By Art Forrest
The Obamacare open enrollment period is over. So it is too late to enroll through the government?s ?federal facilitated marketplace? (Healthcare.gov) and get a subsidy to help with premiums. In fact, it?s probably too late to get a traditional individual health insurance plan at all, on or off the exchange.
If you haven?t signed up for health insurance yet, what can you do?
The good news is you can put together a nice little safety net for your family that will give you decent coverage without breaking the bank. Here are a few things you might consider. You might choose all of these, just one, or some combination – obviously it just depends on your needs and budget.
What are your choices now that Obamacare Open Enrollment is over?
Here are 4 options you should think about:
1. Short-term Health Insurance. A short-term health insurance plan will give you catastrophic coverage if you need medical care. As with a traditional plan, you will pick a deductible (what you pay before they start paying), and they pay your expenses once you?ve met that deductible.
There?s nothing really fancy about a short-term health plan. You won?t get a copay for prescriptions and doctors, though the plan we typically recommend does give you a $50 copay if you visit an urgent care center. Think of this as collision coverage – it?s there if something big and unexpected happens. And we all know stuff can happen.
The good news is that short-term health insurance is not nearly as expensive as a traditional health insurance policy. So this is a good way to get decent catastrophic coverage without breaking the bank.
2. Telemedicine. You can access a board-certified doctor in your state via phone or online video conference 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This doctor can help you diagnose a problem and can prescribe medication in for basic conditions (like a sinus infection), and can help you decide if you need to seek additional medical care.
A telemedicine service can save you a lot of time, hassle, and money. You?ll pay $15/month as a sort of membership fee to access the system, and a $20 copay for a consult. Compared to the price of physically seeing a doctor, this is a great deal that will probably pay for itself.
3. Accident insurance. If you and your family are pretty healthy, there?s a good chance that if you have an unexpected medical expense it will be the result of an accident (like a broken arm). An accident insurance plan will reimburse you for expenses up to a pre-determined lump sum minus a small deductible (usually in the $150-200 range).
The good news is this is also pretty affordable. A family can get a $5,000 accident benefit for $45/month.
Here?s a ninja move: Get a short-term health plan with a $5,000 deductible (cheaper than a lower deductible), and then get a $5,000 accident plan so that your deductible is covered if there?s an accident.
4. A supplemental combo plan. You can buy a bundled plan that will give you accident insurance along with critical illness insurance (a lump sum for heart attacks, cancer, etc.), a little bit of disability and term life insurance. Prices range from $25-$55 for an individual or $42-$99 for families.
While none of these plans will make you Obamacare compliant, they can provide you with a pretty decent level of coverage at a much more affordable price.
Art Forrest is owner and founder of A.C Forrest insurance group, a family-run business that focuses on the needs of individuals and small businesses. With offices in suburban Atlanta and in Greenville, SC, AC Forrest serves clients in the Southeast, and maintains a referral network throughout the United States. For more information in regard to the content of this post, or for any other insurance matters, feel free to contact him via email.
(Also, please see the updated 20 Part-time Jobs With Health Insurance post for the most current list of employers who offer health coverage for their part-time staff.)