Free Health Insurance for Low Income Individuals

As health insurance prices continue to rise, more Americans are torn between going without coverage and stretching their budget thin. Luckily, you may be one of the millions of Americans who qualify for free health insurance.

FirstQuote Health Staff
Published on
February 1, 2023
Last Updated on
July 5, 2024
Free Health Insurance for Low Income Individuals

Free health insurance can be invaluable for those in need. Free health insurance plans can help those who are uninsured or underinsured, providing access to medical care that would otherwise not be available. In addition, it can provide relief to families and individuals facing financial hardship, eliminating the worry of paying for medical bills which might otherwise become too expensive. Finally, free health insurance can ensure that everyone has access to quality healthcare, regardless of their financial situation.

In recent years, healthcare costs and insurance premiums have been steadily increasing. According to the Commonwealth Fund, health care spending in the United States increased an average of 3.9% annually from 2008-2017, reaching a total of $10,224 per person in 2017. And according to data compiled by the Kaiser Family Foundation, average premiums for employer-sponsored family coverage rose from $14,820 in 2007 to $18,764 in 2018 – an increase of 26%. These alarming trends have caused many Americans to struggle with affording quality care and adequate insurance coverage.

What Is Free Health Insurance?

As you can probably guess from the name, free health insurance is medical coverage that you don’t have to pay for. In the US, the concept is reserved for individuals with no income, or low-income families who meet certain eligibility requirements. In the rest of the developed world, free medical coverage is an afterthought since the government manages the healthcare system. Outside of the US, healthcare is paid for by taxes. While the US adopted the Affordable Care Act, which is essentially an income based health insurance system, private companies are still the ones selling policies.

This type of insurance typically covers individuals and families who cannot afford private health coverage. It may cover medical services such as doctor visits, hospital stays, preventive care, prescription drugs and more. It generally does not include long-term care or vision and dental care. It can be offered through Medicaid or other programs depending on an individual’s or family’s income level. Free health insurance is often seen as a viable alternative to costly private plans and enables families to receive quality healthcare without financial turmoil.

Does It Exist In The US?

This is a tricky question, but yes, there are free health insurance options available to Americans who are eligible. For example, Medicaid, the state-run government healthcare program, may provide free health insurance to low-income individuals and families, or low-cost coverage options. The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which also provides free health coverage for children and other eligible individuals.

You may also be able to find free health insurance through the marketplace. Through government subsidies, some Americans are finding plans that don’t require them to pay a monthly premium. While the premium is only part of the overall healthcare costs, you still may be required to pay out-of-pocket expenses.

Lastly, if you work for a company with a comprehensive benefits package, you may get your health insurance fully covered. While this technically wouldn’t be considered free coverage since your employer is footing the bill, you would only be responsible for out-of-pocket expenses.

Who Qualifies For Free Coverage?

Eligibility for either Medicaid or CHIP coverage is dependent on your household income. These income levels vary from state to state, depending on whether your state chose to accept the Federal Government’s Medicaid expansion funds. To qualify for free health insurance, individuals and families first need to determine if they are eligible. Eligibility typically depends on an individual’s or family’s income level and other factors such as household size and citizenship status. Generally, eligibility is determined by the federal poverty level or a percentage of it. Those who meet the qualifications are then able to enroll in programs like Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) that provide free health insurance. Other public programs may be available based on a person’s or family’s circumstances.

Eligibility may range from 50-400% of the poverty level depending on the program. This means that those with a lower income level are more likely to be eligible and receive additional benefits, while those with higher incomes may not meet requirements. Each state has its own rules regarding eligibility and it is important to check local guidelines before attempting to enroll in a program.

This expanded form of Medicaid was established as a part of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act (ACA), or Obamacare. All states were expected to expand their Medicaid programs, but a Supreme Court decision gave states the option to opt out, which about half have chosen to do. The income thresholds for Medicaid eligibility are higher in the states that have accepted the expansion.

Common Types of Free Health Insurance

Some of the most common types of free health insurance include Medicaid, Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Medicaid is a public program that offers free health insurance to those who meet income requirements and are either pregnant, disabled, elderly, or under the age of 19. CHIP is similar to Medicaid but specifically provides free coverage for children who do not qualify for Medicaid.


Medicaid is a public health insurance program funded by the federal government and administered by the states. It provides free or low-cost healthcare coverage to individuals and families who meet certain eligibility requirements such as income level, age, disability, family size, and other criteria. Medicaid covers services such as doctor’s visits, prescription medications, dental care, mental health services, eyeglasses, and other medical needs.

To be eligible for Medicaid, an individual must meet the program’s income and asset qualifications and may be required to provide proof of residence. Individuals can also qualify for Medicaid based on certain life circumstances such as pregnancy, disability, age (must be under 65), or having a dependent child in the home. In addition, some individuals can qualify if they are parents/caretakers of a child. Financial eligibility varies depending on the state; however, most states set their income requirements at or below 138% of the federal poverty level.

The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)

The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) is a federal-state program that provides health insurance coverage to children who are not eligible for Medicaid. CHIP covers services such as doctor visits, prescription medications, vaccinations, vision and hearing exams, dental care, and mental health services. Eligibility criteria varies by state; however, in general most states determine eligibility based on income level and family size.

To be eligible for CHIP, an individual must meet the program’s income and family size requirements. Generally, individuals under 19 years of age qualify if their household income falls within the set range. In some cases, individuals over 19 may also qualify depending on the state’s rules regarding this. Furthermore, some states allow pregnant women to apply for their unborn children during pregnancy. Also, certain immigrants may be eligible for coverage depending on their immigration status.

How To Get Free Health Insurance

If you want to know how to get free health insurance or believe low-income health insurance may be an option, you can start with your state’s Medicaid agency or apply online to the Obamacare Marketplace. If you apply through the ACA Marketplaces, they will determine if you are eligible for any CHIP or Medicaid coverage, and, if so, forward your application to your state’s Medicaid agency.

Medicaid eligibility page

It is important to check with local guidelines and speak with a health insurance expert in order to know what programs are available and which are the best fit for your needs. With proper research and guidance, it is possible to find free health care coverage that meets your unique requirements.

Applying For Free Coverage

Applying for these free and low-cost health insurance options can be a confusing and stressful process, but luckily, there is free health insurance help available. You can attempt to apply for these options on your own, through a Marketplace application or state Medicaid agency discussed in the section above, or you can work with a licensed agent who can help you navigate the complex world of health insurance.

Find Affordable Health Insurance Quotes With FirstQuote Health

Free health insurance is a type of comprehensive coverage provided by public and private programs that does not require payment by the recipient for any medical services rendered. These plans often come with income-based eligibility requirements as well as other qualifying factors, such as age or location.

If you are eligible for free health insurance, then you should definitely visit the marketplace or official Medicaid website. However, if you are like the majority of Americans who don’t qualify for free health coverage, you can still find affordable health insurance through FirstQuote Health.

FirstQuote Health specializes in helping you find the cheapest health insurance plans in your area at no cost to you. By entering your zip code, and answering a few pre-qualifying questions, you can quickly and easily compare affordable coverage options in your area, or even talk to an experienced agent. Get started, and get covered today.

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