Getting Low Income Health Insurance – How and Where

With Obamacare being implemented across the US, health insurance has become more affordable and subsidized by the government for almost any income level. If you have a low income you may still consider these marketplace health insurance plans, Medicaid, Medicare, or CHIP.

Affordable Care Act (ACA)
The ACA and ensures affordable health insurance plans for various demographics, including low and very low income families and young adults. This plan, a national plan is provided in conjunction with Medicaid and Medicare and administered through your state’s administration. Some states have opted to provide Medicaid to all people under a certain income level, while others have not.

However, the ACA provides savings on marketplace insurance plans for anyone, nationwide under certain income levels. Preferred Provider Organizations (PPOs) offer the lowest co-payments over HMOs and traditional health insurance providers. For the ACA Marketplace Insurance Plan you need to apply to see if you are eligible. If you are already receiving Medicare, you are most likely eligible and doing so will most likely lower your overall expenses with the new plan. Starting in 2016 you will also have to pay a penalty if you do not have some sort of health insurance coverage.

This ACA coverage plan can help you bridge the gap and keep expenses low. For low income families monthly premiums can range from free to very low.

Medicaid provides health coverage to millions of low income Americans. Certain states have even expanded the Medic aid coverage to cover all families or individuals under a certain income level. Each state manages the Medicaid program and its eligibility may differ based on income and where you live. You can apply to Medicaid by applying to the Marketplace Insurance Plan listed above. If your information coincides with Medicaid parameters they will send you information on your state’s Medicaid program. Medicaid costs and coverages differ from state to state within federal guidelines but pays for your medical expenses directly. It is used for families, low income people, children, pregnant women, the elderly and those with disabilities.

Mandatory Benefits Include:
- Inpatient & outpatient hospital services
- EPSDT: Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnostic, and Treatment Services
- Nursing Facility Services
- Home health services
- Physician services
- Rural health clinic services
- Federally qualified health center services
- Laboratory and X-ray services
- Family planning services
- Nurse Midwife services
- Certified Pediatric and Family Nurse Practitioner services
- Freestanding Birth Center services (when licensed or otherwise recognized by the state)
- Transportation to medical care
- Tobacco cessation counseling for pregnant women

Optional Benefits May Include:
- Prescription Drugs
- Clinic services
- Physical therapy
- Occupational therapy
- Speech, hearing and language disorder services
- Respiratory care services
- Other diagnostic, screening, preventive and rehabilitative services
- Podiatry services
- Optometry services
- Dental Services
- Dentures
- Prosthetics
- Eyeglasses
- Chiropractic services
- Other practitioner services
- Private duty nursing services
- Personal Care
- Hospice
- Case management
- Services for Individuals Age 65 or Older in an Institution for Mental Disease (IMD)
- Services in an intermediate care facility for Individuals with Intellectual Disability
- State Plan Home and Community Based Services- 1915(i)
- Self-Directed Personal Assistance Services- 1915(j)
- Community First Choice Option- 1915(k)
- TB Related Services
- Inpatient psychiatric services for individuals under age 21
- Other services approved by the Secretary*
- Health Homes for Enrollees with Chronic Conditions – Section 1945

Children’s Health Insurance Plan offers an alternative to Medicaid for those families that do not qualify for Medicaid because their income is too high. Even though your income may be higher than eligibility for your entire family, CHIP offers coverage in those gap situations when you do not qualify for Medicaid, but neither can you afford private insurance for your children. States CHIP programs work closely with Medicaid and some states offer coverage of parents under their CHIP programs as well as pregnant woman. Again CHIP can be applied for through the federal Insurance application process and if your information supports CHIP in your state, you will be sent information to that effect.

Possible Benefit Options Include:
- Inpatient and outpatient hospital services
- Physician's services
- Surgical and medical services
- Laboratory and x-ray services
- Well-baby and well-child care, including immunizations

In addition to the above, certain States also provide dental benefits and vaccines.

There are coverage options even for the unemployed, and no income segments within many states. You may not be required to pay any premiums to receive basic coverage in these instances. Apply today for health insurance coverage to start receiving your benefits as soon as possible.