Obtaining health insurance can be a confusing experience for first timers. However, not having proper medical insurance in place may result in tax penalties. So what should you do? Here are some tips to help you navigate the process of purchasing health insurance.
Perhaps the easiest way to find out about buying health insurance is to ask someone close to you that has already been through the process. Relatives and/ or close friends are a good place to start. They can refer you to companies they have dealt with, assist you with the paperwork and give you a better understanding of the coverage you need based on your situation.
You can also consult your social network for help. You’d be surprised at how many people will take the time to get you through this process.
In fact, if you call most insurance companies’ customer service line you cn have a lot of your questions answered by a qualified person. Consulting with an insurance broker is another suggestion; they can point you to the best insurance providers that sell insurance policies that meet your needs and budget.
Check Your Local Medicaid Standards Online
Medicaid standards used to be a lot more stringent, but now many states have made it possible for more people to qualify. Each state will have a Medicaid website that can offer some info.
How Much Do You Earn?
Depending on your income, you may qualify for subsidies that can help you pay for your insurance plan in the Marketplace. The Federal Poverty Level is $11,880 for individuals, so if you don’t earn four times that amount in a year ($47,520), you may qualify for a tax subsidy.
You Can’t Be Denied Coverage Because of a Preexisting Medical Condition
It doesn’t matter if you have been diagnosed with a heart condition or any other serious medical issue. Because of the ACA, every American is eligible for health insurance. They can’t ask you questions about your medical health when you apply for insurance.
Free Preventive Services
The ACA also mandates that every insurance plan offers specific minimum coverage. That means preventive services like screenings are also free. These services include your yearly physical exams with your doctor, as well as immunization vaccines. For women, these also cover cervical cancer screening and mammograms used to check for breast cancer.
Some people may still change, renew or apply for health insurance after the open enrollment period for certain life events that change their particular circumstances. You may qualify for special enrollment for the following events:
- You get married.
- You get divorced.
- You have a new baby or adopt a child.
- You move to a different ZIP code.
- You lose your workplace insurance.
- You lose your parent’s coverage when you turn 26.
Some plans are only good for a year, so you may have to hunt for new plans every year. Other plans are good for 5 or even 30 years, which is great if being locked into a plan suits your circumstances. But for most, shopping for new health insurance should be a yearly tradition, so you can compare different plans and find the best option for your needs.