Be careful, just mentioning the phrase Health Insurance can cause an uproar. After all, health insurance conversations and topics usually leave individuals feeling overwhelmed, panicked, or even distressed. Fortunately enough however, the new 2013 year comes with several positive changes to the health insurance market, which will be leaving individuals and families alike with a sense of hope.
In 2013, you will find individual health insurance as well as family health insurance to be more simpler and affordable than ever before. So, If you find yourself struggling to afford the high costs of health insurance, you should consider all of your health care options. Some of these options include: Private insurance options, the Medicaid program, the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and the Community Health Centers options.
The Medicaid Program
Another option you may be eligible for is the Medicaid program. Basically, the Medicaid program provides coverage for individuals with lower incomes, lower income families and children, elderly individuals, and individuals with disabilities. Keep in mind however, each state operates their own Medicaid program. This means that eligibility requirement vary by state. Therefore, when seeking enrollment, one should go through their own state Medicaid program.
Like the eligibility requirements for the Medicaid program, the benefits also vary by state. However, there are basic benefits that are covered in every Medicaid program. Some of these benefits include:
* Laboratory and X-ray services
* Inpatient hospital services
* Outpatient hospital services
* Health screenings for children and treatment if medical problems are identified
* Comprehensive dental and vision services for children
* Family planning services and supplies
* Long-term care services and supports
* Medical and surgical dental services for adults
* Pediatric and family nurse practitioner services
* Services provided in health clinics
* Nurse-midwife services
* Nursing facility services for adults
* Home health care services for certain people
* Prescription drugs
Other benefits your state must cover for children and may also cover for adults include:
* Physical, occupational, or speech therapy
* Eye doctor visits, eyeglasses
* Audiology, hearing aids
* Prosthetic devices
* Mental health services
* Respite and other in-home long-term care
* Case management
* Personal care services
* Hospice services
The Medicare Program
If you are 65 years or older, you are eligible for Medicare Insurance. If you have a disability or if you are suffering from End Stage Renal Disease, or ESRD, you may be eligible for the Medicare program before the age of 65. When Medicare insurance, you are usually automatically enrolled with Original Medicare. Original Medicare is a combination of Medicare Part A hospitalization insurance and Medicare Part B medical insurance. With Original Medicare, you are able to be up to 80% covered. To receive these Original Medicare benefits, one must pay a low monthly premium for Medicare Part B. Medicare Part A on the other hand, is usually free of charge.
Some services covered by Original Medicare include:
* In patient care in hospitals
* Skilled nursing facility
* Home health care
* Doctor visits
* Outpatient Care
* Medical Equipment and supplies
* Home health services
Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)
Children's Health Insurance Program, or CHIP, is a low cost health insurance option for children in families who earn too much money to qualify for the Medicaid program, but are still unable to afford private health insurance. Much like the Medicaid program, every state is responsible for operating their own CHIP program. However, many of these states opted to give their own name for this program. New York for example, named their CHIP program the “Child Health Plus Program.” So, be sure to keep this in mind when searching for the CHIP program in your specific state.
Benefits for the CHIP program also vary by state. However, each state is required to cover basic services which include:
* Routine check-ups
* Dental and vision care
* Inpatient and outpatient hospital care
* Laboratory and X-ray services
Community Health Centers
Did you know that you may be able to receive low cost health care, or even free health care depending on your income? There is a network of community health centers across the United States that provide preventive and primary care to Americans. These community health care centers consist of: hospitals, health centers, and clinics. The best part about these Community Health Centers is the fact that health insurance is not required. In fact, any individual or family is able to go to a Community Health Center. What you are required to pay however, depends on your income.
Many Community Health centers provide:
* Prenatal care
* Baby shots
* Prescription medications
* General primary care
* Specialized care for more serious conditions (Example:Mental Health issues)
Private Health Insurance Options
If you don't qualify for the options listed above, you are still able to qualify for private health insurance. If you do not currently have health insurance coverage or if you have difficulty affording your currently health insurance plan, you may want to consider private insurance options. Some of these private insurance options may even provide you with low cost care. Using healthcare.gov will give you tools for it. This online tool, which is free of charge, will help you find health insurance policies in your location that offer the lowest premiums and the lowest out of pocket costs. Also, if you have a pre-existing health condition, this tool will help you find the coverage you need in addition to all other options you may qualify for. In conclusion, you will be able to find the most affordable health care option.
Help Is Out There
If you need health insurance and are not able to afford the high cost of insurance plans, you should know that help is out there for you. The first step is simply asking for help! You may qualify for low cost plans or even plans free or charge. Therefore,, start asking and start applying today.
Written by Jeff Cline