How to Find Affordable Health Insurance

By finding affordable health insurance, you will have the opportunity to reduce your overall medical expenses and, potentially, gain a better level of health insurance than what you might currently have. There are three primary low-cost health insurance programs available in the United States: Medicaid, Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and Medicare. By learning more about each of these health insurance programs, you will gain a better understanding of the benefits that each one provides, as well as the eligibility requirements that you must meet in order to participate in one of these programs.

If you are looking for free health insurance or plans that are offered at an incredibly low price, then it is worth taking the time to learn how to submit an application to any health insurance program that you may qualify for. You can learn more about the most affordable insurance programs in the United States in the sections below.

Understanding CHIP Insurance Plans

CHIP insurance offers health insurance plans that are similar to those of Medicaid to eligible children within the U.S. This program offers health insurance benefits to children with families that make too much money to qualify for Medicaid but do not have a high-enough income to afford private health insurance. Plans are offered for free or at a low cost, depending on the child’s family income. However, you will never be charged more than 5 percent of your household income on an annual basis.

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TIP BOX

Make sure you update your assistance account with any changes to your household or income to ensure you don’t lose benefits or receive overpayments.
Make sure you update your assistance account with any changes to your household or income to ensure you don’t lose benefits or receive overpayments.

Having health insurance for kids is crucial in order to ensure that every child is healthy and receives preventive care, including immunizations and important screenings. To obtain this health insurance for children, you will need to meet eligibility requirements that have been set by the state rather than the federal government.

You can apply for CHIP Medicaid either by calling 1-800-318-2596, completing an application through the Health Insurance Marketplace or by contacting your state program. Similarly to Medicaid, CHIP offers benefits that differ in each state. However, some benefits are required to be included in CHIP plans, including:

  • Routine checkups.
  • Immunizations.
  • Doctor visits.
  • Prescription drugs.
  • Dental and vision care.
  • Inpatient and outpatient hospital services.
  • X-ray and lab services.
  • Emergency services.
Learn About Medicaid Health Insurance

The Medicaid health insurance program currently provides health insurance coverage to over 72.5 million people in the United States, making it the single largest source of health insurance coverage in the U.S. This federal program provides low-cost to free health insurance to low-income families, qualifying pregnant women and children who meet eligibility requirements. In many states, coverage is extended to low-income individuals, regardless of whether or not they have children.

Before you apply for Medicaid, it is worth taking a look at the eligibility requirements that you must meet, as well as the health insurance coverage options that may be available to you. Medicaid eligibility requirements for the program generally include:

  • Low-income guidelines.
  • State residency.
  • U.S. citizenship.
  • Familial status, as many states will require you to have a child in the home in order to obtain coverage.
  • Employment requirements, in a handful of states.

Before learning how to apply for Medicaid, it is important to take the time to learn about the type of coverage that must be offered through this federal program and the types of coverage that is determined by the state. Under federal law, state programs are required to provide the following benefits to eligible participants:

  • Inpatient and outpatient hospital services.
  • Preventive care.
  • Laboratory and X-ray services.
  • Physician services.
  • Transportation to medical care.
  • Family planning services.

Your state Medicaid program will determine whether or not you can receive optional benefits, such as:

  • Prescription drugs.
  • Chiropractic services.
  • Dental care.
  • Vision care.
  • Respiratory care services,
  • Physical therapy.

If you may meet Medicaid qualifications in your state, then you can submit an application either through the Health Insurance Marketplace or by contacting your local state program provider. Generally, online and in-person applications are accepted.

Understanding Medicare Health Insurance

Medicare offers a low-cost insurance program that is available to senior citizens and disabled individuals as well as those who have End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD). However, before you sign up for Medicare, it is important to review eligibility requirements, costs and coverage benefits in order to make an informed decision on your application.

Medicare eligibility requirements include:

  • Age.
  • Disability status.
  • Residency.
  • Citizenship.

Medicare enrollment is only open during certain points of the year. Generally, you can submit an application either during general enrollment or in the months before and after your 65th birthday. In some cases, enrollment may be available when you first become eligible for the program.

Basic Medicare plans include Part A and Part B plans. You will be eligible to receive Part A if you are at least 65 years of age or older and you or your spouse paid taxes towards the program for at least 10 years throughout your lifetime. In some cases, Part A is available at no charge. The premium and copayment costs of Part B are based on income. If you have a lower income, you might also be eligible for the Medicaid program, providing you with coverage through both insurances. In cases such as these, your Medicare may be paid for by your Medicaid.

Part A provides coverage benefits such as:

  • Hospital insurance.
  • Hospice.
  • Lab tests.
  • Surgery.
  • Home health care.

While Part B provides:

  • Visits with your physician.
  • Home health care.
  • Some preventive services.
  • Durable medical equipment.

Medicare plans also include Part C, which provides a hybrid of Part A and Part B insurance benefits. Part C benefits are offered by private companies and can vary from state to state. There may be a variety of plans available if you choose to enroll in Medicare Part C. Finally, Part D provides prescription drug coverage for Part A and Part B plans.

If you meet Medicare eligibility requirements, it is important to submit an application during an enrollment period. You can apply through the Social Security Administration (SSA), either by visiting your local office in person, applying by phone or submitting an online application.

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