Affordable and health insurance are two terms that don’t feel like they belong together nowadays.
In 2017, the average individual premium rested around $393. That’s a shocking 22% higher than the premium during the 2016 open enrollment period. It’s true that healthcare costs are only rising.
Unfortunately, health insurance is a necessary protection against financial catastrophe. Failing to have insurance in the case of emergency treatment or illness can easily lead to bankruptcy with the outrageous costs for services. By 2019, you’d think things would be different.
However, it is still possible to find affordable health insurance today. As long as you’re willing to do your research, it’s possible to find a plan that works for both your health and your budget.
Why Do You Need Insurance?
Many people fail to see the reason to purchase health insurance. Thanks to the new tax plan, there will no longer be a penalty for not being enrolled in health insurance. While it’s true skipping out on insurance might save you a pretty penny each month, the risk is simply not worth it.
No matter how healthy you are, emergencies happen. You can’t predict whether or not you’ll get in a car accident tomorrow or if you’ll fall sick in a month. WebMD reports you have a 1 in 5 chance of landing yourself in the emergency room if you’re between the ages of 25 and 44. A trip to the ER isn’t affordable either.
Even if you only need minimum treatment, you’re looking at a bill that easily tops $1000.
Today, medical bills are the leading cause of bankruptcy. Don’t let that fate happen to you. Instead, do your best to ensure you’ve got the best health insurance to meet your needs.
Employer Insurance vs Healthcare Marketplace
For those who are employed by a traditional employer, you’ll likely be eligible for employer insurance. Because your employer will cover a percentage of the cost, this is likely the most affordable option. However, not all employers offer insurance. If your employer has less than 50 employees, there’s no penalty for choosing to not offer insurance coverage.
Similarly, if you’re self-employed or a contractor, you’re on the hook for your own insurance. If you’re unable to get insurance on your own through your employer or because you’re self-employed, consider joining your spouse’s plan. Employer insurance is usually the most comprehensive and affordable.
If joining someone else’s coverage isn’t an option, or if you just want to shop around for plans, visit the health insurance marketplace. The Affordable Care Act made it possible to find low-cost plans based on your income and situation.
These plans might even be more affordable than your employer insurance, so it’s always worth comparing your options during the open enrollment period. (Source: https://www.healthmarkets.com/local-health-insurance-agent/)
Finally, if you’re erring on the side of not needing much healthcare coverage, it’s best to choose a high-deductable plan. These are the lowest cost option, but they offer the lowest amount of coverage.
You really do get what you pay for when it comes to health insurance, so make sure you’re ready to take on the risk of paying more out of pocket for things like medication and office visits.
High-deductible plans are called catastrophic plans for a reason.
Coverage will kick in if you encounter an emergency and go over your deductible.
Pairing your high-deductible plan with a health savings account might be an affordable choice that lets you pay for only the coverage you need.
Save Money Without Compromising Your Health
Ultimately, you need to analyze just what healthcare you expect to need in 2019. If you’re healthy and unlikely to need many doctor visits, a high-deductible plan might be right for you.
On the other hand, if you want comprehensive care, look for employer options or shop around on the healthcare marketplace.
There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to your health insurance.
The only thing for certain is that you need some kind of coverage to protect both your health and your finances. Are you covered?