Healthcare costs are rising. There are many reasons for that, but the important thing is to be prepared. Even if you are young and healthy, unexpected accidents and major illnesses can be very expensive. Just having an insurance card will help you get the immediate care you need.
It’s not too late to apply for affordable health insurance through the healthcare.gov website. Many will qualify (based on income) for subsidies, low premiums, and low deductibles. But once the deadline passes, you will have to wait until next year, unless your income is below 150% of the Federal Poverty Level.
Starting in 2022, HealthCare.gov will allow enrollment throughout the year for people with income up to 150% of the federal poverty level (or FPL, which is $19,320 per year for a single person in 2022, $32,940 for family of 3). A new special enrollment opportunity will be offered each month, and as noted above, plan choices will include zero-premium plans with vastly reduced deductibles. To sign up during the year, people can attest to having 2022 income at or below 150% FPL, then continue with their application.https://www.kff.org/health-reform/issue-brief/ten-changes-to-watch-in-open-enrollment-2022/
Healthcare.gov is also known as the ‘marketplace’ or Obamacare or the Affordable Care Act.
How to Apply
You can go to the website first to get some basic information or you can call 1-800-318-2596. The wait time might be long so plan ahead.
Eligibility requirements have been relaxed to help more people as a result of the pandemic.
You can use this calculator to estimate your subsidy, but I still recommend actually filling out the application to get the most accurate results. https://www.kff.org/interactive/subsidy-calculator/
I highly suggest calling them and letting them help you with the application unless you are simply renewing your previous coverage. The application will decide if and how much help you get, so you don’t want to answer any questions wrong. Make sure to give them accurate information. They need to know who lives with you and all of your income sources.
Study the plans and coverage carefully to make sure you get the most benefit for your needs for the least money. For some a higher deductible plan is better. But make sure you look at the Prescription Coverage and whether or not Lab Work is covered before the deductible is met. These are two common expenses.
TIP: Sometimes your prescription costs will be lower using a GOODRx card than using the insurance plan. Ask the pharmacy to check for the lowest price! GOODRx is free to use. All major pharmacies participate. You can download the app or use the website and check prices yourself. The price can vary quite a bit from store to store.