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Do you qualify for Health Insurance Subsidy?

Agnus Smith Published: June 14, 2018 Updated: January 26, 2018

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Affordable health insurance is a necessity in modern life, but it can be difficult to factor into your daily and monthly expenses when health insurance is not covered by your employer. Many young people between the ages of 18 and 35 choose to forgo health insurance hoping that they will remain healthy because they believe that they cannot afford health insurance. The truth is that the Affordable Care Act makes cheap health insurance possible for most people. Find out if you qualify for a health insurance subsidy.

Affordable Health Insurance Does Exist

It is a myth that affordable medical insurance is impossible to find. Thanks in part to Obamacare (also known as the Affordable Care Act), economical medical insurance is available and you may even qualify for a health insurance subsidy. The subsidy is a way for Americans to get financial assistance from the United States government to help pay for health insurance coverage. When searching for health insurance through a marketplace, you can find out whether you qualify for the premium tax credit or the cost-sharing subsidy.

The premium tax credit helps to lower the monthly expenses so that you pay less overall for your health insurance. This financial assistance is completely free and you do not have to pay back the credit you receive. The cost-sharing reduction subsidy involves limits the amount of out-of-pocket costs you pay during your year-long policy such as your deductible, copay and coinsurance payments.

Another option for economical health care is to qualify for Medicaid or the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP). These programs vary by state but provide free or extremely low-cost programs. To qualify, you typically must have low-income. People with disabilities, the elderly, and pregnant women may also qualify with greater income. To find out if you qualify, you can visit an affordable health insurance marketplace online for your state and fill out a questionnaire.

What to Expect When Searching for Affordable Health Insurance

When searching for health insurance online, we recommend using the health insurance marketplace, or credible price comparison websites like First Quote Health to review your options and to look at various premiums and pricing models. When you begin to look for coverage, be sure to look for the kind of coverage that you are qualified to receive. Also be sure to look at a few different health insurance providers and do not be afraid to give the provider a call if you have additional questions. 

Cobra Health Insurance

One particular subset of health insurance options that may be available is COBRA insurance. COBRA insurance is when employees must be offered continual coverage even though they are losing their job or their company is removing employee health care. The COBRA insurance coverage law allows people to keep their coverage by paying a portion of the premiums themselves. 

The Very Real Dangers of Not Purchasing Health Insurance

By not purchasing health insurance, you will leave yourself open to exorbitant fees in the event that something does go wrong or if you need to purchase medications. You will have to pay out of pocket for primary care visits and even routine screenings, such as blood work or a physical, will be expensive. You will also be subject to a penalty via the IRS at tax time.

The Importance of Making the Cut-Off Date

There are two ways that you can sign up for cheap health insurance throughout the year. It is vital that you determine which way you can sign up for health insurance and make sure to complete all the required paperwork and payments by the cut-off date.

The first is a special enrollment period, known as SEP, which can occur at any time during the year. To qualify for the special enrollment period, you must meet one of the following qualifications: turned 26 and lost your health insurance coverage from your parents, losing health insurance coverage from a job loss, having a baby or getting married.

If you do not qualify for this special enrollment period, then you are expected to sign up for health insurance by the cut-off date in the open enrollment period. The open enrollment period for health insurance runs from November 1 to December 15 of any given year with a start date of January 1 for health care plans purchased. The exception to both of these enrollment periods is if you qualify for Medicaid or Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) coverage in which case you can apply at any time.

At the end of the day, you are the only one who can make the decision to purchase health insurance. You are responsible for your health, but your health is unpredictable. Even if you exercise and eat well, you may develop serious health problems or complications this year. Even if you are in perfect health now, you may develop rare cancer or experience a life-threatening accident this year that requires ongoing medical care. Don't let health expenses sneak up on you. Invest in economic health insurance this year through the affordable care act.