Obamacare, also known as the Affordable Care Act (ACA), has worked to get more Americans insured. But it has some snags — a large number of people are facing problems like rising premiums and cancelled policies.
These challenges make coverage under the ACA harder to obtain and even more difficult to keep. President-elect Trump has promised to repeal the law, but until that happens, keep in mind that there are several Obamacare alternatives for you:
Get Coverage Through Your Employer
Employer-based health care was the norm for a long time, and that part hasn’t really changed. Obamacare works to ensures larger companies continue to provide insurance. The Employer Mandate states that companies with more than 50 full-time employees must offer coverage to 95% of their workers.
With an employer plan, you’ll likely get a discount on insurance and be covered for major health issues.
However, companies with fewer than 50 employees don’t have to offer health insurance.
Apply for Catastrophic Coverage
Basic catastrophic coverage isn’t generally available to the public anymore. If you meet certain qualifications, you may be able to get it. This is one exemption you can apply for to get a high-deductible, lo-premium plan.
It covers you for an emergency visit, such as in the event of a car crash or emergency surgery.
Look for a Religious Option
For a serious, expensive issue, you could try a Christian health care sharing ministry. The IRS has forms available for members of a health care sharing ministry to apply for an exemption from the ACA. Everyone pays in, and checks are sent to individuals who have medical needs, so everyone shares the burden.
There isn’t a guarantee that you’ll be reimbursed for medical expenses, but it can help if you’re trying to cut down on medication costs. On the other hand, the share-reimbursement model of these plans do leave people vulnerable to sudden high costs — such as issues that would be covered with a catastrophic plan.
Consider a Direct Pay Option
This option may not be available in your area, but if it is, it could be a strong alternative for your needs. Payment plans vary, and you could end up spending more out of pocket than you would if you had some sort of insurance plan.
The plan is essentially what it sounds like — you pay for services rendered at a pre-determined cost. The issue here is you’re vulnerable to serious, big-bill health issues. One major health episode could cost you everything.
Apply for Medicare
If you need coverage and you meet the qualifications, Medicare can be a huge help.
Medicare may be your best choice, so it’s worth considering seriously if you’re eligible. Getting approval for some items and finding a provider could be difficult in some areas. Do you research to find out more.
Pay the Tax
If you don’t find coverage via any of the above options, you’ll be faced with a fine —2.5% of income or $695 per adult. That can be a hefty chunk of change to owe the government. The $695 is actually less than 2.5% for most people who are above the poverty line, so you’ll probably be paying more.
Of course, if you don’t qualify for any of the exemptions and you didn’t have coverage, then legally, you should pay the fine. However, according to AOL Finance, the fine is “practically unenforceable” because the only way the IRS can collect the Obamacare penalty is by deducting it from any future tax refunds you’d otherwise be due. So if you never have a future tax refund, the IRS can’t collect the fine.
Claim an Exemption
In some cases, exemptions are an option. For example, if you’ve recently lost a job or had your coverage dropped for any reason you had no control over, you may be able to claim an exemption.
There are a few other reasons that would legally allow you to not pay the ACA fine including: a lapse in coverage that is three months long or less, financial hardship, or being out of the country.
Remember, when it comes to Obamacare, there are alternatives out there, so don’t settle for something that doesn’t work for you.
Photo Credit: redstatetalkradio.com