Health insurance as a whole is thought to be very expensive. Fortunately, there are a variety of affordable health insurance alternatives to help people live within their means in the US. Knowing about these alternatives prevents individuals from spending money in massive amounts over injuries and other health issues. However, if you are still unaware, it is best to get in touch with a known financial advisor before taking up these health insurance alternatives.

Alternative Health Insurance Plans

  1. Short Term Insurance – The period for a short-term insurance plan ranges from a month to a year. Deductibles are typically low in this case. It would not matter whether treatment inside or outside a provider network is available or not. Though it may not match the mandates according to the Affordable Care Act or ACA (indicating that health insurance from 2016 is available on tax forms), it still operates in a manner similar to long term insurance. Of course, one of the reasons for this being a great form of insurance coverageis its low premium in comparison to long term insurance. Sometimes premiums may even be as less as $2 for a day. The only trouble here is that it does not include pre-existing conditions, mental treatment, or pregnancy costs.
  2. Health Savings Account – Someone with a high-deductible health insurance plan might be able to set up a Health Savings Account (HSA). Money put into the HSA is subject to deduction from federal taxes, up to a particular amount. However, the limit on deductions is subject to annual change. Individuals were allowed to contribute up to $3500 in the year 2019, while families could give $7000. Qualifying health expensive through this alternative to health care insurance may also be paid by a debit card linked to the HSA. Paying upfront for health services with credit card or cash makes the customer eligible for refunds through HSA.

Disbursements from the above account are always free from federal income tax. Tax benefits and low premiums from high-deductible health insurance make this a low cost alternative to health care insurance plans.

  1. Cost Sharing Programs – Pooling money is the most economical way to share rides for travelling from one location to another. In a similar manner, people who participate in these programs can share medical costs. This method is both similar as well as dissimilar to health insurance plans. Here’s a comparison:
  • Monthly fees are paid in a manner similar to insurance premiums but the amounts are much lower
  • Members who get care pay a fee as a small contribution to the entire cost
  • The remaining cost is covered at a rate that is very similar to insurance
  • These programs negotiate discounts with hospitals and doctors

These alternatives to private health insurance plans are often run on the basis of faith. Certain members ask others to follow faith tenets like avoiding alcohol. Shares are usually based on the number of people in the family and the age of the eldest member in that household.

  1. Health Discount Cards – As the name suggests, card holders receive health services at discounted rates from the concerned healthcare providers. The cards are not for insurance but to provide cash for medical care. Such cards make their owners eligible for discounts on certain prescription drugs. There may be annual or monthly membership fees on certain cards. Providers where this card can be used would include optometrists, dentists, chiropractors, hospitals, and more.

Discounts here vary from one health card to another, but they can be as much as 85%. Providers need to be part of the card’s plan here.

  1. Association Health Plans– Groups of individuals as well as small businesses are covered through Association Health Plans. Industry-specific group healthcare insuranceplans are often available for actors, musicians, writers, and other self-employed persons. IF these individuals were to purchase insurance in the open market, they would have to pay much more. However, regulations on these plans may not be regulated tightly and may lack certain basic benefits under the ACA.

To find out more details about coverage through Association Health Plans, small business owners and individuals can get in touch with their state department of insurance. Much of the information about these state websites can be found through the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. Additionally, this information may also be found through professional organizations and Chambers of Commerce.

Tips for Management of Healthcare Costs

  • Get Information About the Future – The latest scheme with respect to medical care in the US is Medicare for All. It makes sense to find out details about this program so that individuals or businesses can make strategies for lower costs.
  • Expert Help – Financial well-being is important before taking up one of these plans.

Shop – Look for alternatives in the market and also use budget calculators for determining plans