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Your Guide to Cheap Health Insurance Plans

Agnus Smith | Published: June 14, 2018

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So you need health coverage, but took a look at the prices and realized it's going to cost you. Don't worry, there are millions of Americans in your exact situation. The prices for health insurance have continued to rise each year, but that doesn't mean you can't afford it! Cheap health insurance plans are available, and they may be easier to find than you realize. Read this article to find out how you can save yourself thousands on health insurance this year, and still avoid the health insurance tax penalty.

Getting Started

Before you begin your search for cheap health insurance, the first thing you want to do is get your finances in order. How much do you make each year? Do you have any additional income sources? How many dependents do you have? What are your monthly expenses? Getting the answers to all these questions will not only help you determine how much you can afford to spend on health insurance each month but will also let you know if you qualify for Medicaid or any other government-subsidized health insurance plan. Qualifying for any number of these plans will give you health insurance at little to no cost.

Public health insurance plans differ from state to state. For example, if you live in a state like California that chose to expand Medicaid, then you will have a better opportunity to qualify for a government subsidy if your annual income is up to 400% of the federal poverty line. The same cannot be said for states like Florida and Georgia who chose not to expand Medicaid, leaving more residents unable to find affordable health insurance plans. Once you have your finances in order, you can start your search.

Understanding Your Needs

Are you a college student heading off to school in a new state? Are you the head of your household and sole provider who needs a health insurance plan that keeps your entire family protected? Maybe you're a single 30 years old who has an extensive medical history. Whatever your situation is, it's important to determine what is most important to you. 

If Your Young, Look into a Catastrophic Health Insurance Plan

College is usually a difficult time for students financially. It's hard to balance having a social life, studying, and finding out ways to pay for your education, the last thing you want to do is pay a monthly health insurance premium. While there are plenty of options for you which you can explore through our article How to Afford Health Insurance in College, you should definitely look into catastrophic health insurance plans. 

Catastrophic health insurance plans were designed with you in mind. They are specifically for people under the age of 30 who are in good health. These plans will save you money, keep you covered, and also count as qualified health insurance plans that will protect you from the costly tax penalty.

Pre-existing Condition? Try the Health Insurance Marketplace

If you already know that you have a pre-existing condition, the health insurance marketplace may be the best place to find a cheap health insurance plan. After the Obama Administration passed the Affordable Care Act in 2010, health insurance companies who sold plans through the health insurance exchange were no longer allowed to charge people more for health insurance just because of their age or their pre-existing conditions. 

Starting Your Search

Now that you have your finances in order and know what kind of health coverage you need, it's time to start your health insurance search, and for many, this is the hard part. Should you use a health insurance or health insurance broker? Are you looking for a plan through the health insurance marketplace or the private sector? What does all this health insurance jargon mean? 

If you are a little confused on how to go about starting your search, then you're in luck, cause you're not the only one. Millions of Americans struggle to find health coverage each year because they just simply don't know where to start. The first thing you want to do is hit the internet. 

There are plenty of cheap health insurance plans available to you, but you need to understand that not all plans are alike. Hit up review websites to see what actual policyholders are saying about their coverage. This will give you great insight into any hidden costs you may not be aware of, or if the health insurance company you are thinking about enrolling with is notorious for denying claims.

Use an Agent or Broker

Health insurance agents and brokers are professionals in the field, and many have years of experience in helping people just like you find coverage that works. Regardless of what you've been told, you actually won't be paying your health insurance agent or broker, well at least not directly. Agents and brokers get their payments from the health insurance company in the form of commissions, which is already built into health insurance costs.

Comparing Health Insurance Quotes

The internet is full of useful tools that let you instantly compare and search for the best rates in your area with the click of a button! First Quote Health, for example, is a third-party health insurance comparison service that just asks you a few simple questions and then lets you instantly compare quotes from the top health insurance companies in your area. Shop smarter not harder.

Short-Term Health Insurance

After the Affordable Care Act pretty much made short-term health insurance plans illegal, President Trump decided to bring them back. Now the problem with short-term health insurance plans is that they may not provide adequate coverage for your situation, but for most, you can find a plan that fits your needs. If you are without coverage, short-term health insurance may be your cheapest option for coverage.

Explore All of Your Options

Everyone's situation is different. There isn't just a single cheap health insurance plan that works for everyone. For example, you may find an extremely low premium plan, but if you have a chronic disease you know will require treatment, your high deductible can ruin you financially. On the other hand, if you are in great shape, healthy, and want to be safe by spending more on your premium for a lower deductible, you may be overspending. It really just depends on what your needs are.

Make sure to go over all of your options, public and private, to see what works for you. But don't make it too hard on yourself! Don't be scared about using an agent or broker, because they can be helpful, and really do have your best interest at heart. Well, you have everything you need to start your search, so don't put it off any longer.