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Can I buy minimum health insurance?

taking money from change purse for health insuranceYou can buy minimum health insurance, but you should make an educated decision before doing so. You do not want to find yourself in a situation where you do not have the proper insurance coverage, and you are left with a huge bill.

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One very important thing you should know about insurance is that with all of the Health Care Reform happening, the ability to purchase minimum health insurance is also changing. What we now consider to be minimum coverage is going to be altered. You can learn about minimum health insurance and the upcoming changes in regards to minimum health insurance in the following article.

What exactly is minimum health insurance?

Minimum health insurance can actually mean a few different things. It can mean that you still have coverage to see a physician, go to the emergency room, be admitted to a hospital, or receive mental health care, but your out-of-pocket expenses might be high due to the minimum coverage that the insurance company pays out to providers.

Minimum health insurance may also mean that the plan only allows its policyholders to receive certain benefits. For example, under one minimum health care plan, the policyholder may only receive benefits for seeing health care providers and filling prescription medication.

Other minimum plans may provide physician services or emergency room services but not mental health care. Each insurance company has its own idea of what their minimum standard policy will be.

Lastly, minimum health insurance might be the minimum required by the state insurance department’s commissioner. For example, the State of Delaware Insurance Department provides a section with what the insurance commissioner is allowed to mandate as minimum requirements for health care coverage.

However, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, minimum coverage is going to change in 2014. All insurance companies will have to cover:

  • Hospitalizations
  • Physician services
  • Mental health
  • Prescription drugs
  • Pregnancy
  • Care for newborns

The Affordable Care Act has also mandated a certain maximum amount that policyholders can pay out on a yearly basis.

Should I buy minimum health insurance?

Although you can still buy minimum health insurance policies, which only cover certain benefits, you must educate yourself on the plan. If you only purchase a plan that covers physician services when you find yourself in a situation, which requires hospitalization, but you do not have coverage, you are going to be left with a huge bill.

The same goes for when you buy a plan that only provides hospitalization. Your trips to the doctor are going to add up as you can only see them as a self-pay. This, too, can become quite costly.

However, you can purchase two plans and put them together to be able to get the necessary coverage you need for you or your family. Weigh the cost before purchasing one of these plans as a more complete plan might provide better coverage at a more affordable cost.

Also, be aware of minimum policies with high deductibles or high out-of-pocket maximums. The premium costs may be low but you could end up paying large amounts of out-of-pocket expenses.

Do I have to have a minimum amount of health insurance?

As of 2010, individuals do not have to have a minimum amount of health insurance. In fact, if you choose not to have health insurance, that is your decision and the risk you are willing to take.

However, according to the Journal of Accountancy, after the 2013 tax year, if you are not insured you could pay a tax penalty on your Income Tax. The fee could be as high as $750 an adult and $325 for each child under the age of 18 within the family. There will be a cap for families to be penalized.

The guidelines to how you obtain your health insurance policy or the type of policy is rather liberal. It can be government funded, purchased as an individual plan, work sponsored or grandfathered in by the Secretary of Health and Human Services. If you are an illegal alien, in jail, or have a religious exemption, you will not be subject to this tax.

Minimum insurance policies may meet the needs of some, but be sure of what the policy covers and the costs so that you find the best plan with the best coverage for your budget. You should also remember the changes that will be happening to insurance plans that offer minimum insurance.

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