The healthcare needs of Americans are not the same for all families. Individual coverage plans exist that meet specific niches such as: 1) supplementing existing coverage, 2) providing coverage for a particular duration, or 3) for those health insurance shoppers who are of a certain age or level of income level.
Below is a list of some of health insurance products in the market today. This will help you to determine what plan might be the best fit for you.
Major Medical Health Insurance
Major medical health insurance used to the term used to refer to comprehensive health insurance coverage either provided by employers or purchased by families directly from health insurers. These plans are now referred to as Qualified Health Plans (QHP) or Obamacare Health Plans. More about qualified health plans.
Short Term Health Insurance Plans
Short term plans are health insurance plans that typically have a limited duration of coverage ranging from 30 to 365 days. They are designed to provide temporary coverage until permanent health coverage via a qualified health plan is available. These plans do not meet the health law requirement of purchasing health insurance. More about short term health plans.
Student Health Plans
Student health plans are usually provided by a college or university and are generally an easy way to acquire easy and affordable health insurance coverage. In most cases it provides at least “minimum essential coverage” required by law and if enrolled you will not have to pay the penalty for not having health insurance. Be sure to check with the the plan to make sure. There is no special student exemption to the health insurance law, and students are required to be enrolled in a qualified health plan. Students can also purchase health insurance directly through the health insurance marketplace, or remain on their parents plan until age 26.
Dental Insurance and Dental Discount Plans
Dental insurance and dental discount plans are really two different things. Dental insurance provides cost sharing for oral health services. Shoppers apply, enroll, and if accepted pay a monthly premium for the insurance just as is done with health insurance.
Dental discount plans are low cost memberships that provide access to discounted services from participating providers. Discounts typically range from 10-50%. As you might imagine neither dental insurance nor dental discount plans meet the federal health law requirement of purchasing health insurance.
Vision insurance is usually a type of insurance that is added on to other types of health insurance policies. Vision insurance helps offset the costs of routine vision care checkups as well as provide discounts for vision correction wear (such as glasses or contact lenses) that may be prescribed by the attending physician. Vision insurance plans by themselves do not meet the Federal health law requirement that all Americans be covered by a health insurance policy that provides at minimum essential coverage.
Accident Insurance Plans
Accident insurance plans help you pay for the medical and out-of-pocket costs that can add up after an accident or injury. Accident insurance plans include coverage for emergency treatment, hospital stays and medical exams, and other expenses you may face, such as transportation and lodging needs. Accident insurance plans do not provide minimum essential coverage required by the affordable care act, and purchasing one of these plans by itself will not save you from paying a tax penalty.
Medicare Supplement Plans (Medigap)
Medicare supplement plans are plans for Medicare beneficiaries (generally age 65+). These plans are insurance policies that include a standardized sets of benefits offered by private health insurance companies that pay the portion of healthcare expenses that is not paid by Original Medicare. Medicare supplement plans are purchased in conjunction with being enrolled in Medicare Parts A & B.
Medicare Advantage Plans (Medicare Part C)
Medicare Advantage Plans are another type of coverage for Medicare beneficiaries. Medicare Advantage plans — offered by private health insurance companies — are another way to receive Medicare coverage. If you enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan, you will still have Medicare, however you will receive Medicare Part A & Part B benefits directly from the private insurance company as opposed to Original Medicare.
Medicare Drug Plans (Medicare Part D)
Medicare drug plans are offered by private insurers. These stand alone prescription drug plans are available to Medicare beneficiaries. They can also be purchased along with a Medicare Supplement or Medicare Advantage Plan.
Medicaid is a social health care program for low-income families and individuals. The Health Insurance Association of America describes Medicaid as a government insurance program for persons of all ages whose income and resources are insufficient to pay for health care. Qualification for Medicaid varies by state and is generally based on household income relative to Federal Poverty Level income guidelines.