What Is the Best Health Insurance for Your Age Group?
Being more susceptible to health-related risks is one of the disadvantages of aging. Whether you’ve recently turned 20 or are in the golden years, the last thing you want to worry about is not being able to cover the costs of future medical treatment. Fortunately, there are a variety of health insurance policies available to help you avoid financial distress.
Young adults have a few more choices than seniors, but some health insurance plans may be better than others. Which plan is best for each age group? Let’s take a look.
Best Health Insurance Plans for Young Adults
If you’re a young adult and aren’t covered through employment, consider these options:
Sticking to your parent’s plan
The Affordable Care Act allows young adults to receive coverage from their parent’s health insurance plans until they are up to 26 years old. This applies to health insurance that your parents obtained from Healthcare.gov, the private health insurance market, a company, or a state exchange system. You can stay on this plan until age 26, even if you’re married or living in a separate home.
Enrolling in Medicaid
You can also go for Medicaid, the federal-state program that offers health coverage to low-income earners. Though not all states opted to expand the program, this is a good option if you reside in a state that did. According to the ACA, a few states have extended the program’s eligibility to young adults who earn up to 133 percent of the FPL (federal poverty line). For one-person households, the figure amounts to $12,140 in 2020.
Getting health insurance from your college
Health insurance firms that provide plans via colleges can’t deny coverage to a student who becomes ill. Also, they can’t restrict the dollar amount of coverage offered in most instances. Of course, you’ll need to examine the specifics of your college’s health insurance plan to ensure that it’s adequate. Plus, the college may likely require you to enroll in a certain number of courses before you’re considered eligible.
Looking into COBRA continuation coverage
COBRA is a rule that enables you to continue your existing coverage for 1.5 to 3 years after you’re no longer eligible to stay on your parent’s health plan. However, you’ll need to pay a monthly premium, because your parent’s insurer won’t contribute toward it. The premiums last as long as the coverage lasts, which is usually 1.5 years. If you get another plan, you can discontinue COBRA whenever you’d like. Plans like these come in handy when you’re unemployed and need time to improve your financial standing.
Seeking coverage from your workplace
If you have a job, you’ll have the option to enroll in your company’s health insurance plan. The company will deduct your share of the monthly premiums from your paycheck, so expect smaller payouts. With that said, at least the company will bear some of the costs associated with those premiums. With COBRA, you alone bear the responsibility of paying the monthly premium.
Look into these five plans, and then pick a suitable one based on your lifestyle, employment and financial situation.
Best Health Insurance Plans for Seniors
Seniors also have a range of health insurance options to choose from. If you’re 65 or above, consider taking the steps below:
Consider Medicare’s plans
Medicare plans for seniors fall into four categories:
- Medicare Part A – Covers inpatient care, to include care administered in a hospital setting, at a skilled nursing facility, or, in some cases, at home. It’s free if you have been employed for at least 40 calendar quarters in any job where you paid Social Security taxes in the United States (or if you have a spouse who qualifies for Part A).
- Medicare Part B – Covers a variety of medical services, including annual check-ups, X-rays, and doctor’s visits. The annual premium of Medicare Part B is $144.60 for 2020 and the annual deductible is $198.
- Medicare Part C – Provides coverage through private firms. Costs vary based on providers and states, and you must hold Part A or Part B insurance in order to apply.
- Medicare Part D – Covers prescription drugs. It might be suitable for seniors who take medications on a regular basis.
Supplementing your coverage with private health insurance
It’s worth mentioning that private health insurance can be combined with Medicare’s four plans. However, this option can be costly because the provider will evaluate your age, health and other risk factors before coverage. If you don’t have any serious ailments, this can be an ideal way to obtain sufficient coverage. Contact an independent insurance agent to learn more about private plans. Also, take the time to learn about any limitations on the policy so that you can prevent gaps in future coverage.
Learning about Medigap
Medigap (Medicare’s supplemental medical insurance) is meant to cover services that aren’t offered under Medicare. For example, Medicare coverage will help prevent excess costs, such as co-insurance expenses for longer stays in a nursing facility or hospital, and even the deductibles in your Part A or B plans (you need to be enrolled in both of these plans in order to qualify for Medigap). Costs vary based on the extent of the coverage. Both organizations and private insurers that cater to the elderly should have these plans available.
It doesn’t matter what age group you fall under – health insurance is a necessity and can save you from forking out thousands of dollars in one hit. Just be aware that premiums and deductibles vary, so be sure to understand a plan well before you decide to sign up.