Affordable health care for the masses was the basic premise of Obamacare when the Affordable Care Act was signed into law March 23, 2010. Although millions have benefited from the plan, the original plan has evolved, and health insurance has become less and less affordable under the act.
Those covered by mid-level plans, known as “Silver Plans” are expected to see an average increase in 2018 of 34 percent, according to the Washington Examiner on this report. That’s a steep increase considering that those who sought coverage under the act were originally struggling to afford health coverage to begin with.
There is a great deal of concern over the rising cost of insurance under Obamacare, understandably so. The search for alternatives for affordable care that still meets the Affordable Care Act mandate is driving millions to search for the best alternative to Obamacare.
Researching available options, you will find that insurers are getting creative and coming up with options to consider.
Let’s review some of the choices you may come across as you seek more affordable health care.
Medical Cost Sharing AKA Health Sharing
Health care sharing ministries have seen a surge in memberships since the enactment of Obamacare. According to US News, membership in some of these ministries has more than doubled. These plans have been around for more than 20 years as a way for people to find affordable health coverage.
The basics about these plans:
The big plus to the plans is that once membership is established, the member is exempt from the Affordable Care Act mandate. Members are not subject to the tax penalties for not having health coverage, even though the plans do not always meet the minimum standards of the act. By belonging to one of these organizations, the members are exempt.
Additional benefits are that there are no waiting periods or medical underwriting.
These plans are not insurance. There is no guarantee that their medical bills will be covered. Members of these plans agree to contribute a certain amount on a monthly basis to share in the medical costs of the group. As medical costs are incurred, they are submitted to the organization, and if the expense is deemed a qualified expense, payment is made by the organization.
Typical exclusions of coverage under health sharing plans are:
- Mental Health Care
- Pregnancy Termination
- Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation
- Pre-existing conditions are covered once the waiting period has elapsed.
These plans are a very popular alternative to Obamacare and offer the members affordable coverage for basic and typical medical expenses.
Short Term Health Insurance
Also known as “Temporary Health Insurance” these plans offer a viable short-term solution to the uninsured. The plans typically run from 30 days to 364 days. It is important to note that these plans do not meet the requirements to be considered a qualified plan under Obamacare. Therefore, those who elect these plans are still subject to the tax penalty. The upside is that the savings over a qualified plan could be significant enough that the insured can pay the penalty and still have at least basic medical care to protect against unexpected major medical expenses.
Covered expenses under these plans may include in-patient hospital care, intensive care, out-patient hospital care, out-patient emergency room visits, ambulatory services, surgical services and more depending on the plan and the provider.
Short-Term plans are ideal for those:
- Rolling off their parent’s current insurance
- Without insurance and have missed open enrollment and do not have a qualifying event that would allow them to get coverage
- Are college students or fresh out of school
- Waiting for benefits to kick in at a new employer
- Needing a viable alternative to COBRA insurance
Supplemental Health Insurance
These plans are a great add-on to the previously mentioned alternatives to Obamacare. Supplemental insurance comes in many forms and has a wide array of options. Its primary purpose is to cover expenses that may not be covered by your base health insurance plan. Some examples of these plans are:
- Dental Insurance for adults.
- Vision Insurance
- Disability Insurance
- Medicare or Medicaid Supplemental plans
- Critical Illness Coverage
When looking to cut costs for coverage, another thing to consider is bundling insurance coverage. Those that opt for basic plans that have exclusions or limitations to coverage can bundle two or more policies to get more comprehensive coverage. For instance, if you buy into a medical sharing plan and it does not cover long-term care, dental or vision coverage, you can bundle these supplements so you can have more comprehensive coverage even if it is not provided by the same company.
Finding affordable health care is a challenge that millions of Americans still face every day. These alternatives to Obamacare can provide some peace of mind that you can still be covered should a major health even take place. You can be prepared and not have to carry the entire burden of the medical costs on your own.
For comprehensive information on alternative health plans consult healthsharing.com or call 1-800-948-4256 to speak directly with a qualified agent.