Low Income Family Dos And Don’ts For Healthcare Coverage

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Healthcare coverage can be very confusing, and choosing the wrong plan can cost patients more money. People from low-income households should do their research before selecting a health care plan. Most people are familiar with private health insurance plans offered by an employer, but many people may not realize that for low-income households, there are more options that just private insurance.

Understand The Different Plans Available

Families with low incomes may qualify for public health insurance plans like Medicaid or the Child Health Insurance Program (CHIP). These programs vary from state to state, but typically, Medicaid offers low or no-cost health coverage to adults and children under a certain income threshold. If a family does not qualify for Medicaid, their children may be eligible for coverage under CHIP. CHIP provides low or no-cost health coverage to children up to the age of 19.

Know Your Acronyms

The health insurance world is filled with acronyms like HMO, PPO and HDHP. Before shopping for health insurance, buyers should familiarize themselves with terms commonly used in the healthcare industry. With an HMO, or Health Maintenance Organization plan, patients must utilize a doctor in the plan’s network.

These plans require a primary care physician’s referral before a patient can see a specialist. A Preferred Provider Organization or PPO, plan allows patients to see doctors in or out-of-network, but in-network care is cheaper. A High-Deductible Health Plan (HDHP) can save low-income families money with lower monthly premiums. These plans have high deductibles and are good for people who rarely see a doctor.

Don’t Purchase The First Plan You Find

If a family does not qualify for Medicaid or CHIP, they still may qualify for subsidies to purchase health insurance on the Affordable Care Act Marketplace. Buyers can compare options in the Marketplace. Some plans may have the same monthly premium but different annual deductibles or out-of-pocket costs. People looking for health coverage should read the fine print to understand exactly what is and is not covered. For example, some plans may offer dental insurance, while other plans exclude dental work says this professional family dentist in Ballwin.

Think About Your Medical History And Conditions

Every person is unique. Before purchasing insurance, buyers should think about their medical history and any medical conditions that could affect their healthcare needs. For example, people with diabetes may want to look for a plan that covers testing supplies and insulin. People without a chronic illness or a complex history may be satisfied with a High-Deductible Health Plan.

Consider The Needs Of Seniors In The Family

Seniors ages 65 and older should explore their options for Medicare plans. An original Medicare plan offers basic medical coverage. These plans do not cover prescription drugs, dental work, or eye care. These plans offer some benefits for seniors. Seniors who choose an original Medicare plan can keep their doctors, instead of switching to an in-network provider. Seniors who take prescription medication or need assistive devices like glasses or hearing aids should consider a Medicare Advantage Plan.

Consider Medicare Give Back Plans

If a senior enrolls in a Medicare Advantage plan, they may be eligible to enroll in a Medicare Give Back Plan, also known as Medicare Part B or a Medicare Part B Premium Reduction Plan. These plans are a great way for seniors from low-income families to save money on healthcare costs. The premium reduction ranges from a few cents to up to $140 a month, but most seniors who qualify for this coverage can expect to save approximately $25 to $50 a month.

Don’t Fall For Scams

Unfortunately, there are scams targeting people from low-income households. Seniors may be vulnerable to health insurance scams. Many insurance scams originate as robocalls. Legitimate health insurance brokers or companies will never use robocalls to solicit clients. Buyers should not provide personal information over the phone to an unfamiliar caller. Scammers often use names similar to major health insurance companies or even claim to be from the federal government.

Health insurance coverage doesn’t have to be confusing. Families from lower income brackets can save money on healthcare coverage by doing their research and comparing their options. Seniors and children can benefit from government health care programs tailored specifically to their needs.