The average cost of health insurance varies across America but hovers around $4,000 per year. For a lot of people, that cost is too much to bear.
Unfortunately, when it comes to health expenses, you tend to pay for them on the front end or the back end. That’s because going through life uninsured and running into an accident could mean needing to shell out tens of thousands of dollars for something as simple as getting a couple of casts.
So then, what’s a person to do if they can’t afford health insurance?
There’s no universal answer to the question but there are options. Below, our team shares what we think are the best choices that are worth opting into to get your healthcare on the right track:
See If You Qualify for Free Healthcare
If you’re truly financially destitute, chances are, you qualify for free healthcare. State Medicaid programs offer free coverage to people that are generally making around $17,000 or less as singles.
Rules pertaining to gaining access to Medicaid vary from state to state. You’ll want to go to your local healthcare resources website to see what’s possible.
Explore Advanced Tax Credits
Even if you’re not living below the poverty line, you might still qualify for healthcare help. That help may come in the way of premium tax credits.
Premium tax credits are reserved for lower-middle-class individuals that can pay for a portion of their healthcare expenses. The idea is that you’ll pay for your care in-full and then when you file your taxes, the government will refund you a portion of what you spent based on how much money you made during the year.
If you can’t afford health insurance upfront and aren’t in a position to wait for tax credit money, you can request your tax credits upfront. That way, you won’t have to pay your share and the government’s.
Just be aware that if you over claim tax credits and end up making too much money, the government will ask for some back.
Try Off-Exchange Plans
Most healthcare plans are bought through the healthcare exchange on healthcare.gov. That exchange isn’t the only place to buy plans though.
Many healthcare plans exist off-exchange and can be bought through the insurer’s private websites. It may be that these plans represent a better deal than exchange plans.
Poke around and see what’s available in your state.
Change Your Line of Work
Almost half of the US gets their healthcare through their employer. If you’re not getting healthcare through yours, consider changing your line of work to a job with benefits.
That’s easier said than done for people without educations but even taking out a loan to go back to school in order to get a better job could net you benefits.
Many schools have subsidized the healthcare they offer to students that you can benefit from through enrolling.
Marry Into Coverage
While not an optimal way to get health insurance, it’s proven effective for people to marry into healthcare coverage. Almost all employer-sponsored healthcare plans offer ultra-affordable means of allowing spouses to hop on plans.
Even if you’re not married to someone with health insurance but have lived with them for a long time, you may qualify for getting on their plan through domestic partnership allowances.
Opt for a Low-Budget Catastrophic Plan
If you’re confident you’re going to be relatively healthy throughout the year but are just worried about running into a freak, costly accident, catastrophic plans are for you. These plans only kick in to cover the most life-threatening issues and can save you from bankruptcy should you get unlucky.
Since catastrophic plans are limited in scope, they ask for low monthly premiums which makes them affordable health insurance for almost anyone.
Explore Unconventional Health Shares
Health Shares are private health insurance pools run by individuals. These shares aggregate a bunch of members that collectively agree to cover one another’s medical expenses as they come up.
Health shares are most common in church communities. They can also be found through arts groups, alumni groups, and in other places.
The thing to watch out for with these types of insurance pools is that they may have a lot of exclusions regarding what’s covered. Given the limited pool of resources they have to pull from, they might also go “belly up” when you need them to pay for your care.
Make Staying Healthy a Priority
At the end of the day, if you never have any health issues, you’ll never need to seek medical care. While staying healthy is easier said than done, there are several lifestyle choices you can make that can improve your ability to do so.
Eat right, exercise, and do what you can to be happy. Those three factors working together can produce wonderful results.
Just Because You Can’t Afford Health Insurance Doesn’t Mean You Don’t Have Options
For those of you that can’t afford health insurance, don’t fret. As we’ve described in this post, you absolutely have options, many of which could more than take care of your health needs.
We hope the tips we’ve shared got the wheels turning in your head and ultimately turn you onto a care option that works for you.
Are you still in need of insight pertaining to healthcare? Would you like insight on other lifestyle topics? If you answered “yes” to those questions, consider browsing more of the content on our blog.