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Families with low-incomes often struggle when it comes to medical expenses. Finding affordable health insurance for low-income families can be a frustrating, time-consuming process. Families on a budget may be tempted to skimp on coverage, or skip health insurance altogether. But medical insurance for children is crucial. They need immunizations and regular check-ups to assess development. Adults need preventative care. Missing routine doctor visits can lead to a decline in health or a missed diagnosis for a preventable disease. Several low-cost insurance options are available to help families maintain good health, without incurring huge medical debt. Below are some suggestions for how to find affordable health insurance for low-income families.

Don’t Procrastinate!

Getting started is the number one thing you can do to solve your healthcare problems. Many people wait until the last minute to choose a health insurance plan. You may find lots of options to choose from, and not enough time to scrutinize each thoroughly. The more time you have, the better your chances of finding a perfect fit for you and your family. The Affordable Care Act imposes penalties for not being insured. The closer you get to the enrollment deadline, the more likely you may be to encounter slower websites and longer customer service lines.

Make a List!

It’s important to know some things before starting your search. Think about your healthcare needs and what matters most. Perhaps you have doctors that you don’t want to leave. Maybe you have a child that requires special attention. What if you’re anticipating a major medical procedure in the future? Having some idea of what’s most important to you and your family, and what future expenses you anticipate, will help you determine the coverage you need. Write down these details, along with a list of questions before you begin to shop.

Set a Budget!

Know what you can afford ahead of time. This will help narrow down your options. Try to estimate your regular monthly expenses, and what your typical health costs are. Since lower premiums can mean higher out-of-pocket costs, you’ll want to be sure that you’re looking at the right level of coverage, (especially, if you plan on accessing lots of health services throughout the year). The best way to find affordable medical insurance for low-income families is to first be clear on what you need and what you can afford.

Shop Around!

You wouldn’t purchase a car or other important necessities without first shopping around. Be sure to do the same for your health insurance needs. It’s illegal for different vendors to charge different prices for the same health plan. Finding affordable health insurance for low-income families is more about being certain you have evaluated all of your options from the widest possible range of vendors.

Check for Subsidies and Special Programs

The Affordable Care Act provides subsidies to those who fall within certain income-level guidelines. Qualifying for this type of tax credit can save you money on monthly premiums and regular out-of-pocket expenses (like copays). If your income is very low, you may qualify for Federal or state-subsidized insurance like Medicaid. While some states have expanded their Medicaid programs to cover all people below certain income levels, many have not.

Don’t Go It Alone!

Finally, the single most important thing you can do to find affordable medical insurance for low-income families is to get help! Buying through an insurance agency like HealthMarkets is a quick and easy way to review all of your options. You can receive un-biased advice from a team of professionals. HealthMarkets has access to thousands of plans from over 180 insurance companies nationwide. We can even provide subsidy information that could help save you money. HealthMarkets offers personalized assistance over the phone, a user-friendly online shopping experience, and has thousands of licensed agents in communities nationwide. The best part is, our help is absolutely free!

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