By law, everyone needs to have health insurance or pay a fine (unless you qualify for a hardship exemption). But what do you do if you were denied BadgerCare Plus and you can’t afford health insurance? You still need a new health plan.
First, it’s important to know that you can’t buy health insurance any time – you’ll need to wait for Open Enrollment, which is November 1, 2016 – January 31, 2017 this year. You can also buy insurance at other times if you’re eligible for a Special Enrollment Period.
If you need a new health plan, here are a few ideas to check out –
- You may be able to get help paying for your coverage. In Wisconsin, some people who were denied BadgerCare Plus may be able to get health insurance at a reduced cost. For example, if you’re a single person who earns between $11,770 and $47,080, you may be eligible.
- If you’re under age 26, you can be covered under you parent’s health insurance plan. That’s true even if you’re married with children and don’t live with your parents.
- If you’re a student, you may be able to get health insurance through the school that qualifies as compliant with the Affordable Care Act. You’ll need to make sure it provides minimum essential coverage.
- If you’re under age 30, or if you qualify for a hardship exemption, you can buy catastrophic coverage. This is a good option for people who need a new health plan, but don’t have much money to spare to pay the premium. Catastrophic plans have high deductibles but still offer a raft of no-cost preventive services.
- If you’re over 30, check out Bronze level plans. Bronze plans usually have lower premiums and high deductibles. They are often combined with a Health Savings Account (HSA). You can save money, pre-tax, in the HSA. When you have medical or dental bills, you can pay them using money you’ve saved in this account. If you don’t have medical expenses, you can keep saving money year-over-year. Many people save up for things like Lasik surgery, which is generally not covered by your health plan, but you can use your HSA funds to pay for it.
- If you’re denied BadgerCare and the other options don’t work, you can try regional organizations such as United Way HealthConnect if you live in Dane County or Share + Care if you live in Rock County.
- Look into health care sharing ministries. Some of these types of plans meet the requirements of the ACA. However, to participate in these plans, you must share the ethical or religious beliefs of the ministry. If you need health insurance and you’re considering this type of coverage, make sure the plan is ACA-compliant. Otherwise, you may find yourself paying for the plan and paying a fee for not having insurance.