Affordable Care Act
Coverage Options If You Don’t Have Health Insurance
Published on August 27, 2014
If you missed the fall Open Enrollment Period for major medical health insurance plans under the Affordable Care Act, you may be wondering what health coverage options you have. After all, unexpected accidents and illnesses can happen at any time and quickly leave you with a pile of extensive medical bills. Here, we tell you about the short-term and catastrophic plan options that can be good alternatives if you have no major medical insurance.
Short-term coverage temporarily safeguards your finances in the case of a covered illness or accident. One of the down sides to this type of coverage is that it does not meet the minimum essential coverage required by the Affordable Care Act (ACA), so you may still be subject to the tax penalty. In addition, pre-existing conditions can also be excluded from short-term coverage.
Short-term insurance is also nonrenewable, and doesn’t include coverage for preventive care such as physicals, vaccines, dental, or vision. Most people carry short-term health insurance for 30 days to one year. Some people also find it relatively affordable, and eligible applicants can be approved for short-term coverage in as little as one day.
Short-term coverage can also provide you with some coverage until the next Open Enrollment Period.
Catastrophic insurance plans are designed to provide an emergency safety net for unexpected medical costs. While some people buy catastrophic plans to augment their existing insurance, others enroll in them to help fill in a coverage gap while they wait to enroll in a major medical insurance plan.
If you have no additional health insurance, you should keep in mind that catastrophic plans don’t meet the minimum coverage required by the ACA. As a result, you may still be subject to the tax penalty.
Catastrophic insurance includes plans such as critical-illness insurance, accident insurance, and fixed-benefit indemnity medical insurance.
Critical-illness insurance: Critical-illness plans are one type of catastrophic coverage. With this type of coverage, you can protect your personal finances when a covered major illness such as cancer, heart attack, or stroke occurs. This type of plan pays you a lump sum when you are diagnosed with certain conditions to ease your financial burden.
Accident insurance: Accident insurance covers the medical expenses and out-of-pocket charges that you might owe after a covered accident occurs. Covered costs include emergency care, hospital charges, and medical checkups. It may even cover any transportation and hotel expenses.
Fixed-benefit indemnity medical insurance: A fixed-benefit indemnity medical insurance plan provides cash payouts if you suffer from specific illnesses or injuries covered by your policy. This plan is can work well for those who need temporary coverage. It can also be a suitable supplemental policy for those who have health insurance with high deductibles or extensive out-of-pocket expenses.
We realize it can be disconcerting when you have no health insurance. But, fortunately, many insurance providers offer short-term and temporary plans to give you some level of coverage and more peace of mind.
If you don’t have a major medical plan compliant with the Affordable Care Act, eHealth can help you. Take a look at the plans we have available for your situation and budget.