7 Simple and Effective Ways to Secure Insurance
Even with the introduction of the Affordable Care Act, many single moms are having a difficult time accessing affordable insurance. Fortunately, there are several easy, effective ways to make sure that you and your children are protected in the event of illness or an injury. Getting the best available health insurance coverage also gives you access to routine preventative care and immunizations that are essential for keeping you and your family healthy. Here are seven steps to getting the coverage you need without using confusing websites or spending hours on the phone to get the answers you need.
Nearly every state has a program that ensures every child has access to affordable, reliable healthcare. This coverage is separate from Medicaid, and although you will have to submit your financial information, it is generally easier to qualify for than Medicaid. You will have to fill out an application and you may have to visit a local office to speak to a caseworker. The application process is usually very easy when compared to other government programs. If you make more than a certain amount every month, you may not qualify for free coverage, but your state may offer an option to pay. These premiums are typically very low—around $40 per month—and give you the same access as other participants in the program. Though coverage varies state-by-state, this is a great option for making sure your kids have coverage.
Believe it or not, there is more than one type of Medicaid. The kind that most people think of is the type that charges no fees or premiums and provides people living below a certain income level access to healthcare. Applying for this type of coverage means visiting a local office, filling out some forms, and brining the proper documentation of your salary and assets to your caseworker. Medicaid gives preference to pregnant women, the disabled, children, parents, and seniors. Eligibility is tied to your income level and its correlation to the national poverty level. The Affordable Care Act has expanded Medicaid eligibility requirements to cover more people. If you haven’t applied for this coverage, now is the time to start.
In some cases, you might make too much to qualify for Medicaid but too little to afford private insurance. In those instances, you can apply for a Medicaid policy that provides coverage in exchange for a low monthly premium. In order to qualify or this coverage, your doctor must be a participating Medicaid partner. Some states have different requirements for fee-for-coverage Medicaid, so be sure to check with your local office to get all the details.
Emergency and Retroactive Medicaid
If you find that you or your child requires emergency care and you don’t have coverage, there is still a way to get medical coverage for those ER and urgent care visits. In many cases, you can fill out an application for Medicaid at the hospital, which can go a long way toward securing the best possible care at the ER. Everyone has heard horror stories about doctors refusing treatment because of a lack of insurance. You can ensure this doesn’t happen by applying at the hospital. Medicaid can also cover bills retroactively, which makes it very different from traditional health insurance. This allows you or your children’s qualified medical expenses for the three months prior to filling out the application to be covered under Medicaid.
The Affordable Care Act
While not everyone is required to purchase healthcare insurance under the Affordable Care Act, it may be worth checking out. For people who meet certain income requirements, the ACA offers subsidies that can help to pay for your coverage. These subsidies are meant to fill in the gaps for people who make too much to qualify for Medicaid but too little to afford private healthcare insurance. The Healthcare.gov website can help you navigate your many choices.
Insurance through Employment
Not every employer offers insurance, but if yours does, you may want to consider the benefits of signing up. Employer-sponsored healthcare options usually include low-premium policies that are within the reach of many single moms, and you can even earn discounts for things like eating healthy, losing weight, and not smoking. If you are a part-time employee, you might want to consider having a conversation with your supervisor about what it might take to put in 30 hours every week to qualify for coverage. Remember, some employers will allow you to work full time hours without offering full time benefits. Check with your state’s requirements for part time vs. full time to see if your employer owes you permanent full time status.
Public Health Programs
While public health programs aren’t the same as healthcare insurance, they do offer you access to free or discounted healthcare. Your city or county may offer free vaccination programs and preventative care, and many local school districts offer screenings for vision, hearing, and learning disabilities. There are also free clinics throughout the country that provide non-emergency healthcare to single mothers and their children. For women’s health, you should check with your state to see if there is a specific coverage program for you. Some states, including Illinois, offer free access to women’s reproductive health care, which includes access to annual exams, mammograms, prenatal care, and cancer screenings. Make sure you know which free programs are available to single moms in your area before you schedule your next doctor’s appointment.
Having access to affordable, quality healthcare does more than just keep your body healthy; it helps to give you a sense of security and can relieve stress for worried moms. There are many ways to make sure that your children have access to proper healthcare services, and several ways to make sure you can get in to see the doctor too. Ensure your health and the health of your kids by securing insurance using these seven easy-to-follow tips, and never worry about how to get a doctor to see your kids again.