Shopping for insurance, Part 4: Subsidized options

Filed Under: Costs, Health plans, Patients

Welcome to Part 4 of our handbook for people who are shopping for insurance. We’re planning several articles in this series, much like  our “Ways to Save” series, and we’re  archiving them on the site.

Here’s Part I of the series,  Part 2 and Part 3. (We started out calling it “If you’re uninsured,” but we have changed it to “Shopping for insurance.”)

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You may not want to think about this, but depending on your income, the best low-cost insurance for you in New York State may be a government-subsidized health insurance program, offered through the state of New York (this handbook is state-specific, though some information may translate easily to other states; our health-care system’s state-by-state regulation brings complexity to this task). If you’re not sure whether you’r eligible, here’s a quick and easy screening tool to make things a bit easier.

Among the options available:

Medicaid: The leading health care option for Americans who cannot afford coverage. You may qualify for Medicaid if your household income is below the poverty level of your state, if you have especially high medical bills, if you claim Supplemental Security Income or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families benefits. Find out more information about the various ways Medicaid can help.

Medicare: If you’re over 65, you may be eligible for Medicare, a public program available for senior citizens. If you are disabled and under the age of 65, or have certain serious illnesses, you may be eligible for Medicare as well.  Read more about the program and eligibility requirements. **

Healthy New York: Part of Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield, Healthy New York is a viable insurance option for low-income New Yorkers. Given the state of the economy and the job market, many sole proprietors are eligible. There are several plans under the Healthy New York umbrella, including income-based packages for individuals and families.

Family Health Plus: a public health insurance program, offered through the Department of Health, for adults between the ages of 19 to 64 who have income too high to qualify for Medicaid. Family Health Plus is available to single adults, couples without children, and parents who are residents of New York State and are United States citizens or fall under one of many immigration categories. Family Health Plus provides comprehensive coverage, including prevention, primary care, hospitalization, prescriptions and other services. There are minimal co-payments for some Family Health Plus services. Health care is provided through participating managed care plans in your area. Learn more about whether or not you qualify, and how to enroll.

Child Health Plus: A health insurance plan designed for children in low-income families. To qualify, children must be under the age of 19 and live in New York State. Find out more about eligibility and premiums.

For more information:

http://www.healthcare.gov/compare/index.html

http://www.fairhealthconsumer.org/resources.aspx

Next: How do  I decide what’s a good plan for me?