What Type of Health Insurance Plans are Available in 2015?

Jenifer Dorsey
2018-09-12 June 16th, 2014 |
Read time: 7 minutes

The landscape of health insurance in the United States is changing. And while the arrival of 2014 meant most Americans must buy health insurance, health plans are subject to new rules, and health insurance exchanges are open for business, the marketplace looks much as it always has. Exchanges are not the only place to buy a health plan. Major medical insurance, while required, is not all that is available.

Below, we’ve outlined coverage options for individuals and families, included important Obamacare information related to each, and highlighted where plans may be purchased moving forward.

Individual major medical insurance plans

Where to buy: exchanges; private marketplace

The Affordable Care Act—aka Obamacare—requires that Americans have major medical insurance unless they qualify for an exemption. This is known as the individual mandate or individual responsibility requirement. While everyone is allowed a single gap in coverage of less than three months, those who go without coverage beyond that must pay a tax penalty known as an individual shared responsibility payment.

Minimum essential coverage includes individual major medical insurance plans, employer-based group health insurance plans, Medicare, Medicaid, CHIP and TRICARE, among others.

Individual plans may be purchased on or away from a state-based or federally facilitated health insurance exchange. Whether or not an individual health plan is sold on or off the exchanges, it will include certain preventive care benefits and health care services in 10 categories of essential health benefits at no additional cost.

Consumers are free to purchase their coverage in the private health insurance marketplace; however, only plans purchased on Obamacare exchanges qualify for premium tax credits and cost-sharing subsidies. Eligibility for credits and subsidies is income-based. You can use the healthedeals.com Health Care Reform Calculator, which was listed among The Financial Times “Best Online Tools for the Toughest Health Questions,” to estimate your potential tax credit.

Temporary health insurance plans

Where to buy: private marketplace

Temporary health plans known as short-term medical insurance offer coverage for as few as 30 days. These will still be available in 2014 and may be an option for those who find themselves temporarily uninsured due to missing the Obamacare open-enrollment period, divorce, job loss, turning 26 and no longer being eligible for a parent’s plan and seasonal employment, among other circumstances.

Short-term medical plans do not qualify as minimum essential coverage under the Affordable Care Act, which means that they will not prevent you from facing a tax penalty should you go beyond the allowed gap. They do, however, offer some financial protection should you need health care due to an unexpected illness or accident between major medical plans.

Because these plans are not subject to Obamacare’s key provisions, they are best suited for healthy individuals. You can be denied coverage due to your health history, and preexisting conditions may be exempt from plan benefits. Short-term medical plans are not sold on exchanges. They can be obtained through healthedeals.com, directly from a carrier, or with the help of an agent or broker.

Supplemental coverage solutions

Where to buy: private marketplace

Many people who are responsible for their own health insurance desire a comprehensive benefits package like that obtained through an employer. Supplemental plans help offer these additional benefits and financial protection. They may include hospital indemnity plans, critical illness plans, bundled products including benefits for accidental death and dismemberment as well as accident disability income insurance, pet insurance, limited medical insurance and long-term care policies.

Again, these plans are not subject to health reform, which means they do not qualify for tax credits and they may deny applicants or charge them more based on health history and other factors. As with short-term medical plans, this type of coverage may not be found on an exchange. These plans are sold directly from a carrier or through websites like healthedeals.com. An agent or broker can also help you locate supplemental coverage options.

Dental insurance

Where to buy: exchanges; private marketplace

The Affordable Care Act requires neither adults nor children to have dental insurance. However, pediatric dental and vision is an essential health benefit, which means certain dental and vision services must be included in children’s health insurance coverage. The pediatric dental and vision EHB is embedded into exchange health plans unless it is offered as a standalone plan. The age eligibility limit for this EHB varies by state.

Individual dental insurance plans for adults may or may not be available on your state’s exchange. They will continue to be available in the private marketplace. As with other off-the-exchange options, dental coverage may be obtained with the help of an agent or broker, directly from a carrier or through a website such as healthedeals.com.

If you have any questions about the Affordable Care Act and how to find the plans listed above, contact a healthedeals.com health insurance agent at 888-839-7679.


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Originally Published On June 16th, 2014