With all the changes going on in the world of health insurance in the United States lately, many people are frustrated by the lack of options and lack of clarity when it comes to getting reliable health care. Deciphering the health insurance plans you qualify for can be daunting, which is why many people are turning to other health insurance alternatives to meet their medical needs.
If you are looking for alternatives to the health insurance marketplace, but don’t know where to start, here is a bit more information about legal options for health insurance coverage that you may be interested in. Although Obamacare is widely talked about and information is plentiful, many people find their policy options inconsistent. There are alternatives to the insurance options offered by the Affordable Care Act, and they include private insurance, ObamaCare exemptions, and paying the individual mandate penalty.
There are three legal ways to receive the health insurance you need under the Affordable Care Act, which is also known as Obamacare. Under this health insurance system, individuals who choose not to have health insurance are required to pay a penalty under the individual mandate. This indicates that, in spite of affordable and suitable health insurance options, a person chose not to be insured. This penalty is based on your income or a flat rate of $625, or whichever amounts to the most money.
Alternatives to Obamacare
There are three legal alternatives to Obamacare for purchasing health insurance for yourself and your family. The first is by purchasing private insurance. Private insurance includes any insurance that meets the minimum essential coverage mandate under the Affordable Care Act. These private insurance policies can be offered by your employer, if they are offering non-health insurance exchange policies. Your employer is required to offer health insurance to you. However, the rules are different if you work part-time, are a seasonal worker, or if you are part of a small company. Many companies will offer their own coverage and other health insurance options for their employees through their own private insurance company that they’ve chosen to work with.
Private health insurance can also include individuals who are part of a state-run high-risk pool for individuals who have pre-existing conditions. Some people may have had insurance prior to the beginning of Obamacare and do not wish to give up that coverage, and you aren’t required to. If you meet the affordability exemption as part of the Affordable Care Act, you can apply for a catastrophic health insurance policy. Finally, you can buy a policy of your choosing from a private insurance exchange instead of the federal health insurance marketplace that was set up as part of ObamaCare.
The second legal alternative to Obamacare health insurance options is claiming one or more of the nine exemptions to Obamacare. These exemptions include four as part of the individual mandate, and five exemptions as part of the uninsured tax structure of Obamacare.
Native American tribes, religious groups that don’t receive social security benefits, members of health-sharing organizations, undocumented immigrants, individuals who are serving time in jail or prison, and people with insufficient income may qualify for one or more of the exemptions available as part of this coverage.
One group that is exempt from the individual mandate penalty are people who are members of a medical cost-sharing ministry. These groups are typically religiously motivated and provide a viable alternative to Obamacare. In the United States, these ministries may require members to prove their religious affiliation, which is usually Christian. This allows the ministry to create guidelines for their members as to what medical expenses are covered and which are not, based on their collective belief system.
Medical cost sharing ministries aren’t health insurance policies, but you still pay into a pool that is used to pay for member’s medical expenses. Typically, general check-ups and other routine medical expenses are not covered. This leaves the majority of the money for medical emergencies and larger medical bills that may come up unexpectedly.
Members of medical cost sharing groups are exempt from having to pay the penalty for being uninsured under Obamacare. Many states in the US have a safe harbor agreement that protects these groups from being penalized. As they have created their own form of cost sharing for medical expenses, certain medical cost sharing ministries have been grandfathered into the American health care system and are accepted as an alternative to Obamacare.
Medical cost sharing groups could be the best option for you, if you are looking for insurance protection outside of the Affordable Care Act structure. If you want more information on medical cost sharing, consider faith-based medical cost sharing organizations that may be able to help you protect the health of you and your family.
The third legal alternative to Obamacare’s health insurance options is paying the uninsured tax. This is a tax that was included in Obamacare and is also known as the individual mandate. This mandate requires everyone to have health insurance or pay the penalty.
The uninsured tax for 2016 is about $695 per person, or $347.50 for children who are uninsured. The penalty fee may also be calculated based on your household income. This would be 2.5% of your household income or the $695, whichever is higher. The maximum family penalty amount is $2,085. The amount you pay could also be different, depending on your exempt status.
No matter what kind of health insurance you have, you need it to be at least the minimal coverage as laid out by the Affordable Care Act. These minimum requirements include laboratory services, emergency services, prescription drugs, mental health and substance abuse services, maternity and newborn care, pediatric services, rehabilitation, ambulance patient services, preventative care and wellness services, chronic disease management, and hospitalization.
There are many options for health insurance in the United States, despite the ever-changing system. If you are looking for more consistent options for protecting the health of you and your family, consider these legal alternatives to Obamacare. No matter what happens in the coming months or years, you can make sure that your health and that of the people you love, is protected by a health insurance policy that is affordable, covers you where you need it, and remains consistent over time.
If you are looking for a legal alternative to Obamacare or are considering joining a health sharing plan, visit us at Healthshareadvisors.com or call 1-844-699-6873 to speak with a health care advisor today.