Affordable Care Act
New Coverage Options Coming for People Who Can’t Afford Obamacare
Published on March 30, 2017
Health insurance is expensive and it keeps getting more costly every year.
Data recently published by eHealth show that the average cost of coverage for individuals who don’t get Obamacare subsidies has increased 99% since 2013, the year before major provisions of the Affordable Care Act (the “ACA” or “Obamacare”) came into effect.
For the first two months of the 2017 Obamacare open enrollment period, the average monthly health insurance premium for individual coverage was $393!
If you’re not getting government subsidies to help cover your monthly premiums, you may find yourself in a tough position as costs continue to climb. Where can you turn for coverage?
Suggested insurance packages are coming to eHealth
In order to help people who just cannot afford to keep themselves insured under an Obamacare-compliant health insurance plan, eHealth is planning to roll out new suggested packages of insurance products this year to provide some level of protection to people without Obamacare plans.
What do we mean by suggested packages of insurance? A suggested insurance package is comprised of two or more separate insurance policies which can work well together and provide you with more comprehensive coverage than you would have with just one of them.
Really, it’s not a new idea. People have been combining coverage from separate policies for years on their own, but eHealth plans to help shoppers by making it easier for them to find and apply for packages of complementary policies.
New suggested insurance packages coming to eHealth may include the following types of coverage:
- Short-term health insurance – Short-term health insurance provides you with a limited, temporary layer of protection in case of unexpected accidents or illness. It generally does not provide coverage for pre-existing medical conditions or preventive care, but it can put a limit to your financial liability in case of serious, unforeseeable medical bills.
- Supplemental insurance – Supplemental insurance may provide you with a cash payout in case of a qualifying injury or serious medical diagnosis. You can typically use payments from supplemental insurance however you want – for example, to help pay for your medical deductibles (from your short-term or major medical insurance) or for anything else you want (such as your rent or mortgage while you’re in the hospital).
- Dental insurance – Dental insurance provides you with a set of specific dental benefits during the year or within another time period.
- Vision insurance – Like dental insurance, vision insurance typically provides you with specific benefits for vision correction and care, generally within certain limits each year (or another time period).
- Telemedicine access – Telemedicine allows you to get personal medical help or advice from authorized professionals by phone, tablet, or other devices, with most plans providing service 24 hours per day.
- Rx discount plan – Prescription drug discount plans provide you with discounts on many drugs when you buy them from participating pharmacies.
- Identify theft monitoring, legal support, tax advice, etc. – Additional benefits such as these may be available as part of suggested insurance packages.
The products available in a suggested insurance package may vary by state or locality.
What you need to know before you consider one of these products
We’ll be the first to tell you that a major medical Obamacare health insurance plan is your best bet if you want comprehensive protection from health care costs for yourself and your family. You should only consider a bundled insurance package as an additional layer of protection when you simply cannot afford to buy major medical coverage at all or when you do not qualify to apply for major medical coverage.
You’ll need to know that going without Obamacare-compliant health insurance for more than two consecutive months within a calendar year can make you subject to a tax penalty on your federal taxes. None of the products included in a bundled insurance package will protect you from the Obamacare tax penalty.
Additionally, you should know that while many of the products described above are open to all applicants, it is possible to be turned down for coverage. For example, most short-term health insurance plans can exclude you due to your personal medical history or the presence of a pre-existing medical condition. Each insurance product in a suggested package is actually a product that can be bought on its own, so you may qualify for some but not all of the products in a suggested package. Not all the products in a suggested package are necessarily from the same insurance company, and you are not required to buy all the products in a suggested package together.
If you’re interested in more affordable coverage and you want to learn more about your options, visit eHealth today or talk with one of our licensed health insurance agents.