Health Insurance for Low Income: Get Quality Healthcare Regardless of Your Salary

Parents giving piggyback ride to childrenHealth insurance is becoming an increasingly complex issue for people on low incomes. With the introduction of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in 2010, this issue became even more difficult. However, there are a number of ways that you can get help with your health care premiums, and find alternatives to ensure that you and your family get coverage. When you understand the five pillars of optimal health, hopefully you won’t have to use health insurance very often. Read on to discover some of the ways that you can obtain health coverage with a low income.

Start with the State

One of the first places you should go to get help with heath insurance is the Department of Health Care Services, or the Department of Health and Human Services websites. States are keenly aware of the issues that families with low incomes have, in getting comprehensive health care. These websites detail what kind of help your state already has in place on this issue. They will also answer specific questions although it may take some time to get an answer.

Most states have specific plans for low income families such as California’s Medi-Cal plan. This plan offers specific help to low income families, as well as seniors, and people with special circumstances. Other states such as Massachusetts, have been applying for waivers, so that the state can get critical funding in order to reform their health care alternatives, to assist people with a low income. You need to get a clear understanding of the various programs in place in your state, and whether you can qualify for one of them. This course gives teaches you how healthcare providers need to comply with HIPAA, which does affect health insurance.

Research Federal Alternatives

There are a limited number of federally funded programs designed for families with low incomes. The best place to research whether you are eligible for one of these programs is the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Heath website. It lists the types of qualifying criteria that apply to each of the programs on offer. Go through each program one by one, and compare your current situation to the qualifying criteria. In addition to general health care assistance, there are also specific programs that provide cover for certain areas of health care such as vision and dental.

Apply for Medicaid

Medicaid, introduced in 1965, has been helping families with low incomes to get some form of health insurance since then. Medicaid is a combination of state and federal funding. No matter what state you reside in, you will have a chance to apply for it. The Medicaid website offers all the information that you need to determine whether or not you qualify for assistance. If you have children, then they may be eligible for coverage under the Children’s Health Insurance Program. This was created specifically for children from families who do not meet the requirements of Medicaid.

Macro shoot of medical person for health insurance

Discuss Health Insurance with Your Employer

Many employers are aware of the issues that face their employees on a daily basis, when it comes to health insurance. Years ago, most Americans could rely on employers to provide basic health care, but due to the increasing costs, situations have changed. Before trying this, you need to make a budget of your monthly income and expenses that clearly shows how the amount you are paying for your employee insurance premium is causing you financial hardship. If you go into the discussion prepared, the human resource department may be able to switch you to a low income health care plan. Since healthcare continually changes, it helps to know about the healthcare reform principles.

Speak to Your Health Insurance Company

Insurance providers are businesses, and as such they want to have as many customers as they can. If you have been with your health insurance provider for a significant time, and are now finding that the premiums are becoming too much of a burden, then ask them if they have any alternatives for you. Most health insurance providers have a number of different plans that are designed to suit a wide range of budgets. Before you call your current health insurance provider, go through your current plan and make notes on the key features in your existing plan that you regard as essential. That last thing you want to do is miss a step that could affect your overall health.

Most good health insurance providers will work with you to switch your plan to one that is more suitable to your current situation. Do not agree to any switch until you are certain about the impact this will have on your coverage. Often, a change to a cheaper plan will result in you receiving either lower coverage, or a higher deductible. You need to evaluate all the alternatives, and decide what works best for you. You should also read this article offering more ways to understand all the facets of health insurance. 

Consider Short Term Solutions

If your income is low because you have become recently unemployed, then there are some other alternatives available. You do not have to spend sleepless nights worrying about your health and whether or not you can get good care. You can apply for short term health insurance that can run anywhere from 6 to 12 months. This is usually fairly comprehensive and does not cost as much as normal health insurance as it is only for a limited time. The reduction in premiums help you remain covered while you are looking for a new job.

It is a delicate balancing act to obtain a good level of quality health insurance, while struggling to survive on a limited income. The key to the solution is to know all the facts of the alternatives open to you. If you carefully research all of the varying avenues mentioned here, you should be able to find one or more solutions that works for your current situation. The sooner you start looking, the faster you can find something.