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

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Sep 2, 2021

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The lowdown...

  • It is necessary for every American that lives in the US to get and maintain minimum essential health insurance coverage
  • You can look outside of employer offerings if there is nothing less than 9.6 percent of your salary
  • ACA marketplace and private health insurance companies might offer affordable options
  • With an exemption, you can get a catastrophic health insurance plan
  • You can opt for a high deductible health plan combined with a Health Savings Account

Many Americans have had to look beyond group health insurance plans through employers to find affordable coverage.

Finding alternative plans in the health insurance marketplace can be tricky when it comes to decent coverage. You may end up with an individual plan that does not offer all of the features you want, but at least provides bare minimum services.

If you’re looking to be fully covered for health insurance, compare at least three to four policies today to find the best monthly premium for you! Enter your ZIP code above to begin!

What is mandatory nature of health insurance coverage?


Much like mandatory liability coverage for automobiles, health insurance has become a required benefit to purchase and maintain.

Unlike liability coverage, there are very few ways to get out of the mandatory stipulations of minimum essential coverage laws.

Without carrying the necessary coverage, you are subject to fees for each month of the year you do not maintain an adequate policy. The fee amount is assessed for the previous year at the time you file for income taxes.

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Research All Available Employer-Sponsored Plans

You should be able to get a decent health insurance plan that offers all the minimum essential coverage items for a better price through an employer.

The price is better because they are paying a portion of the monthly premium costs.

If the prices seem extraordinarily high, try trimming down to a less desirable plan to start. You have the ability to look elsewhere without penalty if all available plan premiums from your employer are more than 9.6 percent of your income.

Head to the ACA Marketplace for Subsidy Assistance


If you find out that health insurance coverage for you and your entire family will cost more than 9.6 percent of your income through an employer, you have the right to seek health coverage elsewhere.

The ACA marketplace might be able to offer you a decent health insurance plan at a discounted price if you qualify for subsidy assistance.

All you have to do is go to the marketplace website and fill out an application.

An insurance agent or broker can assist you in signing up for a marketplace plan as well. There are plans of varying levels, but all coverage available in the marketplace covers minimum essential services.

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Check Private Health Insurance Options

You may not qualify for subsidy assistance through the marketplace if your income is too high. At this point, take the time to get with an agent or broker and explore the offerings of the private health insurance market.

Find out if there are any groups and organizations you belong to that might offer discounted health insurance plan rates, such as AARP, or a professional organization.

Leave no stone unturned in your quest to find an affordable health insurance plan and avoid the high cost related to non-coverage fees.

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Find Out if You Qualify for an Exemption

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There are circumstances in which an exemption from the mandated minimum essential health insurance coverage is allowed. Exemptions are granted for:

  • Financial hardship
  • Other life hardships that made signing up impossible
  • Incarceration
  • Membership of a health oriented religious organization
  • Membership of an American Indian tribe
  • You live abroad

You will need to fill out an application for exemption status through the ACA marketplace. Applying can be done online, or you can download the form and mail it in. Online will be the fastest method of securing exemption status.

Get a Catastrophic Health Insurance Plan

Once you obtain an exemption, you can begin shopping for a catastrophic health insurance plan. Catastrophic plans are not considered minimum essential coverage, but they do offer the bare essentials to have at least some health care during the year.

The deductibles, co-pays, and out-of-pocket limits can be very high. As a result, catastrophic health insurance coverage is reserved for those that cannot afford anything else or are under 30 years of age.

Most individuals under age 30 rarely use health insurance and are considered the most healthy, statistically speaking. Unfortunately, major health events can happen at any age. Statistics do not always speak for all situations.

Consider a High Deductible Health Insurance Plan Coupled With an HSA


One final option to look at if you cannot get affordable health insurance from an employer is a high deductible health plan combined with a Health Savings Account (HSA).

The monthly premiums for a high deductible plan are rather modest, but the deductibles and out-of-pocket limits can be extraordinarily high.

One way to make a plan like this work is to start a coinciding Health Savings Account.

Having a savings account is a way to save back tax-free dollars for planned health care expenses. It might be your best option if your income is too high for any other types of assistance or programs like Medicaid.

Finding an affordable health insurance plan can be real work if you do not earn enough to afford an employer-sponsored plan. There are other options available if you are willing to do a little homework and look down every side street.

You may not be able to start with the coverage you want, but you will find the plan you need to avoid the high cost of fees for not having an adequate health insurance premium.

Looking for affordable health insurance? Enter your ZIP code below and start comparison shopping today for the best coverage and rates!