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Health insurance options and how to avoid penalties

Meredith Miller | Published: June 14, 2018

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Are you in search of affordable health insurance? Look no further! Below, you will find an easy-to-follow guide to help you find the best solution for your individual health insurance needs from reviews on companies such as United Healthcare to the details of Medicaid.

Obamacare

Obamacare is the more commonly referred to term for the Affordable Care Act which was signed into law during the Obama administration. The intent of the law was to provide affordable healthcare to all Americans rather than a small percentage and to reduce overall healthcare spending from individuals and private healthcare providers like United Healthcare.

The Affordable Care Act is often met with varying opinions as to whether or not it has helped or hurt people financially. In many instances, people do receive tax credits and subsidies through Obamacare which can help to make these policies more affordable. And, people with pre-existing medical conditions often receive more affordable health care with these plans. Obamacare is not paid for by the government, but rather you will be financially responsible for monthly policy payments.

Qualify for Medicaid

If your annual income is anywhere under 400% of the federal poverty line, you may be eligible for Medicaid depending on the state you live in. Medicaid is a federal program that is administered by each state, and for some can provide health insurance at no cost. 

The purpose of Medicaid is to provide health coverage for those who can't afford it. When Obamacare was passed, it allowed states to decide if they wanted to expand Medicaid. Every state that has expanded Medicaid allows its residents to qualify for government subsidies if they have an income between 100% to 400% of the federal poverty line. Lear

Qualify for Medicare

Medicare is federally funded health insurance that is paid for by Social Security. A number of different health insurance companies participate. Each state will likely have different provider offerings. Most individuals who qualify are retirees over the age of 65 who no longer have insurance coverage with their former employers, as well as an individual with certain disabilities. Medicare covers a variety of services including, but not limited to:

  • Hospital
  • Hospice
  • Home Healthcare
  • Inpatient Care
  • Regular Checkups
  • Preventative Care
  • Prescription Drugs
  • Alternative Medications

Medicare offers extensive coverage catered to the older US demographics to ensure people have health care for the rest of their lives. People can choose a federally run plan or they might even choose a plan through a private health insurance companies such as United Healthcare. Options do exist.

Alternative Affordable Healthcare

You can also find alternative affordable healthcare by seeking health insurance quotes and contacting a wide variety of insurance companies. Do not be afraid to contact every health insurance company in your region. Each company will have several different plans for individuals and for families. Fortunately, to save time, a number of online platforms exist that allow you to compare several local providers at the same time. Also, many top companies will provide health insurance quotes for all plan options for which you qualify.

You will want to consider all of your needs pertaining the amount you are willing to pay out of pocket and the amount you prefer to come directly from your monthly payments. Do not forget to consider your copays, prescription costs, and whether or not you need to cover dependents. Most health insurance companies have plans for nearly any scenario. You might also want to consider whether or not a company has medical professionals in their network that is relatively easy to reach from your home or your work to make your life easier.

While you are determining your affordable health insurance needs, do not forget about additional options such as through AARP and Medicaid. These are additional options for people on limited budgets. Regardless of your household income, you should be able to find an affordable plan whether it be a company like United Healthcare or a federally funded program such as Medicare.

What is the Penalty?

You are not alone if you are still unsure about the government penalty for not having health insurance. Basically, when you go to pay your taxes, if you did not have insurance for any month in which you could afford it, the government will add a fine to your tax bill. At this point in time, it is listed as 2.5% of your household income. Some people are exempt from this fee, however, most people will have to pay something. You might qualify for exemption if you fall into one of the following categories:

  • US Citizen Living Abroad
  • Incarcerated
  • Certain Religious Sects
  • Financially Burdened

To avoid the shared responsibility payment, which is also referred to as the Obamacare Tax Penalty, be sure to have insurance coverage through United Healthcare, Aetna, Blue Cross Blue Shield, or any other licensed carrier. A number of affordable options exist.