Affordable Alternatives to Standard Health Insurance

For some of our clients, health insurance premiums are simply out of reach during difficult economic times. But that doesn’t mean you have to be without coverage. Here are three options to consider:

High Deductible Plans. A general rule of thumb with insurance of any type (health, auto, etc.) is that the higher your deductible, the lower your monthly premiums. If you’re trying to maintain or get health insurance coverage and your budget is tight, then jack up the deductible. We have in mind something in the $5-10k range. Doesn’t this defeat the purpose? Not at all, if the purpose is to protect you from devastatingly high medical bills (like a $75k heart procedure or a $25k appendectomy). There may also be plans available in that deductible range that would give you a doctor copay and a drug card. Any major medical plan will also give you access to provider network discounts before the deductible.

Short-Term Health Insurance. Short-term plans are designed to provide protection in the gaps when you’re between policies (like being between jobs). These plans provide protection for a defined length of time (typically 1-6 months). Typically you have protection above the deductible amount, but not first-dollar benefit (like copays). Of course, you would have access to provider network discounts. Because of the limited timeframe, these plans are much less expensive than major medical plans and can be a useful way to get coverage in a pinch.

Limited Benefit Plans. These plans provide first dollar coverage for health services – both routine and major. The key thing to note here is that there are caps to the benefits provided (hence the name “limited benefit”). Most limited benefit plans require no underwriting so there is no problem covering pre-existing conditions. These are called “guarantee issue” plans. As long as you pay your premium, you’re OK. Some that have higher benefit caps require minimal underwriting. These plans are much cheaper than major medical insurance plans. While we always prefer major medical coverage because of the catastrophic protection missing here, these plans are better than nothing. If you’re in a budget crunch, this is a very viable option.

Discount Cards. A prescription drug discount card will save you money on prescriptions if you don’t have insurance. These are typically very inexpensive – $10/month or so will get you some help with your meds.

If you’re interested in pursuing any of these alternatives to major medical health insurance, contact AC Forrest Insurance to learn more.