Where to Buy Insurance
There are several places you can get insurance:
- Through your employer. If your employer offers insurance, this is likely where you'll get the most affordable and comprehensive health plan. Many employers share the costs of insurance with their employees.
- Through your state's health insurance Marketplace, also called an Exchange. This web site, run by either your state or the federal government, shows health plans available in your state at four levels of cost and coverage. The four levels - bronze, silver, gold, and platinum - correspond to how much the plan costs and how much it covers. The bronze plan will have the most affordable premium, but on average will cover only 60% of your medical costs. Platinum plans, on the other hand, will have the highest premiums, but will cover an average of 90% of your medical costs. On the Marketplace, you'll find simple ways to compare plans. You also will see how much financial aid you can get. The financial aid on the Marketplace is called a premium subsidy or a tax credit. You can only use it for buying a health plan on the Marketplace. In addition, you may qualify for a cost-sharing reduction to help you pay your co-insurance or copayment each time you go to the doctor.You can also find out if you're eligible for Medicaid in your state. You must shop for and buy insurance during an open enrollment period, held in the fall, unless you experience certain life events such as losing your job or having a baby that qualify you for a special open enrollment.
- From an insurance broker. Brokers can help you choose a plan that meets your needs. In many states, brokers can also help you enroll in a Marketplace plan and receive financial aid if you qualify. If you buy a plan through a broker that’s not sold on the Marketplace you will not get financial assistance.
- From a public health group like Medicare, Medicaid, or the VA. Public health insurance such as Medicaid offers care for free or low cost. Medicare is the health plan available to people over age 65 or those qualifying for disability. In general, you must sign up during a 7-month period that begins 3 months before your 65th birthday, your birthday month, and 3 months after your birthday or pay a late fee. You can sign up for Medicaid or the Children's Health Insurance Plan (CHIP) any time, if your qualify. Your VA benefits depend on your military service.