Basic health insurance coverage is what the Affordable Care Act calls minimum essential coverage (MEC) or “qualifying health coverage." As part of the Affordable Care Act signed into law in 2010, most Americans are required to have basic health insurance. To avoid the penalty for not having basic health insurance, you must be enrolled in a plan that qualifies as minimum essential coverage. This law also put several provisions into place to help ensure you can find affordable health insurance coverage, no matter your medical needs.
Examples of plans that qualify as MEC include Marketplace plans, job-based plans, and Medicare. There are different types of insurance that can be confused with basic health insurance, or MEC. These types of plans include short-term and supplemental health insurance.
- Short-term (or temporary) health insurance is not considered MEC because short-term plans aren’t required to offer you the same essential coverage benefits and rights as ACA-compliant plans do. Short-term health plans can last from one month to one year. These plans can help keep you covered when you are in a transition, such as being without health coverage because you are in between jobs.
- Supplemental insurance plans are not considered MEC. These plans pay cash benefits directly to you when you are sick or injured to help fill the financial gaps that might be left exposed by your current health insurance coverage. The money you receive from a supplemental insurance plan can be used for anything you choose: out-of-pocket medical expenses and deductibles, offset a loss of income, or even pay everyday living expenses.
Basic Health Insurance Coverage: What To Look For
Under the Affordable Care Act, basic health insurance must contain a few key components, such as guaranteed coverage for all pre-existing conditions. You cannot be charged a higher premium because of your current health or your gender. Certain preventive care is provided for no additional cost, and there is no annual or lifetime cap on the amount of coverage you can receive through your insurance.
Here are the varying factors that you need to think about when purchasing basic health insurance coverage:
- How much are the monthly premiums for the plan you’re considering?
- What are the plan’s out-of-pocket costs, including the deductible, copayments, and coinsurance?
- What services are covered before and after you meet your deductible?
Basic health insurance helps protect you and your family from the cost of both routine and unexpected medical expenses. At HealthMarkets, it’s our vision to make insurance shopping easy, so you can focus on the important things in life.
Sue from Truckee, CA, recently told us, “My HealthMarkets agent explained the pros and cons of each policy in easy to understand terms. I was pleased with his follow-up and the ease of getting all the paperwork done.”
Let us help you, too.