Learn About Health Insurance Options

by Aaron Nangle

I got my new insurance premium and Ouch!! It has officially surpassed my mortgage payment.

This is what made me seriously look into my health care options.
In hopes that nobody has to live in a tent to be able to pay for health insurance, I’m sharing what I learned.

Health Insurance Options

Remember, it’s still the law to have health insurance!

  • Option one- Medicaid, Medicare or other state / government insurance policies. These usually go hand in hand with SSI, SSDI, and SS programs.
    Examples of people who might qualify for these programs include: Persons with disabilities; seniors; expecting women; children in low income families and their parents.
  • Option two- Marketplace insurance plan.
    If you are self employed, you might think this is your only viable option. (Not true, see option four!!)
    They are saying that 80 percent of HealthCare.gov enrollees will be able to purchase a plan for $75 or less per month. If you qualify for a tax credit, this could be an affordable option. How much will you pay?
    Also, if your deductable is high, look into getting a Health Savings Account (HSA). I wish I had know about this sooner.
    HSA contributions are pre-tax/tax-deductible. The money grows tax-free, and the money can come out tax free if used on eligible medical expenses. The catch- You have to have a high deductable on your insurance to qualify. Since I’ve been paying 95 percent of my healthcare expenses out of pocket, this is something that really makes sense.
  • Option three- Group Health Insurance through your employer.
    With most job-based health insurance plans, your employer pays part of your monthly premium. If you enroll in a Marketplace plan instead, the employer won’t contribute to your premiums. Keep this in mind if you compare your job-based insurance to Marketplace plans. If you have an offer of job-based coverage and enroll in a Marketplace plan instead, you probably won’t qualify for a premium tax credit and other savings — even if your income would qualify you otherwise. You’d have to pay full price for a Marketplace plan — even if you don’t enroll in the insurance your employer offers. The only way you’ll qualify for savings on a Marketplace plan is if your employer’s insurance offer doesn’t meet minimum standards for affordability and coverage. Most job-based plans meet these standards.
  • Option four – Healthcare sharing ministry
    If you are self paying for insurance and don’t qualify for tax credits, this could be the cheapest option. For my family, I could be covered for $241 per month. Compare this to
    my only other real option, a marketplace insurance policy, which for my family would be $697 per month with an extremly high deductable. HOWEVER, Healthcare sharing ministries are not technically insurance.
    Basically it is a group of like-minded individuals that agree to come together and help each other pay their medical expenses. Medi-Share is a Healthcare sharing program by Christian Care Ministry. http://bit.ly/2yv7JQW
    Basically members of the group pay a “Share” which goes directly towards paying somebody’s medical bill. Members of health care sharing ministries are exempt from the individual responsibility requirements of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. There are three Healthcare Sharing Ministries that qualify – Christian Care Ministry, Samaritan, and Liberty.Although it’s not technically insurance, it’s protects you from the penalty.
    Most ministries are oriented toward practicing Christians, with restrictions like abstaining from extramarital sex, excessive drinking, and use of tobacco or illegal drugs.
  • Option five- Pay penalty / individual shared responsibility payment. This option leaves you with zero healthcare coverage and is very risky. Being without insurance is a fast track bankrupsy gamble. For tax year 2017, the penalty for not having insurance is 2.5% of your total household adjusted gross income, or $695 per adult and $347.50 per child, up to a maximum of $2,085. For tax year 2018 and beyond, the penalty amounts have not been announced, but are expected to increase. https://www.healthcare.gov/fees/fee-for-not-being-covered/
  • Option six- health coverage exemption – https://www.healthcare.gov/exemptions-tool/#/
    Again, very risky. You are rolling the dice by not having any health insurance.
    However, if you qualify at least you won’t have to pay the individual shared responsibility payment.

No matter what you decide, this should not be a decision you make lightly. I’m not an expert on insurance, so please do some research yourself. I hope this can at least be a starting point for you to compare your options.