Finding affordable health care these days is tough. While getting health insurance coverage outside of work can be expensive, there are options to get sound protection at a reasonable price.
Find your own insurance Depending on your age, you might need to find a private health insurance plan that will cover you and/or your family. HealthCare.gov has a great plan finder, as does eHealthInsurance.com. Start by selecting how much you can afford on a monthly basis, and go from there. You can sort by price or deductible as well. Other options include associations or groups such as The Freelancers Union, which offers health as well as other types of insurance.
Cheapest option Thanks to Obamacare, if you are under 26 you may be included on your parent’s health care plan for a much lower rate than if you got an individual plan, even if you don’t live with them or are married. This is likely your cheapest option with the lowest premiums.
Strapped for cash and not 26 Fear not, friend—you have options. Emergency Coverage, while very limited in scope, is a useful thing to have if you get ill or get into an accident. These sorts of ‘hospital only’ plans really are the cheapest options, so if you’re fairly healthy and short on cash, this might be perfect for you. Often these insurance plans will offer some preventative care services. Inquire at your local hospital for specific information.
Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act If you’re recently unemployed you may be eligible to continue using your previous employer’s health insurance through COBRA - a great option for those recently have been laid off or currently going through medical treatment that began when employed. Not the most affordable option - the premiums will be much higher than others.
Ultimately finding the best health insurance plan for you is a research activity. You should be calling friends, insurance brokers, the HR department at your company or reading articles just like this. Health insurance involves so many factors—budget, current health, pre-existing conditions, age, gender and more—that it’s hard to give very concrete options for everyone. This should at least give you a place to start your research.
About the Author: Peter Walters is a freelance writer that covers topics such as marketing, small business management, and social enterprise. Peter is the Director of Biz Dev for Two Degrees Food and lives in San Francisco.