The Affordable Care Act, often referred to as Obamacare, is responsible for creating the federal Health Insurance Marketplace, offering health insurance plans for individuals to choose from with the goal of improving access to health insurance. Access to health insurance helps give peace of mind and is crucial for covering high medical expenses.
Although the federal mandate for insurance plans is no longer in place on a federal level, some states still require you to have health insurance coverage throughout the year. For many people, private insurance plans offer a better option and provide many additional benefits, like lower costs, compared to marketplace plans, making it worthwhile to explore how to get health insurance without Obamacare.
What Is Private Health Insurance?
If you weren’t able to find an affordable health insurance plan through the marketplace, or simply missed the deadline, then you may consider other options for you and your family, like a private health insurance plan. Private health insurance is any health insurance plan that is presented and operated by a private health insurance company. A private plan operates separately from government-operated plans like Medicaid or Medicare.
Unlike Marketplace plans that can only be bought through federal or state exchanges during the Open Enrollment Period, private or individual health insurance plans can be bought anytime during the year. Private health insurance plans also have the potential to be cheaper than other Marketplace plans, offering options like short-term plans and less coverage for younger, healthier individuals.
Under the terms of the Affordable Care Act, private insurance plans must still meet all of the minimum coverage requirements. This means that they must provide coverage of pre-existing conditions, have no cap on annual benefits and provide free preventative care. However, not all private insurance plans meet the minimum essential coverage requirements. For this reason, it is essential that you check with the insurance provider to understand each plan.
Is It Possible to Find Affordable Health Insurance Outside of the Marketplace?
Although the Marketplace is often seen as the first choice for finding affordable health insurance, it does not always offer the best options for everyone. For young, healthy individuals, those in need of a short-term plan, or those who want more options, it may be better to get health insurance outside the Marketplace. Fortunately, private insurance companies offer the possibility of finding affordable health insurance, leaving you free to explore additional options.
For example, if your employer offers its own company-sponsored health insurance plan, there are still situations where it might be better for you to purchase a private insurance plan on your own. The same goes for people considering purchasing a marketplace plan, as you generally will have far more options when you shop for plans outside of the health insurance marketplace. Private health insurance options are often more affordable for those who make too much money to qualify for ACA subsidies or healthier individuals who do not want to pay for extensive coverage.
While there are benefits to enrolling in a health insurance plan outside the marketplace, it disqualifies you from qualifying for subsidized coverage. This means that if you are one of the many Americans that qualify for subsidized insurance or premium tax credits, you should still purchase your plan on the state or federal marketplace exchanges during the Open Enrollment Period to receive your benefits.
Where To Buy Private Health Insurance
When it comes to finding private insurance plans, you generally have a few different options. Should you choose to purchase a private health insurance plan, the process is very similar to purchasing plans on the health insurance marketplace exchanges. First, you will need to compare the various plans available to you to decide which one is the best fit for your personal needs, and then contact the insurance broker or company to purchase the plan and sign the contract.
The problem is that it can be quite difficult to directly compare each insurance policy and decide which one is the right fit for your needs and your budget. As you look to purchase a private health insurance plan, you have several options
Directly from the Insurer
Insurers typically will not let you enroll in a plan directly through them, but they are a good place to start in your research. Insurance company sites will show you all of the important information about the plans they offer so you can decide which will be best for you.
Through an Insurance Agent or Broker
Insurance agents usually work directly for one insurance company. Insurance brokers sell plans from multiple companies. It is helpful to contact a local insurance broker to discuss the various plans they offer so you can gain a better understanding of your options. Once you have gathered all of the information you need, you can turn to an insurance agent or broker to complete the purchasing process.
From an Online Health Insurance Tool
When you purchase health insurance directly from an insurance company or agent, you often do not have the option to compare other plans and weigh the benefits of each. This is why more and more Americans are turning to online health insurance tools like FirstQuote Health, which allows you to compare plans side-by-side. All you need to do is enter your zip code, and FirstQuote Health will immediately allow you to start shopping for plans and comparing private health insurance quotes.
If you find a plan that is just right, you can actually begin the enrollment process immediately! The company works with most of the country’s major insurance providers, ensuring that you can get the insurance you need from a trusted provider.
Compare Private Health Insurance Plans Today
Although there is no longer a federal tax penalty for not having health insurance, some states have enacted their own penalties for those without adequate health insurance coverage. Depending on your state and your exemption status, you may or may not be subject to a tax penalty. You can use FirstQuote Health’s free health insurance penalty calculator today to find out what you may be paying.
The most important thing is that you get the coverage you need. Quality health insurance helps you avoid high medical costs and cover you against a worst-case scenario. Private health insurance plans provide multiple benefits over a marketplace plan, allowing you to enroll when you need to and often saving you money over the course of the year. Even if you couldn’t find a plan during Open Enrollment, you can still enroll in a private or individual plan at any time.
FirstQuote Health makes it easy to compare private plans so you can find one that best fits your budget and your personal needs. Compare plans today and get a free quote so you can get health insurance outside of the marketplace.