Health Insurance for Families

As a parent, you want to ensure that your family is receiving the utmost medical care. You also want to spend a reasonable amount on a health insurance plan that best suits your family.

If you are a newlywed couple or have a baby on the way, you may be wondering what family health insurance options are available on the marketplace. Family health insurance generally covers an individual, his or her spouse and their children through medical illnesses or injuries. Under the Affordable Care Act, there are essential health benefits that must be fulfilled, making it easier to compare additional benefits. Every family needs a health plan that is unique to their medical needs, which is why choosing the right family health plan is important.

How do you choose the right family health insurance plan?

When comparing health insurance plans for you and your family, you want to consider your healthcare needs. Take into account any special health conditions that you or your family members have or are at risk for, especially if you have any children that may get sick quite often due to exposure to germs at school. You may want to consider a more comprehensive plan depending on the composition of family members. Next, evaluate your finances and establish a budget. If you have a family doctor that you prefer, talk to your physician to see what kind of health insurance plans cover his or her practice. This may eliminate other health plans that do not cover your preferred doctor.

Decide if you want a plan with a higher deductible and lower premium or vice versa. If your family is considerably healthy, you may not need a high premium to cover routine check-ups. However, you should make sure to understand the risks of an emergency medical occurrence and the financial burden associated with out-of-pocket costs. Lastly, compare family plans through a health insurance comparison platform by inputting your family size, budget and any special conditions you or a family member may have. Pick a health insurance plan and call the insurance provider to ask any additional questions pertaining to the benefits offered.

Which family members can you include in a family health insurance plan?

Generally, you can include your spouse and dependent children on your family health insurance family. With some health plans, you may have the option of including your parents, although this is not common. However, consider getting separate health insurance plans for your parents if you are taking it upon yourself to ensure the safety of their health. Additionally, if they are 65 years of age or older, they will qualify to receive Medicare health insurance. By adding them to your family’s new or existing health plan, your premium may increase substantially because elderly people are considered a higher risk. They are more likely to have a pre-existing condition or get sick, which is why a separate plan tailored to their health conditions would be benefit them more. As for your dependent children, the Affordable Care Act allows you to keep your dependent children on your family plan until they reach the age of 26 years.

Check with a health insurance company to find out which family members you can include in a family health plan. Eligible family members typically include:

  • A legal spouse.
  • Biological children.
  • Stepchildren.
  • Legally adopted children.
  • Foster children.
  • Grandchildren who live you and depend on you financially.

Should newlyweds get a family health plan?

If you just got married, you may be considering whether or not you should stay with your individual plan or purchase a family health insurance plan for you and your spouse. Luckily, you and your spouse have many family plan options available in the marketplace. This can be a much cheaper option if you are both healthy individuals who need health insurance for routine check-ups. However, having individual plans may be cheaper if one of you has a chronic condition that requires many medical services. If you are considerably healthy and your partner has a chronic condition, like arthritis, a health plan with a higher deductible and lower premium would be cheaper for you. A plan with a lower deductible and higher premium would be more ideal for him or her.

Is having a family plan cheaper than having individual plans?

Individual health plans are for one person, while family plans cover two or more people. Family plans cost more than an individual plan would cost for one person because of the higher premiums, deductibles and out-of-pocket maximum. However, the cost of maintaining a family health plan for your entire family is less expensive than paying for individual plans for each member.

The size of your family does not necessarily affect how much you spend out-of-pocket. If you have a healthy family of four and only visit the doctor’s office for periodical check-ups, you may be paying less than a family size of three whose child has a chronic condition. However, the size of your family does affect your monthly premium, increasing the rate every time a new member is added. There are some health plans that only require that you pay for your three oldest children in your monthly premium. This means if you have five children, the youngest two will automatically be covered without charge.

Many health insurance plans offer discounts and special accommodations for large families. When speaking with a healthcare provider, inquire about the plans they offer based on your family’s size. Lastly, if your job offers employer-group insurance, you may be able to cover your entire family depending on the health plan your company offers. In fact, the Affordable Care Act requires that businesses with over 50 employees offer healthcare to their employees and dependent children. This is a cheaper option considering most companies split the cost of your monthly premium with you.

Are there family plans available for low-income families?

If your family cannot afford traditional health care, there are other inexpensive options available to receive healthcare benefits. Depending on your family’s size and income, you may be eligible to receive free or low-cost health benefits through Medicaid. Medicaid is a joint federal and state health insurance program that can provide health care benefits to low-income individuals, families, pregnant women, seniors and people with disabilities, depending on state regulations.

If you do not qualify for Medicaid because your income is too high, you still may be able to receive health insurance for your children. The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) is a joint federal and state program that works alongside Medicaid. Eligibility for the program varies by state. Apply for Medicaid through your state agency and you will be notified if your children are eligible for CHIP. Additionally, every state is required to offer comprehensive benefits, like checkups and immunizations. Some states may offer additional benefits. Costs for CHIP vary by state, but you will not be required to pay over 5 percent of your family’s yearly income. Moreover, routine check-ups and dental visits are free of charge for every state under CHIP.

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