Chelsey Tucker graduated with a Bachelor of History degree from Metropolitan State University in 2019. She now writes about insurance with her specialty being life insurance and has been quoted on Help Smart Phone and MEL Magazine.

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Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years. He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like Reviews.com.

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Mar 19, 2020

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The lowdown...

  • Health insurance is quite expensive, and many people may be tempted to go without a cover
  • The state laws require you to hold some minimum level of health insurance cover under the Affordable Care Act
  • A medical emergency can make you bankrupt if you don’t have a cover
  • If you don’t have an employer cover or don’t qualify for government-sponsored plans, you can shop around and compare other plans through healthcare.gov

Health insurance is generally not cheap in the U.S. and the tough economic times don’t make it any better. Many families who don’t have stable employer-based health insurance covers or government sponsored covers may be tempted to forgo the cost and stay without it. With the skyrocketing monthly premium rates and out of pocket expenses, you may be weighing whether health insurance is really necessary.

Young people in their twenties may feel that they are healthy and energetic enough to skip the high costs of health insurance. Staying for years without paying a visit to a doctor may tempt you to feel like you don’t need to pay the extra costs- you won’t use it anyway!

This is faulty reasoning, and everyone, regardless of age or health condition, requires health insurance. Additionally, the state laws require you to hold some minimum level of health insurance cover.

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Medical Emergencies Can Make You Bankrupt if You Don’t Have Insurance

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Medical emergencies can be very expensive. Emergencies do come uninvited, and finding yourself in one could easily cripple your financial gains and throw you into debts that you may never crawl out of. One wrong step in the skiing track can cost you thousands of dollars in hospital bills and may be much worse if you need a surgical operation or rehabilitation.

Such accidents may affect your job or business, so, you will be faced with such bills without a stable source of income. An emergency surgical procedure like appendectomy is already overly expensive even with insurance covers. Even with the best covers, you may still find yourself with excesses that you’ll have to cough out from your pocket.

It is, therefore, necessary to take up an insurance cover to cater for the unforeseen emergencies that may befall you. That way, you can safeguard your financial stability and focus on your career or business without worries of bankruptcy.

At times even minor injuries or sicknesses may find you without enough money in your credit card to cater for the medical costs.

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The Affordable Care Act Requires You to Have Health Insurance

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The new requirements under the Affordable Care Act affect people in their twenties, and failure to have health insurance will attract hefty fines.

There are health exchanges you can look out for and sign up for a health insurance cover. Take your time to review different options and choose a health insurance policy that offers the best protection at minimal costs. Always steer clear of offers that sound too sweet to be true.

Some providers may give exciting plans that will not help in times of need. Ask for reviews and stick to reputable insurers who always honor promises. It’s also important to differentiate between health shares and health insurance. Don’t buy what you won’t use in case of an emergency medical situation.

Early Intervention and Preventative Care are Possible When You Have Insurance

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Minor issues can turn into devastating complications. Without health insurance, you may face minor health challenges and neglect them since you’re trying to avoid the expenses of visiting a doctor. These can escalate into major health problems that could cost your life.

Preventive healthcare and quick treatment of small problems is the best way to avoid extended hospital stays and high bills. If you have an insurance cover, you won’t worry about costs by visiting your doctor whenever you feel minor issues.

Many people will also make appointments for complete medical checkups at least once every year. This way you can discover underlying conditions before they crop up, and begin a managed care on the same.

Additionally, insurance companies may deny you coverage or charge you an exorbitant premium if you’re diagnosed with a serious medical condition before you get a cover. However, if the situation comes after you had acquired the plan, you will be covered for all the medical bills associated with such conditions.

Health Insurance is a Necessity

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Health insurance is a necessity that every individual ought to have, regardless of your prevailing health status. People in their twenties are the most affected group who feel like this is a luxury they can’t afford. Don’t fall a victim of the same. Instead, shop around for a good cover with minimal costs.

To ensure that you can set aside some funds for your premiums, consider dropping some less important expenditures like eating out in restaurants, pay television, expensive phones, etc. In fact, you could even drop your gym membership before you think of going without health insurance. You can as well take walks and jog along the park. Get any extra money and put it in the budget for health insurance.

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Have a High Deductible Insurance in Case You Can’t Afford Health Insurance

It’s advisable to have a high deductible insurance plan to cover yourself and open a health savings account along with the scheme. These plans provide low-cost alternatives as compared to mainstream health insurance plans. You will cater for your own medical expenses until you hit the deductible.

The insurance company will then take up the bill. It may be much easier to pay about $5,000 of medical bills as compared to $50,000. You can prepare a plan on how you’ll pay the $5,000 with an assurance that you won’t face bankruptcy as a result of high medical bills.

Important Facts About Health Insurance

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Most Americans already possess a health insurance, either through a government program like Medicare or Medicaid, a family member, or work. Most people who have health insurance do not have to do anything; but if there is something you need to do, then your insurance provider will send you a notice to inform you that your insurance does not meet the requirements for “Minimum Essential Coverage.”

People who receive such a notice end up paying a tax fine for not having sufficient health insurance coverage. You can avoid this by contacting the health insurance marketplace through 800-318-2596, or www.healthcare.gov, or contact a navigator or an agent.

Here is some information for people who already have health insurance coverage.

Those Who Purchased a Plan through the Marketplace in 2015

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Most individuals who purchased their insurance plan in 2016 from an online marketplace get automatically renewed every year. While this sounds convenient, it has some serious disadvantages:

  • Automatic re-enrollment might mean you will not get the correct subsidy package. This could make you endure higher monthly premiums now. Also, if you receive more assistance than what you are eligible for, then you are bound to get a massive tax bill later.
  • If your insurance provider decided to eliminate your current plan, you might be switched to a different plan without warning. The alternative plan may be worth more or it may change your qualification for financial assistance.
  • Automatic enrollment might make you miss out on better coverage or a better deal if you don’t get the chance to compare other plans with your current plan.

It is true that automatic re-enrollment is better than having no insurance at all, but it’s good to make use of the open enrollment and do your own research to find the cover that is best for you and your family. It is strongly recommended that you key in your marketplace account details and update the application with your expected 2017 earnings and household information.

Also, compare your current plan with the 2017 plans and see if you would like to change to a different plan or maintain the current one. This way, you will be sure you are getting the correct premium tax credit as well as other savings for 2017.

You have up to January 31 to make any changes to your plan, after which you will only be allowed to change the 2017 plans only if you are eligible for a Special Enrollment Period.

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Those who Purchased the Family or Individual Insurance Plan Outside the Marketplace

You can keep your plan as long as it meets the Obamacare coverage requirements. Or, visit HealthCare.gov and compare different plans. You can choose a suitable plan to replace your current one.

Please note that if you decide to stick to your current plan, then you won’t qualify for the cost-saving subsidies given to those who purchase plans through the exchange.

It is always good to check with your insurance provider before you cancel a health insurance policy. Some demand that you can only make a change at the end of the current plan year.

Those Who Have Insurance through Their Employer

If you are happy with the plan, then you can keep it. You are deemed covered under Obamacare. However, if you are not thrilled with the cover you have, you can switch to an individual coverage through healthcare.gov.

Remember, if you purchase coverage through the exchange:

  • You may not be eligible for the cost-saving subsidies, even if you have an income that is within the acceptable range. Also, if your employer offers a plan that is considered sufficient and affordable by the law, you won’t be able to qualify for out-of-pocket cost savings for plans bought through healthcare.gov.
  • Your employer will not pay a part of your monthly premiums.

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Can you apply for Medicaid if you have private health insurance?

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Medicaid is meant to provide affordable healthcare to millions of low to moderate income earners in the US. It is important to note the difference between Medicaid and Medicare.

Whereas the eligibility for Medicaid is income-dependent, the cutoff requirements for Medicare are a bit more complicated.

Most Medicare beneficiaries are elderly persons who regularly take a lot of prescription drugs and are not able to afford constant private health insurance. If you plan to apply for Medicaid to help cater for some of your medical care expenses, you will first need to remember several things:

  • Medicaid comprises of several individual health insurance plans designed to assist particular classes of people to obtain health coverage. For example, the Insurance Plan for Children[CHIP] is among the most common Medicaid programs. The program applies to families with children under the age of eighteen years.
  • Medicaid programs are all income-sensitive. In most states, the eligibility of the program is placed at 200 percent of federal poverty level. To know whether your family qualifies for Medicaid or not, you will put together the annual earnings of each member to determine the total annual household income. This calculation should also include revenues from teenage kids who perform part-time jobs.
  • Medicaid is issued at the state level. Even though all state Medicaid supervisors receive federal funding, and have to follow certain laid down standards, the exact terms of service of each Medicaid program vary from one state to the next. Inquire from your state’s Medicaid administrator to see if you meet all of their eligibility guidelines.

Conclusion

Medical care without insurance can be very expensive. It is always good to have protection in case the unexpected happens. All in all, you don’t have to cancel your private health insurance policy to be able to qualify for Medicaid. You must, however, demonstrate that you need the additional medical coverage or that you are not able to pay your monthly insurance premiums.

Those who are covered under the employer-sponsored plan can still apply for Medicaid and get monthly premium support. In most cases, the coverage you get through the employer’s plan is always quite hefty. If your contract is terminated, Medicaid will even settle your COBRA premiums.

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