How Can I Get Health Insurance?

In the United States health care system, adults must ask, "How can I get health insurance?" if they wish to obtain an appropriate level of medical care. Without insurance of some form, it can be very challenging for any individual living in the US to obtain medical care when needed. Thankfully, there are many options to obtain insurance, even if you do not have employer-provided coverage.

Group Coverage

Group coverage through an employer is typically the most affordable choice. With this option, employers may subsidize costs in two ways. First, by purchasing insurance for a large group, employers can find discounts not available to individual participants. Second, many employers will actually pay a portion of health care costs as part of an employment compensation package.

Union and Association Coverage

If you do not have coverage through an employer, consider whether you may gain group coverage through another method. For example, many real estate agents are independent contractors who do not receive benefits through their brokerage. However, if these individuals are members of the American Association of Realtors, they may be eligible to buy into a group plan. Similar plans exist among union members and other independent working individuals. If you are self employed or contract your work, consider joining an organization that presents you with health care benefit options. 

Individual Plans

Paying for insurance on your own can be costly, but it is typically less expensive than not obtaining insurance at all. As a result, individuals may seek independent coverage. First, it is important to know you may be eligible for a coverage extension if you are laid off from your job through the COBRA program. With this program, you can continue to receive benefits from your employer's plan, but you are responsible for paying 100 percent of the cost. However, if you were terminated through a layoff, you may actually be eligible for a subsidy of these costs. If you are simply an individual seeking benefits, you will not be eligible for COBRA. Instead, consider the least expensive individual plans available.

Non Profit Organizations

Often, the least expensive individual and family plans come through non profit health groups. Risk pools are one option, but they have a reputation for mismanagement in some states. Do your research if you are considering a risk pool. Otherwise, look for an insurance company, such as Kaiser Permanente, that operates at low cost because it is a non profit organization. You will often find benefits provided through these groups may not be the most convenient, but are often the most affordable.

Government Sponsored Health Coverage

If you do not qualify for any private sector coverage, you may be eligible for state or federal Medicare. Medicare, or the state's equivalent version, is an option to any individual without health coverage due to circumstances outside of his or her own control. You will have to apply, and the application process and claims process can be burdensome. However, if you do qualify, the benefits are provided free of charge to you.

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