6 Affordable Alternatives to Traditional Health Insurance
Health insurance is a necessity for the average person, but traditional health insurance can get expensive. Here are 6 budget-worthy healthcare options.
Are you struggling to afford your traditional health insurance plan and not sure where to turn? Do you feel as if the high cost of your health insurance plan isn’t worth the benefits you’re receiving?
Health insurance in the United States is notoriously confusing and cost-prohibitive. Luckily for individuals and families on a budget, there are many alternatives to traditional health insurance that aren’t as expensive.
It’s possible to receive the healthcare you need without breaking the bank! Read on to learn our top six affordable options compared to traditional health insurance.
1. Cost-Sharing Plans
Cost-sharing plans are similar to the traditional health insurance plans you’re familiar with. They partner with certain doctors and hospitals to find rates that are beneficial for both parties. You’ll pay a monthly fee in order to enjoy the benefits of the plan.
You’ll also need to pay a certain fee that’s similar to a co-pay to your doctor, and the group will pay for the rest of your medical costs.
However, you’ll notice that these cost-sharing plans don’t use the same lingo as traditional health insurance. This is because they’re technically not an insurance program. This means that their coverage is more limited compared to regular health insurance, but you’ll also be paying less.
Some of these cost-sharing plans are faith-based. This means they won’t pay for some treatments or medical expenses that are against their beliefs. Here are some of the most popular healthcare sharing programs:
- Christian Healthcare Ministries (CHM)
- Liberty HealthShare
- Samaritan Ministries
Remember that even though many of them are founded on Christian beliefs, not all of them have strict religious requirements. For instance, Samaritan Ministries requires that you attend church at least three times a month with verification from your church leader.
2. Off-Exchange Insurance
Off-exchange insurance means that you’re purchasing insurance directly from a broker or carrier instead of the ACA Marketplace. Many of these plans are compliant with ACA requirements and have similar coverage.
However, they can also offer more options that provide more consumer choice, enabling you to find more affordable premiums. For instance, catastrophic plans are available which means less basic medical coverage but more affordable premiums.
This is a great option for younger people who are relatively healthy, don’t smoke, and don’t need to take medications. You’ll also need to remember that purchasing an off-exchange plan will make you ineligible for any subsidies or financial assistance.
3. Association and Trade Group Insurance
If you’re self-employed, an industry-specific Association Health Plan (AHP) might be an affordable alternative for you. Similar to cost-savings plans, these associations purchase health coverage for all of their members and pass on the savings.
According to the National Conference for State Legislatures, people can enjoy savings of 8 to 18 percent compared to traditional plans. Association Health Plans are also more flexible compared to their traditional counterparts. You have the option of paying less by eliminating coverage you don’t need.
Even though these plans are more flexible, they still have consumer safeguards in place that protect people from discrimination. AHPs also can’t deny coverage to people who have pre-existing health conditions. They can’t charge different premiums compared to people who are healthy.
4. Health Discount Cards
Health discount cards aren’t an alternative to traditional health insurance plans. However, they’re a great way to save a lot of money for people who plan to pay cash for any health services or medication. Although you might need to pay a small monthly fee to use these cards, you’ll find that most of the time you’ll save more money than you spend.
Depending on your discount card, you can save on:
- Prescription drug costs
- Dental care
- Vision services
- Hearing services
- Chiropractic services
Remember to do your own research so you can find the card that’s best for your needs.
This isn’t a complete alternative to traditional healthcare. However, if you’re not able to see a doctor in-person due to a lack of transportation, money, or insurance coverage, telemedicine companies are able to bridge that gap to help you talk with a doctor.
Many telemedicine companies take insurance, but if you don’t have insurance, the cost of paying for a virtual doctor visit is typically lower. You’ll also need to consider your situation before you pay for a telemedicine appointment.
Common issues such as colds, headaches, or pink eye are great options for telemedicine. However, if your issue is more complicated and requires more time and thorough testing, you’ll probably still need to go into the office for an in-person doctor visit.
6. Short-Term Insurance
Short-term insurance is the best option if you’re dealing with a gap of coverage if you’re switching from one job to another, or going from your school’s insurance benefits to a new job’s.
The best part of these plans is that they can be purchased at any time of the year. They can last up to 12 months and can also be renewed for up to three years. These plans may not have as much coverage as traditional health insurance plans, but if you’re a relatively healthy young person, it may be all the coverage you need at the present moment.
Monthly premium rates are comparable to catastrophic plan rates.
Affordable Alternatives to Traditional Health Insurance
No one wants to be in the position when their monthly payments for traditional health insurance are steep enough to make you question whether you should even pay for health insurance. Even if you’re relatively healthy, it’s important that you’re covered just in case.
From cost-sharing plans to association health plans, these health insurance alternatives help bridge the gap between affordable and debilitatingly expensive.
If you’re ready to start researching affordable health insurance alternatives, contact us today! One of our agents will get in contact with you within five minutes to answer your questions and provide a quote.