Health care costs are on the rise. Fortunately, the federal government has several programs in place to combat high medical expenses for lower-income families. The top government health care programs that can grant you low-to-no-cost health insurance include the following:
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) pays a portion of your health insurance premium. The amount is based on your income and the number of people in your household.
However, the American Rescue Plan, which came into effect in March 2021, removed the upper-income limit to qualify for a subsidy and this will be the case throughout 2021 and 2022.
Medicaid is a health insurance program if you have a low income and limited resources. Each state runs its Medicaid program, so eligibility requirements vary by area, but you typically qualify if you earn less than the federal poverty level. Some medical procedures and products are required to be covered under a state’s Medicare program. Some states may offer additional covered services.
The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) is a part of Medicaid that provides medical coverage for minors.
Children can qualify for this program even if their parents or caretakers are not eligible for Medicaid. The income limits and other criteria to qualify for CHIP are easier to qualify for than Medicaid. CHIP has similar coverage to Medicaid.
Medicare is a health insurance program for seniors and those with qualifying disabilities and conditions. For most older people, the program replaces medical coverage they lost through an employer by retiring. Premiums for these policies are free to low cost for those the government considers insured. To qualify for Medicare as a senior, you must be 62 years of age. There are four parts of Medicare:
- Part A: Covers hospital stays and some home care.
- Part B: Covers doctor visits and other outpatient services.
- Part C: Includes Part A & B along with additional benefits.
- Part D: Covers prescription drugs.
If you are part of a military family, you might be able to enroll in additional programs or have other grants available to you that civilians do not have access to. Click on the next slide to learn more about these programs for military service members, veterans and their families.