Shopping for family health insurance plans can be a daunting process. You want to make sure your family has the coverage you need to protect your health, but health insurance plans for family participants can be expensive. ideally, you need a plan that balances the services you need with the prices you can afford.
To help you, we’ve put together a guide to everything you need to know when looking for affordable, comprehensive family health insurance. In this post, we answer basic questions like what is family health insurance, but we also dive into the details of how family plans work and what to expect.
what is family health insurance?
The first question most people have is what is family health insurance? Simply put, family health insurance is a plan that covers your family rather than just you individually. Think of a family health insurance plan as an individual plan with only dependents added to the policy. but what does family mean in health insurance? In most cases, the family includes you, your spouse, and your children under the age of 26. as of 2020, the us uu. the census reported that 91.4% of families have health insurance coverage, with 8.6% of families uninsured.
For example, if you’re married with no children, family health insurance is essentially partner insurance. If you are single with two children, your family health insurance covers you and your children. Similarly, if you are married with six children, your family health insurance covers you, your spouse, and your children.
If you get family insurance through your employer, you’ll hear the phrase “employee plus family.” So what does employee plus family mean? it simply means that the plan covers you and your family as explained above.
how do family health insurance plans work?
At this point, you’re probably wondering, how does a family health insurance plan work? you pay a single premium for everyone in the family. the premium usually changes when you add or remove people from the plan. then, just like individual insurance, the plan may require you to pay copays for different services and meet a deductible.
How are family health insurance plans different from other plans?
Looking for family health insurance coverage can be daunting. however, family plans are very similar to individual health insurance plans.
The main difference between family plans and individual plans is who they cover. As stated above, a family plan covers everyone in your family that you add to the plan. This generally includes you, your spouse, and your children up to age 26.
Another notable difference between family health insurance and individual plans is how they handle out-of-pocket maximums. In some cases, family health insurance plans have an out-of-pocket maximum for the entire family, but in other cases, each individual in the plan has their own out-of-pocket maximum.
In addition, there are differences between the costs of individual and family health insurance. You generally pay more for a family health plan because it covers more people, but you may end up paying less per person than an individual plan.
what you need to know about the typical costs of family coverage
As with all insurance policies, there are a few different types of costs to consider when shopping:
- Premiums: Premiums are the monthly payments you make to stay enrolled in your family plan. In 2018, the average monthly cost of family coverage was $1,168.
- Deductibles: Your deductible is the amount of money you have to pay out of pocket before your health insurance takes over. Once you have reached this amount of money, your family health insurance will pay for any other medical care you receive that year. With family health insurance, you generally have two types of deductibles: family and individual. you must meet the individual or family deductible before your family health insurance goes into effect. On average, family health insurance plans had a deductible of about $8,232 in 2018, according to ehealth.
- Miscellaneous Other Costs: There are a few other costs, such as copays, coinsurance, and out-of-pocket maximums, associated with family coverage that you should consider when shopping for a policy. A copay is a fixed amount of money you pay for a covered service that takes effect before or after you’ve met your deductible. Coinsurance is a percentage you pay for covered services after you’ve met your deductible until you’ve reached your out-of-pocket maximum. After you reach your out-of-pocket limit, your family health insurance will pay 100% of the cost of your covered benefits for the rest of the year.
- ACA Subsidies: The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, provides tax credits for those who have difficulty affording health insurance. In general, the lower your income and the larger your family, the more tax credit you’ll qualify for.
- CHIP Plans: The Children’s Health Insurance Program, also known as CHIP, is a federal-state collaborative effort to provide free or affordable health insurance for families with children. The requirements are different from state to state, however, you will generally qualify for the chip if you make too much money to qualify for medicaid but your income is 200% below the poverty line.
- Other Coverage Options: There are other state programs that are specific to families who have difficulty affording health insurance. If you are a family of at least four, earning less than $99,000 a year, you should qualify for some state or federal assistance. If you need coverage for a short period of time or quickly, there are short-term health insurance plans available. While you won’t receive the same level of coverage as major medical plans, you will get some coverage cheaply and fairly quickly, and some applicants will be approved the next day.
what to consider when looking for coverage for your family
When shopping for coverage, you have more to consider than if you were shopping for individual coverage.
Although a plan with a low premium and a high deductible may seem attractive at first, you should consider that you are purchasing health insurance for your children or other dependents. When it comes to shopping for children’s health insurance, you may want to consider looking for a family plan with a higher monthly premium and lower deductible, since you have multiple people’s health care needs covered under one plan.
If you have a family larger than a household of four, you can expect your insurance to be more expensive overall, however, you may end up paying less per person. You’ll also likely pay less per person if your family members are in good health. In this case, it’s smart to get an insurance policy that covers preventive care to keep your family healthy and lower long-term costs. Plus, you’ll likely pay less if you get your insurance through an employer.
Although family coverage may seem expensive, your finances can be affected by unexpected medical expenses if you don’t have health insurance for you and your family. If you’re having trouble affording health insurance, there are programs and incentives to help keep your family covered.
choosing the right health insurance plan for your family
Now that you understand what family health insurance is, you’re probably wondering which plan is right for your situation. the best family health insurance plans vary based on your unique needs.
If you don’t anticipate using many services, you may want to opt for a low premium and high deductible. however, if you have no savings and someone in your family gets sick, this strategy may end up costing you more in the long run. If you use a lot of health care, you may want to look for a family health insurance plan that has higher premiums in exchange for fewer copays and lower deductibles.
When shopping for family health plans, keep in mind that there are different answers to the question of which health insurance plan is best for your family. Ultimately, the answer varies depending on your situation. Again, you need to consider how much family health insurance plans cost and what they offer. There are also a variety of different family health insurance options by state.
why family health insurance is important
Family health insurance is essential because it helps ensure your family can get health care. By law, emergency rooms must treat you even if you are uninsured, but going to the emergency room without insurance can lead to very expensive bills. Also, once you’ve been treated for the emergency, health care providers are not legally required to give you any further treatment.
Without health insurance, you may not be able to access essential health care for you and your family. You’ll also have a hard time getting preventive care, which is critical to your health. Family health insurance plans cost money up front, but they help protect your family’s health and, compared to the financial risk of not having insurance, they also help protect your budget.
ehealth offers broad access to many health insurance plans for families. Take a look at family health insurance plans today to find the coverage that’s right for you.