Your state’s health insurance "marketplace" or health care "exchange" website will enable you to view and compare various private insurance policies available for purchase in your state; you may also be referred to a public program or may find out that you are eligible for financial assistance in purchasing private insurance. NOTE: Prior to October 2013, these websites may not be fully operational.
Below is a summary of the major options for receiving health care coverage in the United States including public programs or employer-sponsored plans for which you may be eligible.
Medicare: This covers those 65 and older as well as some specific populations such as those with Lou Gehrig’s Disease (ALS), disabled individuals, and people with end-stage renal disease.
*To find out if you are eligible for Medicare look on the Medicare website. Apply online or call toll-free 1-800-772-1213.Medicaid: This is a program providing coverage for many low-income individuals, but specific eligibility and benefits are determined by each state.
*To find out what your state is doing under the Affordable Care Act in regard to Medicaid go to Stateline Reports. Apply for Medicaid at your local Helath Department.Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP): This is a program providing coverage for children up to age 19 whose family income is a little too high to qualify for Medicaid. Each state determines specific eligibility and benefits.
* To find out if you or your children are now eligible for Medicaid or CHIP see specific eligibility and enrollment criteria by state. Inquire or apply through your local Department of Family and Child Services, Health Department, community health center, or Cooperative Extension Service.Department of Veterans Affairs Health Benefits: This is not a health insurance plan, but it provides health care benefits for veterans. The benefits vary for each veteran and may vary from year to year based on federal funding.
TRICARE: This health benefits program is for active-duty service members, uniformed service retirees, medal-of honor recipients, families of those who lost their spouse during active duty, and reservists activated for more than 30 consecutive days.
*Some TRICARE plans require consumers to enroll, while others are automatic.Indian Health Services (IHS): This is not an insurance plan, but is a federal health care system which provides primary care and inpatient services to Native Americans who are enrolled members of a federally recognized tribe.
Employer-sponsored Health Insurance: Many employers contract with health insurance companies to provide plans for their employees to enroll in. Employees share the cost of premiums each month with their employer. You employer's human resources or benefits department should notify you of your options, costs, and the deadlines to enroll.
Individual Private Insurance: Private health insurance plan can be located and purchased through your state health insurance marketplace. The cost and benefits will vary for each private plan. Depending on your income and family size, you may qualify for a tax credit to help lower your overall health care expenses.
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