How to Apply for Medical Insurance? – Overview
Almost every business in the US offers health insurance coverage to its employees. If you are not covered under an employer’s insurance plan, then there are other options for you.
Usually, the employer pays a part of the premium to buy insurance cover for employees. However, as you will buy the insurance you will need to pay the premium out of your own pockets.
Now, you must be wondering how much the insurance premium would cost you. Still, there are several options and price ranges available for you, depending on the extent of insurance coverage you require.
Some people may find the whole process of buying insurance quite intimidating and complex.
Need for Health Insurance
If you lose health insurance coverage for any reason, it is strongly recommended to enroll in an alternate insurance plan as soon as possible.
Even if you have not needed to use insurance benefits, there is no telling when you might meet with an accident that requires immediate medical attention.
Even treating a minor fracture can sometimes incur prohibitive expenses, if you are uninsured.
When you buy insurance through the Health Insurance Marketplace then you may be eligible for income-based premium tax credits, or cost-sharing reductions.
The insurance marketplace is an online platform that offers insurance plans for individuals, families, and businesses.
In the insurance marketplace, you can find a variety of private individual health insurance providers.
These include Health Maintenance Organization (HMO), preferred provider organization (PPO), exclusive provider organization (EPO), consumer-driven health plan (CHDP), point-of-service (POS) plan, short-term insurance policy, and catastrophic coverage among others.
According to experts, buying private health insurance for individuals can cost around US$ 440 while the average monthly premium for family plans can be around US$ 1,168.
To help you make the right decision, here are some tips on how to apply for medical insurance.
Buying private health insurance
Many Americans get insured by joining their employer’s group health insurance plan. These are usually Medicaid and Medicare insurance plans.
The Medicare insurance program is aimed at seniors and the disabled. Medicaid offers health insurance coverage for low-income individuals.
Medicare is a federally-run health insurance program. It is aimed at people over 65 years old.
Younger people with certain disabilities, including people suffering from end-stage renal disease, can also buy Medicare.
Medicaid, on the other hand, is public assistance, a healthcare program designed to make healthcare and medical services more affordable for low-income individuals, regardless of their age.
In case your employer does not offer group health insurance and you are not eligible for Medicaid or Medicare then you can buy a policy from a private health insurance company.
Alternatively, you can also buy health insurance from the federal Health Insurance Marketplace.
When would you need medical insurance?
There are several situations where you would have to buy your private health insurance policy, including:
For Young Adults Who are 26 Years of Age or Older
Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) 2010 provisions, young people can be covered as dependents by their parent’s health insurance policy.
This applies to individuals who are less than 26 years of age. Once they turn 26, then they need to seek out their health insurance policy.
Medical Insurance For Unemployed Individuals
If you lose your job and face the risk of losing the employer-sponsored medical insurance then you can have it extended for a short period under COBRA.
The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) allows eligible employees and their dependents to continue healthcare coverage at their own expense.
Under certain circumstances, the COBRA option can extend your health coverage for up to 36 months.
However, the cost of enrolling under COBRA is quite high. This is because now you would have to bear the expense of the entire premium, along with some additional costs.
Medical Insurance For Part-Time Employees
Most part-time jobs would not offer health insurance. A part-time job is defined as being employed to work for less than at least 40 hours per week.
If you work part-time, then you must enroll in your private health insurance program.
A self-employed person is someone who owns a business or who works as a freelancer. Some self-employed individuals can get insurance benefits through their spouse’s insurance plan.
Alternatively, self-employed individuals may need to buy their health insurance.
Medical Insurance For Business Owners
If your business has employees then you may be required to provide health insurance cover for them. Even if you are not required you can offer health insurance to become an attractive employer.
In such situations, we recommend that you purchase a business health insurance plan, which is also known as a “group plan”.
Most employers stop health insurance benefits for an employee on their retirement. So, if you are under 65 years of age and not disabled, then you may have to buy private health insurance for senior citizens.
This insurance will provide you with cover till you turn 65 years old. You can apply for Medicare after age 65, as you are now a senior citizen.
Most retirees choose to buy private Medicare Advantage or Medigap insurance policies. These are in addition to the conventional Medicare.
This is a way to get more comprehensive medical insurance coverage.
Remember, Medicare, Medigap, and Medicare Advantage plans are only for individuals. You cannot enroll your spouse, children, or dependents through the Medicare plan.
This means that you may have to buy separate private individual health insurance plans for your dependents.
Lost Insurance Cover
The ACA prevents insurers from canceling your coverage. They cannot deny insurance coverage due to a pre-existing condition or if you make a mistake when applying.
However, there are other situations where your insurance coverage may be canceled. At times, you may have to drop your current insurance provider if their rates become too expensive to bear.
Although you may not be able to afford the kind of insurance plan provided by your employer any amount of coverage is better than none.
Buying health insurance will keep you prepared in case you need immediate medical attention following a major accident or long-term illness.