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Low Or No Cost Health Care Options For People With Low Incomes

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(credit: Thinkstock)

(credit: Thinkstock)

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For more information about the Affordable Care Act, visit CBSLasVegas.com/ACA.

Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), federal and state governments are setting up and running health insurance marketplaces for individuals, families and businesses to purchase quality health insurance. To check if your state is running its own health insurance marketplace, or if you should use the federal health insurance marketplace, visit HealthCare.gov.

Low-income individuals and families can purchase cheaper insurance through the health insurance marketplaces than if they purchase it on their own. In addition to low-cost options, for some there may also be free options available. The primary goal of the ACA is to get Americans insured. Cost of insurance is one of the biggest obstacles preventing people from getting insured. The marketplaces are designed to be able to offer quality insurance plans to the uninsured at lower costs, including those in the lowest income brackets.

Community Health Centers

Government and privately subsidized community health centers throughout the country allow visitors access to some medical care at low or no cost. Even without health insurance, some health services are available. Some of these services include prenatal care, baby shots, prescription drugs, general primary care and even specialized care for some more serious conditions including substance abuse and HIV/AIDS.

Community health centers offering the above health care and more at low or no cost based on an individual or family’s income can be found through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Medicaid

Medicaid is a government system of health insurance for people requiring financial assistance. Although Medicaid is a federal program, eligibility is determined state by state. Most states cover adults with children below certain income levels, as well as other groups including pregnant women and the disabled. Under the ACA, Medicaid significantly expanded.

Now almost everyone under 65 with a family income up to 133 percent of the Federal Poverty Level (about $30,500 for a family of four in 2012) will qualify. To learn more about Medicaid in a specific states, visit HealthCare.gov.

The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)

CHIP is a federal program administered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that provides matching funds to states for health insurance for children. CHIP provides low-cost health insurance to children in families who earn too much to qualify for Medicaid. CHIP eligibility differs slightly by state with some states also extending CHIP to parents and pregnant women.

In most states, CHIP covers routine checkups, immunizations, doctor visits, prescriptions and emergency services. To learn about CHIP eligibility, visit InsureKidsNow.gov. Alternatively, fill out the health insurance marketplace application. At the end, those qualifying for CHIP will be offered it as an enrollment option.

Lower Monthly Premiums

Lower monthly premiums on health insurance purchased through the marketplace are available for people in lower income brackets. The amount of savings is based on an individual or family’s income level. For example, in 2013 savings kick in for individuals who earn up to $45,960 per year and families of four who earn up to $94,200 per year.

To find out more about getting lower monthly premiums, visit HealthCare.gov.

Lower Out-Of-Pocket Costs

Lower out-of-pocket costs including deductibles and co-payments are available for health insurance purchased through the marketplace for people in lower income brackets. The amount of savings is based on an individual or family’s income level. For example, in 2013 savings kick in for individuals who earn up to $28,725 per year and families of four who earn up to $48,825 per year.

To find out more about getting lower out-of-pocket costs, visit HealthCare.gov.

Medicare

Medicare is the government system of health insurance for people 65 or older. Medicare has two main parts: Part A and Part B.

Medicare Part A is commonly referred to as hospital insurance. It covers expenses like inpatient care and nursing facilities. In some cases, it can cover home care. Most people who are 65 and older who have worked and paid taxes for at least 10 years, or have a spouse who worked and paid taxes for at least 10 years, don’t pay for Medicare Part A.

Medicare Part B is non-hospital insurance and covers expenses like doctor visits and medical supplies. It is supplemental insurance, the base premium of which is just over $100 per month for most people.

Medicare Part C and Medicare Part D are two other forms of supplemental insurance available to people 65 and older. Cost is based on levels of coverage and income.

To learn more and find out if you are eligible for Medicare, visit Medicare.gov.

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