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Free Health Insurance - Coverage Options For Low-Income Families

Meredith Miller | Published: August 31, 2018

Happy family laughing

The rising price of health insurance is making it more difficult for low-income to middle-class Americans to find coverage they can afford. If you are lucky enough to get health insurance through your employer, you may wonder what the fuss is all about. Some companies subsidize the entire cost of their employees’ insurance premiums, giving a false impression that you have free health insurance.

In fact, your employer pays heavily for this benefit instead of putting extra money into your salary. For others, their employer contributes so little to their premiums they struggle to afford the coverage.

It is probably even more confusing when people in the media throw around words like low-income health insurance or free health insurance. Are these real options and, if so, you would probably like to know how to get free health insurance?

Is There Such A Thing As Free Health Insurance?

This is a tricky question, but yes, there are free health insurance options available to Americans who are eligible. For example, Medicaid, the state-run government healthcare program, may provide free health insurance to low-income individuals and families, or low-cost coverage options. The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which also provides free health coverage for children and other eligible individuals.

You may also be able to find free health insurance through the marketplace. Through government subsidies, some Americans are finding plans that don’t require them to pay a monthly premium. While the premium is only part of the overall healthcare costs, you still may be required to pay out-of-pocket expenses.

Lastly, if you work for a company with a comprehensive benefits package, you may get your health insurance fully covered. While this technically wouldn’t be considered free coverage since your employer is footing the bill, you would only be responsible for out-of-pocket expenses.

Who Is Eligible?

Eligibility for either Medicaid or CHIP coverage is dependent on your household income. These income levels vary from state to state, depending on whether your state chose to accept the Federal Government’s Medicaid expansion funds.

This expanded form of Medicaid was established as a part of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act (ACA), or Obamacare. All states were expected to expand their Medicaid programs, but a Supreme Court decision gave states the option to opt out, which about half have chosen to do. The income thresholds for Medicaid eligibility are higher in the states that have accepted the expansion.

Types Of Coverage

If you are looking for free health insurance, Medicaid may be your only option depending on your age. If you meet the income requirements for your state’s Medicaid program, you can receive coverage for yourself and your dependents without paying any premiums or out-of-pocket costs to access health services. A small number of states are experimenting with charging some form of income-based premium for Medicaid coverage, but generally, the coverage has no associated costs.

CHIP is free, and also provides low-cost health insurance for families who aren’t eligible for no-cost coverage. CHIP was created to help families who don’t meet Medicaid income requirements still receive affordable health insurance for their children. Certain types of visits are free under CHIP, such as well-child visits to a primary care doctor, but other services may require a small copay. Some states also charge a monthly premium for CHIP coverage. The laws regulating CHIP state that the premium can never cost more than 5% of your household’s annual income.

How To Get Free Health Insurance

If you want to know how to get free health insurance or believe low-income health insurance may be an option, you can start with your state’s Medicaid agency or apply online to the Obamacare Marketplace. If you apply through the ACA Marketplaces, they will determine if you are eligible for any CHIP or Medicaid coverage, and, if so, forward your application to your state’s Medicaid agency.

Applying For Free Coverage

Applying for these free and low-cost health insurance options can be a confusing and stressful process. You can attempt to apply for these options on your own, through a Marketplace application or state Medicaid agency discussed in the section above, or you can work with a licensed agent who can help you navigate the complex world of health insurance.

Find Affordable Health Insurance Quotes With FirstQuote Health

If you are eligible for free health insurance, then you should definitely visit the marketplace or official Medicaid website. However, if you are like the majority of Americans who don’t qualify for free health coverage, you can still find low-cost options through FirstQuote Health.

FirstQuote Health specializes in helping you find the cheapest health insurance plans in your area at no cost to you. By entering your zip code, and answering a few pre-qualifying questions, you can quickly and easily compare affordable coverage options in your area, or even talk to an experienced agent. Get started, and get covered today.