A common misconception about the nearly 46 million Americans who carry no medical insurance is that the government subsidizes all their health care costs. This is simply not true. Total health care expenditures for the uninsured came to approximately $125 billion in 2007 – a figure that’s continued to skyrocket year by year. In fact the non-profit consumer health-care advocacy organization Families USA says that the uninsured frequently spend more for their health care than the insured because no one is doing utilization review, a function performed by insurance companies when they review bills prior to reimbursing them.
While the government picks up the majority of the costs for uncompensated health care, the uninsured themselves pay between one-quarter to one-third of the associated costs – far more than what most of them might end up spending to buy medical insurance.
Not only does health insurance bring peace of mind, it’s also good for your budget. Health maintenance organizations (HMOs) and preferred provider organizations (PPOs) are no longer the only available options. New, less expensive policies like Health Savings Accounts and so-called mini medical insurance plans are becoming very popular. Enter your zip code in the designated box to get free quotes on there and other insurance options from America’s leading insurance carriers. Review your health insurance alternatives today!
Who Are the Medically Uninsured?
Who are the medically uninsured? The answers may surprise you. We are used to thinking of the medically uninsured as the population segment comprised of America’s vary poorest families but according to research done by the medical financing company AccessOne, 56 percent are employed adults. On the whole the medically uninsured are younger and healthier than the population as a whole which means if they were added to current insurance pools, rates would go down for all insurance policyholders.
Affordability is the key issue here. By the time families get through with paying food, housing, utility and transportation costs, there isn’t a lot left over. The adults in the family make a calculated risk to go without health insurance, hoping that no family member falls ill or becomes involved in an accident.
Yet there are health care plans that these families can afford.
Health Insurance Plans For Low Income Families
Medicaid – Medicaid is a health program for low income families, seniors and persons with disabilities, jointly funded by state and the federal governments but managed by the state.
Medicaid is an entitlement program, meaning access to benefits is guaranteed by legislative mandate so long as the person receiving those benefits meets the program’s eligibility criteria. Some eligibility criteria are absolute: You must be a U.S. citizen or a lawfully admitted immigrant to receive Medicaid benefits. Other eligibility criteria pertaining to income and financial resources vary from state to state.
Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) – CHIP is a program designed to provide health insurance for children of families whose incomes make them ineligible for Medicaid. The program is not an entitlement per se; it’s a state and federal partnership, funded in part through capped federal matching funds. CHIP funds are not used to buy health care services but to expand existing eligibility for state Medicaid programs in all states except Arizona.
Limited Medical Benefit Plans – Limited medical benefit plans, also known as mini medical plans, are scaled down versions of major medical plans that cover limited access to standard services for a low monthly premium. These services include visits to physicians’ offices, prescription coverage, hospital benefits and the like.
Limited medical benefit plans vary widely in both their benefit assignments and the payment mechanisms offered to policyholders, so it is imperative to read the policies’ fine print. However they are becoming extremely popular because unlike catastrophic health coverage, limited medical benefit plans carry first dollar benefit, i.e. the health plan pays for benefits before the policyholder becomes responsible for out-of-pocket charges. Increasingly employers are offering limited medical benefit plans as a coverage option to employees. Various trade associations are also making limited medical benefit plans available to private individuals.
Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) – HSAs are an option available to policyholders enrolled in a high deductible health plan (HDHP). They function like something like Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs). Deposits into an HSA are subject to statutorily defined limits and are made on a pre-tax basis. Deposits can be made by the policyholder, his or her employer or indeed by anyone with an interest in depositing, but HAS deposits are strictly the property of the policyholder. Deposits made in a given year, that are not used to cover medical expenses incurred during that year, are automatically rolled over to cover future medical expenses.
Withdrawals can be made from HSAs to cover expenses associated with physicians’ visits, prescription medications, preventive care and a variety of other health costs.
How To Find Health Insurance For Low Income Families
Health insurance options for low income families vary from state to state which is why it’s imperative to shop around and to speak with an insurance agent licensed in the state in which you live when you’re shopping for low cost insurance options. To see what may be available where you live please enter your zip code into the search box provided above. Please note: We are not able to provide any information about existing policies nor can we guarantee that quotes for specific insurance carriers or specific types of coverage will be available when you are ready to buy.