Understanding Your Insurance Options
Under the Affordable Care Act, Americans are required to have health insurance as
of January 1, 2014. If you don't have insurance, you'll pay a penalty.
If you're not eligible for health insurance from your employer, don't worry-insurance is available to you and your family from other sources. The flowchart below can help you find the health insurance coverage that's available to you.
Enroll in Medicare Parts A and B. You can generally enroll as early as three months before you reach age 65. If you don't enroll when you're first eligible, you can enroll during Medicare's annual enrollment period (January 1-March 31).
In order to be eligible for Medicaid, individuals need to satisfy state income requirements (generally 133% of the Government poverty level, but states may differ and you should check with your state to be certain), government and state requirements regarding residency, immigration status, and documentation of U.S. citizenship. You can enroll at any time.
Are your Children under age 19 and eligible for CHIP
The Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) provides health coverage to children in families with incomes too high to qualify for Medicaid, but who can't afford private coverage. Like Medicaid, CHIP is administered by the states, so your eligibility will depend on your state's requirements.
You can buy health insurance for yourself and your family members
from the marketplace.
Depending on your income and how big your family is, you may qualify
for financial help.
To find out if you might qualify, use our Coverage Calculator.
Are you eligible to stay on your Parent's insurance?
The Affordable Care Act allows children to stay on their parent's plan until they reach age 26. This applies even if you are:
- not living with your parents
- attending school
- not financially dependent on your parents
- eligible to enroll in your employer's plan
Are you eligible for insurance from your Spouse's Employer?
If your spouse has coverage available through his or her work, you should investigate whether you may be able to obtain coverage as part of that plan. Many employers offer family coverage in addition to individual coverage and that may be a good option for you.
You may still want to check out the coverage the health marketplace ("exchange") offers, and see how it compares to the employer coverage that's available to you. By doing this, you may be able to find a plan that costs less than employer coverage.
Take this opportunity to look at all your health plan options. That way you can find the best deal on your total health care costs. Learn more about the specific options available to you by checking out our Coverage Calculator.