Most articles on saving money on healthcare for people without traditional employment or who are self-employed suggest buying cheap marketplace health insurance. However, this process can be confusing.
While it’s smart to explore all available options, like those from the Affordable Care Act, it’s also valuable to discover strategies for saving money on healthcare services. Here are several alternatives to consider.
Exploring Affordable Health Insurance Coverage:
It’s entirely reasonable to have concerns about the expenses associated with health insurance. If you find yourself without a health plan, here are a few options to consider:
1. Short-Term Health Insurance: This type of insurance provides coverage for emergencies and generally spans 30 to 90 days. Keep in mind that the monthly premiums and deductibles might be relatively high.
2. COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act): If you’ve left your job, COBRA extends your employer-based health insurance for a limited period (18 to 36 months). However, the premiums could be steep since your employer won’t contribute to the costs. COBRA is a favored choice among those seeking healthcare coverage while unemployed.
3. Government-Run Healthcare Marketplace: This option involves exploring high-deductible plans with lower monthly premiums, a result of the Affordable Care Act. In many instances, married couples need to file a joint federal tax return to qualify for premium tax credits and other savings on marketplace plans.
4. Health Savings Account (HSA): You might qualify to open an HSA, which enables you to save on taxes for healthcare-related funds.
5. Medicaid or Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP): Coverage and costs are tied to the government’s federal poverty level. Monthly expenses are contingent on your state of residence and household size.
6. Private High Deductible Plans: Opting for such plans from private health insurance companies is another avenue to trim health insurance costs while retaining coverage for catastrophic events.
Discover the available healthcare choices
In certain places, healthcare centers seem to be everywhere. When you’re sick or facing an issue, how do you decide which healthcare service is the best fit for your needs?
In most cases, emergency rooms are for severe, life-threatening situations, while urgent care clinics handle less serious injuries or illnesses. Yet, there are also affordable online healthcare alternatives that connect you with doctors.
Remember, if you face a life-threatening emergency, seek immediate help from the nearest emergency services. But for cost-effective choices, explore online options.
Understanding Medical Discount Plans and Health Benefits Plans
A medical discount plan (also known as a health benefits plan) operates similarly to a wholesale club. By paying a monthly or yearly membership fee, you gain access to medical products or services at discounted rates. It’s important to note that these plans are different from health insurance plans and aren’t affiliated with government programs.
How Medical Discount Programs Operate
Rather than functioning like health insurance plans, medical discount programs involve presenting your discount card to specific providers—such as doctors, dentists, chiropractors, and pharmacists—to secure discounted services. Members typically pay a monthly fee to receive these discounts and must be prepared to settle the reduced fee with the provider at the time of service.
Investing in a Health Benefit Plan
A health benefit plan differs from a conventional health insurance plan. Here’s how these specialized plans operate:
For a cost of less than $40 per month, your entire household can access discounts on healthcare services, dental and vision coverage, prescription drugs, chiropractic care and more. To benefit from these discounts, you’ll need to visit participating providers in your area and agree to pay for services upfront. In return, these providers will extend discounted rates.