Individual insurance

The American health insurance system is something that every citizen has to interact with in one way or another and is therefore something everyone should have a basic understanding of. Policy changes in the last few years to medicare, medicaid and employee benefits have given more people coverage but also created some confusion. For a long time the health insurance system included individuals buying their own, and employers providing insurance to their employees, but currently employers are only providing insurance to two out of five Americans under the age of 65.

This is changing slowly, and in 2016 a law is supposed to be implemented requiring companies with over 50 employees to provide insurance. This of course excludes people working for smaller companies with less than 50 people, people who work for themselves, and the unemployed. As a response to this, the Affordable Care Act allowed people to purchase individual insurance with financial help from the federal government to bring down costs. This is a complex system where some states subsidize their own medical insurance systems and some accept that aid from the federal government.

The flip side to the help that is given to bring down costs for individual insurance is that insurance is now mandatory, and people will be charged a fee of $325 or 2% of yearly household income on their taxes for not having insurance. This fee is far less than what medical bills could be if an individual gets sick, but it is also less than what a person might pay for insurance throughout the course of the year, so some people may just choose to pay the fee from their taxes and not be insured.

Medicare is the health insurance that is available to people whose income is low enough that they would not be able to afford to pay for insurance, and therefore medicare is free. A health insurance agency would refer an individual in this case to register for medicare online, and depending on the state, they would be provided with medical services paid for by the federal or state government.

The federal government is not required to cover dental or vision insurance, even though vision problems affect two out of three Americans. Insurance is mostly meant to protect a person from having to pay large fees from hospital stays and emergencies, but dental and vision medical visits can be expensive as well.

Health insurance brokers or consulting services may be able to help citizens to wade though the complicated and stressful healthcare system, but if a person just wants to sign up for insurance, the online healthcare marketplace is fairly effective. The website will show different options for coverage and prices, and you can sign up right on the site. Certain states may have their own dedicated website and services, but the federal government’s healthcare website would be the place to start that search.

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