If you are one of the American’s who can’t afford health insurance – you are not alone. The past year has caused a level of financial insecurity for millions of Americans that haven’t been seen since the Great Depression of the 1930s. And, with lawmakers in Washington, as of yet, unable to agree on how to resolve the issue, out-of-work and low-income citizens are searching for healthcare solutions.
Learn about the options available to individuals who find themselves without the ability to afford health insurance in 2021. Find out whether you can take advantage of existing assistance programs through the federal government or other entities. And, discover options for getting the coverage you need on an alternative basis to mainstream health insurance and the Affordable Care Act.
Can’t Afford Health Insurance in 2021? These are Your Best Options
It’s no secret that there exists a gaping healthcare cost disparity in the United States, resulting in millions of Americans who can’t afford health insurance. Even with the ratification of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) or Obamacare, the gap between those with insurance and those without continues to grow. And, the unprecedented numbers of unemployment claims, as a direct result of the global COVID-19 pandemic have done everything to exacerbate the already widening gap between the insured, and the uninsured.
For millions of Americans, simply going uninsured is not an option. Going uninsured might mean giving up access to essential medications or life-saving therapies. If you are one of the many Americans finding themselves without the ability to pay for health insurance, there are other options available to you.
Option #1: Cost Assistance Program
Obamacare is prohibitively expensive for many Americans, but it offers a cost assistance program for those in need who qualify. Your income must fall within 100% to 400% of the federal poverty level to be eligible for assistance. But, for many earners put out-of-work due to COVID-19, this program may help.
The ACA Cost Assistance program works to cover the costs of your insurance premium by providing a payment subsidy. The amount covered by the cost assistance program is determined by your income, as well as the cost of coverage in your area. By taking part in this program, the federal government sends your premium subsidy directly to your insurance provider, which deducts it from your premiums on medication and other medical procedures covered under your plan.
If you make 100% to 250% of the federal poverty level you may be eligible for coverage with cost-sharing benefits. Cost-sharing benefits offer lower deductible costs and copays for individuals with higher financial need. Talk to an insurance expert to find out if you are eligible for ACA Costs Assistance.
Option #2: Medicaid Healthcare Coverage
Medicaid is a joint program through federal and state governments that provides healthcare coverage for people with disabilities, those receiving social security, and low-income individuals. In general, Medicaid may be available to you if your household income falls below the 133 percentile of the federal poverty level.
The eligibility qualifications and restrictions for receiving Medicaid vary by state, but it is an invaluable resource if you can’t afford health insurance. And, even if you don’t qualify for health insurance through Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) can likely offer coverage for your children. Talk to an insurance associate for help navigating your state’s Medicaid application process.
Option #3: Catastrophic Healthcare Coverage
If you are under the age of 30 or qualify for a hardship exemption for financial reasons, you may qualify for catastrophic healthcare coverage. Catastrophic health insurance is cheaper than traditional health insurance plans and includes all the same coverage as your standard HMO. The drawback to catastrophic health insurance, however, is that the deductibles are higher than with a standard health insurance plan.
Unlike with a standard plan, tax subsidies and tax credits are not eligible to use on a catastrophic health insurance plan through the ACA marketplace. If you have preexisting conditions or foresee the need for regular medical care, it is more efficacious to pursue a standard plan through the ACA marketplace.
If you are in tough financial times and need help with your medical expenses, start by finding out whether or not you qualify for Medicaid. Navigating the ins and outs of healthcare coverage can be confusing and stressful – especially when your wallet is thin. If you can’t afford health insurance, a professional insurance assistant will help you find an insurer and plan that meets your needs.