply as soon as possible. In fact, it is important that candidates apply as soon as possible because coverage begins immediately after the state departments accept their applications.

Potential beneficiaries can file their CHIP application online or by phone. When claimants submit these applications, they will also learn if they qualify for any related affordable health insurance plans in their states.

What is Marketplace health insurance?

A low-cost Marketplace health insurance plan may be available to unemployed workers, as well as residents who earn low incomes. With these insurance plans, enrollees may be eligible to receive:

  • Related tax credits.
  • Budget-friendly premiums.
  • Reduced rates on copayments, deductibles and related expenses.

When prospective beneficiaries research Marketplace insurance, they are able to review different plan options they may qualify for. Furthermore, the amounts they will need to pay for these programs depends on their incomes. Regardless, with these cheap health insurance options, prospective enrollees should be able to find plans that works best for their family sizes and income levels. Furthermore, potential applicants must keep in mind that the Health Insurance Marketplace can help individuals find coverage if they do not have insurance options available to them through their employers. Likewise, these enrollees may not be covered through other programs, such as Medicaid, CHIP or Medicare.

How to Apply for Marketplace Health Insurance

After petitioners who ask, “What is Marketplace insurance?” complete their research on the platform, they may want to know how to apply for coverage through this network. Regardless of where petitioners live, there are four ways to enroll in this low cost health insurance option. Claimants may:

  • Submit online applications through their state portal.
  • Enroll over the phone.
  • Apply in person at community facilities.
  • Mail paper applications to the appropriate department.

However, petitioners must note that Marketplace insurance applications must be filed within a certain enrollment period each year.