Part 1: Where Do I Get My Health Insurance? Your Options Debunked

Written by  Meghan Nechrebecki

Open enrollment season might be the most dreaded season for most Americans - even more dreaded than wintertime in upstate New York.

Selecting health insurance is never going to be a fun or exciting task but it’s incredibly important because your selection can have a major impact on your health care for the next year.
— Meghan Nechrebecki

And once you sign up it’s like a gym membership - you’re committed for a whole year… unless under special circumstances… according to your health insurance guidelines.

So let’s talk this out and get you feeling more confident in preparing for open enrollment. In Part 1 I’ll teach you your options for where you can get your health insurance and in Part 2 we’ll talk about the key essentials you need to know when selecting your health insurance plan.

In order to understand where you can get your health insurance, use these key questions because, unfortunately in the U.S., we have a hodge-podge health insurance system build of the government, employers, and private health insurance companies:

  1. Are you older than 65? If you’re over 65 you can get your health insurance through Medicare.

  2. Are you broke? You might be eligible for Medicaid (which is lovingly called Medi-Cal in guess which state...) Of note, you can be what’s called a “dual-eligible” if you are both broke and 65+. In that case, Medicaid will help pay your Medicare bills.

  3. Have you or a family member worked for the U.S. military? You may be eligible to get your health insurance through the Veteran’s Administration (VA) and/or TriCare.

  4. Are you under the age of 26? Good news! You can stay on your parent’s health insurance plan. And still raid their fridge. When they ask just respond “Obamacare”.

  5. Do you work for a large corporation? Then your employer probably offers you health insurance. They typically cover most of the cost but womp womp because it comes out of your paycheck anyway.

  6. Are you in school? See #5 above. Your college or university will typically provide a Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP) much like an employer does. But otherwise you still have the other options listed here if they apply to you.

  7. Are you a fierce, independent entrepreneur? Then the health insurance online marketplaces, otherwise known as health insurance exchanges, are your go-to. In California it’s called Covered California and in New York it’s called the nystateofhealth. #cute

Be sure to check the dates for Open Enrollment depending on where you will be getting your health insurance this year. You can only sign up during the Open Enrollment dates to get health insurance for next year so don’t miss it! It’s incredibly important you have health insurance just in case (knock on wood) something happens to you!

Stay tuned for Part 2 where I will teach you the four key essentials you need to know when selecting your health insurance plan!

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