Health insurance is now available to more Americans than ever before. Subsidized options are easily available to low-income individuals and families. In the past, many people took the risk of not being insured, but with the Affordable Care Act (ACA) you can be fined if you don’t have qualified health care insurance. Instead of paying a fine, people who have not been able to afford insurance before are looking for affordable medical insurance options.
There are several reasons why more people have insurance now, but one is certainly the increase in affordable health plan options, including subsidized, or tax credits, health insurance purchased through one of the state exchanges. Compliant insurance can also be purchased privately. The options available to an individual depends primarily on his/her income level.
Low Income: If an individual’s income is 100 to 400 percent of the national poverty rate ($11,490 – $45,960) for a single person, he/she may qualify for subsidized health insurance. In many cases, this is not free health insurance but subsidized. This means the individual can get bronze-level health insurance for about $2570 per year through one of the state exchanges. Extremely low-income individuals and elderly persons often qualify for Medicare. If you paid the fine for 2014 you may still qualify for insurance via an exchange, even if it is not during the open-enrollment period.
Best Options for Low-Income Earners:
Medicare, state exchange or fine exemption
Middle Income: If an individual’s income is above the threshold of $45,960 (adjusted), he/she will not qualify for subsidized health insurance. Those above the poverty rate can still shop for insurance via an exchange but will not benefit from subsidies. However, income thresholds change depending on household size, so it is worth finding out if the individual qualifies. Individuals can also shop for insurance through one of the major carriers, including those listed in this review, such as Humana, Kaiser Permanente or Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS), depending on what is available in an area.
Best Options for Mid-Income: Individual health insurance (lowest-option) or high-deductible health plans.
High Income: Those with a high income are facing a different problem. Many who have high incomes didn’t purchase insurance in the past; they just paid health care expenses as needed. Paying two percent of a high income for the penalty can be a rather large sum for high-income persons. In this case, it might be cheaper to just buy qualifying health insurance. If one is in good health, he/she might want to choose the lowest qualifying plan. If he/she has ongoing health issues, he/she may as well bite the bullet and choose a more exhaustive plan and lower his/her out-of-pocket expenses.
In conclusion, While some may be asking themselves if it would be cheaper to just pay the fine, statistics show that more Americans have health insurance now than before the ACA was enacted.