The cost of getting health insurance is constantly increasing every year, and it seems to come to a point where ordinary citizens can no longer afford it. As a result, people try to find alternatives to secure their health and well-being.
Affordable Options Over Major Medical Plans
If you’re one of those struggling to find alternative health coverage, this article would help as it lists down some options. The following are alternatives you can consider if you’re looking for more affordable health coverage:
Some organizations have healthcare programs wherein participants share medical expenses. When you join this type of program, you must pay a monthly share rate and an annual unshared amount for your expenses. These shared amounts act like the premium and deductible in a traditional plan.
Keep in mind, your medical expenses must meet these shared amounts before the plan can share your costs. Members of health-share programs tend to pay a part of each other’s medical bills since they’re in the form of faith-based cooperatives. You can learn more about health-share programs here.
While health share plans sound a lot like insurance, there are some fundamental legal and functional distinctions to know mainly due to the majority of states enacting legislation exempting health-share programs from health insurance rules and regulations. Here are some things you need to know:
Health-share plans are less expensive compared to traditional health plans. Premiums may vary, but they usually range from USD$300-500 per month. They also typically have a lower total out of pocket than major medical plans.
Most health-share plans cover doctor’s visits, prescriptions, hospitalization, maternity, and emergency room visits. However, they may exclude some services like infertility care, alternative care, and behavioral or mental health services.
Many people are curious if the majority of health-share plans need a faith-based declaration. Even though many people joining the program are religious, some health-sharing programs don’t include a statement of faith. Instead, they only require an agreement to live a healthier lifestyle such as not smoking or not abusing alcohol or drugs.
In certain circumstances, short-term health insurance may provide you with temporary medical coverage. Many aspects of these short-term health insurance policies vary significantly from those of conventional health insurance plans, and short-term health insurance can be worth it for people not needing medical care or prescriptions daily.
Short-term plans are usually for a year or less, although they may often be extended for up to three years. They typically have fewer benefits and coverage amounts than traditional medical plans. When a short-term plan expires, you must purchase a new one. Also, you may not be able to get another short-term option if you’re sick. Here are some of its details:
Based on the average pricing for plans, short-term health insurance is usually affordable compared to traditional health plans. Actual prices may vary depending on the beneficiary’s location, age, gender, and other factors.
Short-term medical benefits usually cover prescriptions, preventive services, hospital appointments, urgent care, and emergency care. Some plans also include discounts for seeing affiliated healthcare providers.
Before purchasing any program, make sure you understand its full coverage, including the excluded services. It’ll allow you to choose what’s the right insurance for you.
Because short-term plan duration is limited, it’s ideal for people who might need temporary coverage for certain circumstances like:
- If you’ve reached the age limit to be covered under your parents’ traditional insurance
- If you weren’t able to sign up for a traditional insurance plan during open enrollment
- If you left or lost your job recently
Association Health Plans
Association Health Plans (AHPs) are health plans funded by employers’ associations sharing the goal of providing health insurance for their workers, and members of the program should be working in the same industry or occupation.
Association health plans (AHPs) can be one way to reduce premiums for small businesses, self-employed, freelancers, and gig economy employees, which has piqued interest in recent years. Here are some of its features:
Different monthly rates or premiums may be set based on risk factors such as age, gender, and industry factors in association health plans. By forming an AHP, employers can save money on administrative fees as a collective rather than negotiating with insurers one-on-one. Lower rates for beneficiaries can be achieved by enrolling a larger number of people in the scheme.
Since they aren’t required to include all essential health benefits, some AHPs may exclude some benefits for workers such as maternal health care or mental health services and charge more for some employees based on their health status and gender. Association programs aren’t always subject to state and federal regulations, and they don’t provide as much coverage as large medical plans.
If you’re self-employed or you belong to the gig economy, then an association health plan is an excellent option to consider as an alternative to traditional insurance.
A subscription-based healthcare model works in the same way as gym membership and cable subscription do. Concierge medicine and direct primary care (DPC) are examples of subscription health plans. It includes:
Subscription payments typically cover most in-office facilities, regardless of the number of visits made. Concierge physicians see far fewer patients than regular doctors because their appointments last longer. Most retainer-based practices support insurance for additional services such as lab testing, x-rays, and prescription medications.
Direct Primary Care (DPC)
A financial agreement made directly between a patient and a healthcare provider is known as direct primary care. There are no middlemen such as insurance firms involved, and doctors who work with DPC also don’t have to negotiate with insurance firms. As a result, DPC prices are usually lower than those charged by other concierge providers.
As the cost of health insurance increases, it’s normal for people to find alternatives to keep them healthy. The good news is there many alternatives are available depending on the circumstances and your preference.
If you prefer to get major medical coverage but weren’t able to sign up because you missed the open enrollment, get a short-term plan for temporary coverage. If you belong to a specific ministry or a cost-conscious individual who wants a predictable medical cost, health-share plans might be a good option.
Association health plans, on the other hand, are ideal for self-employed, freelancers, and small business employees. Lastly, if you already have coverage under a major medical plan but aren’t satisfied with it, you might want to think about getting a subscription-based plan as additional coverage.