Information and terms
What Are My Health Insurance Options
If you're looking for individual health insurance or family health insurance, you probably have some ideas what you need, but not really what's available.
You can try searching for cheap health insurance, affordable health insurance, reliable health coverage, even the best health insurance for the money. However, the health plans you find through these general searches might not always apply to you.
Before you sort through those searches, this quick guide to individual health insurance plans can help you understand what you might find.
Need coverage now - Short term health insurance
If you lost coverage or are coming off some other insurance, short term medical insurance might work as the right health plan for you while you find more permanent health coverage. Often called term medical insurance or temporary medical insurance, short term medical plans are designed to give health coverage during a limited series of months.
Coverage for the long term - Affordable Care Act (ACA) plans
Commonly called Obamacare, ACA coverage may not always seem like affordable health insurance at first. However, if you have preexisting conditions or need medical coverage for an extended period of time, an ACA plan may be your best option. It can even be less expensive than you think if you qualify for a tax credits or subsidies.
ACA insurance in a nutshell
Guaranteed issue. You can't be turned down for coverage or charged more based on preexisting health conditions.
Tax credits and subsidies could help with your costs depending on how much you earn.
Plans cover a consistent set of ten essential health benefits, including preventive care, maternity care, and prescription coverage.
Unless you qualify for a special enrollment, you must enroll during the annual open enrollment, usually in November and December.
Help with out-of-pocket costs - Additional insurance options
Hospital and doctor fixed indemnity plans2
Hospital and doctor fixed indemnity insurance pays a predetermined amount of cash after you receive a specific medical service covered by the plan.
Plans vary in what's covered, and most don't cover anything related to preexisting conditions.
Generally, you can apply any time but must answer a series of medical questions to qualify.
Pays benefits regardless of other coverage. The cash you get can be used to help offset expenses not covered by your main insurance.
Critical illness insurance or accident insurance
Can help with the financial strain that often comes with unexpected injury or illness.
Critical Illness insurance, also called critical care insurance or critical illness coverage, pays a lump sum cash benefit following diagnosis of a qualifying illness like cancer or a stroke or heart attack.