| Hi Taylor
- Is Medicaid free? I know it's open enrollment right now but have
no idea how the process works or if I'm eligible. I don't want to
fill out a bunch of paperwork only to find out I could have saved
money by going directly through an insurance company. - Mitchell
Hi Mitchell - Great question and great timing, as people have
less than a month until enrollment closes. For low-income households,
Medicaid can be free. Depending on the state you live in, Medicaid
expansion broadens the scope of potential applicants, though 17 states
have not expanded federal coverage. This whole topic gets confusing
in a hurry, so I'll lay out some basic points.
versus Medicare. People mix these two up since the names are
pretty much identical and there's a fair amount of crossover between
them (some people even have dual eligibility). Medicare is the
primary health insurance for people over 65 and it's been that
way for quite some time. It also covers younger people with disabilities.
Medicaid, on the other hand, targets those with lower income,
so eligibility isn't as cut and dry and there are big regional
factors at play. While both programs are government-run, you will
find stark differences between the two. As for open enrollment,
Medicare ends December 7 while Medicaid ends December 15.
2. No more mandate. As of this year, the individual mandate
no longer exists so people aren't penalized for opting out of
enrollment. Of course, this doesn't mean you should go without
health insurance. Since it sounds like you don't have coverage
through an employer, going to the healthinsurance.org
to see what options are available for you before the cut off date
is a good bet. Even if your state doesn't offer expanded Medicaid,
you'll find some direction and learn more about cost and coverage.
3. Open enrollment ensures 2020 coverage. Since millions
of people get policies through the state and federal programs,
you have to get your application in during this window to confirm
coverage at the start of next year. If you don't have coverage
at all you can still find 2019 plans, but the open enrollment
period is specific to next year's policies.
| Nothing about
health insurance is particularly easy, starting with understanding
how the various plans and programs work. The only universal truth
about the whole system is that insurance is vitally important so you
don't find yourself with insurmountable debt after an emergency. I
hope this helps and you get a plan that works for you!
© Taylor Kovar
November 27, 2019
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