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Obamacare Alternatives Guides

From off-Marketplace plans to faith-based healthcare, there are several Obamacare alternatives available to you.

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Most Popular Questions About Obamacare Alternatives

Q: Can I Buy Health Insurance That Is Not Obamacare?

Yes, it’s possible to buy health insurance that is not Obamacare, although there are significant drawbacks to doing so.

First, it’s important to understand that Obamacare is just another name for the Affordable Care Act. Obamacare sets the rules for health plans bought by individuals under the age of 65. When you buy health insurance on your own – and not through an employer – then you’re probably getting Obamacare. If your plan has Bronze, Silver, Gold, or Platinum in its name, then it’s Obamacare.

That said, there are many options for health insurance that’s not Obamacare. These Obamacare alternatives generally have very large doctor networks.

  • Christian health ministries, or faith-based healthcare, are religious charities that share the cost of healthcare among their members. Premiums can be as low as $100 per month. These plans have very specific rules about what they do and don’t cover. Around 1 million people are enrolled in faith-based plans. You won’t have to pay a tax penalty if you rely on this coverage.
  • Short-term health insurance lasts for three months or less, with premiums as low as $50 per month. It won’t cover everything and will require you to pay thousands of dollars out-of-pocket before it shares the cost of your care. Short term plans are designed to affordably protect you in an emergency. They don’t cover pre-existing conditions or long-term health issues. Short term plans are popular with travelers, students, and those waiting for comprehensive coverage to begin. Around 160,000 plans are sold each year. You’ll have to pay a tax penalty if you rely on short term insurance.
  • Fixed-indemnity, or critical illness plans, give you predetermined amounts of money if you’re diagnosed with a certain disease (like cancer) or get into a specific accident (like losing a limb). You will have to pay a tax penalty if you use fixed indemnity to replace Obamacare coverage.
  • Paying for care on your own is always an option, although it’s not a very affordable one.

You can also buy separate coverage for specific needs, like dental or vision insurance, from a number of insurers. Obamacare plans aren’t required to include dental and vision care.

If you have minimal income, you can apply for Medicaid, which is low-cost government insurance. There are different requirements to receive Medicaid in each state, and it must be renewed at least once per year.

Obamacare means your major medical health insurance must have certain coverage rules and consumer protections. On one hand, Obamacare plans won’t reject you for a pre-existing condition. Plus, you won’t be subject to a penalty under the individual mandate imposed by the Affordable Care Act. On the other hand, Obamacare insurance will charge you for 10 essential health benefits, even those that you don’t want.

Taking the Next Steps

Whether you’re considering on-Marketplace health insurance or something off-Marketplace, it’s good to take some time and research your options. Search our database of health insurance plans to find the right plan for each of you.

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Q: Is There Short-Term Insurance That Covers Pre-Existing Conditions?

It’s unlikely that you’ll find short-term insurance that covers pre-existing conditions. Generally, your individual claims will be denied if they resulted from a pre-existing medical condition. Short-term insurers can even outright decline to insure you due to your medical history or current health status.

Many Conditions Are Excluded from Short-Term Insurance Coverage

Some pre-existing conditions are chronic conditions, including:

  • Arthritis,
  • Asthma,
  • Cancer,
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease,
  • Congestive heart failure,
  • Diabetes,
  • High cholesterol, and
  • High blood pressure.

The length of time that short-term policies “look back” on pre-existing conditions varies by state, ranging from the previous six months to five years. If you’d like to purchase another short-term policy after the first policy expires, your new plan may not cover conditions that developed during the term of your first policy.

You’ll be able to ask your insurance company what is covered before buying a plan.

Short Term Plans Cover Limited Benefits

  • Ongoing Health Problems Are Not Covered:  Since short-term health policies are designed to take care of immediate health needs, they are unsuitable for long-term maintenance of health issues. Short-term plans rarely cover medical devices, dental care, or vision care. Prescription costs are typically the planholder’s responsibility outside of a hospital setting as well.
  • You Will Get Emergency Care: Peace of mind from unexpected medical costs is a major benefit of short-term coverage. If you’re seriously ill or injured, short term insurance will cover the costs of your hospital visit. Short-term policies also cover follow-up care for acute medical issues until your coverage ends.
  • You Can See A Primary Care Doctor: Nearly all doctors accept short term insurance. You will receive a welcome letter, insurance card, and other familiar benefits when you enroll. Although you have to pay for care on your own before hitting your deductible, the costs for a visit once you do reach your deductible are generally low. Some plans also include a checkup, free of charge.
  • You Can See a Specialist: Specialized doctors (such as a dermatologist, orthopedist, or neurologist) are frequently covered by short term plans. Medical imaging (like x-rays) and mental health care are also common short-term benefits.  Short term plans often bundle in additional benefits such as life insurance or prescription drug discounts as well.

Taking the Next Steps

It only takes a few minutes to get a quote for a temporary health insurance plan. It’s a good idea to learn if you’re eligible by applying for coverage. If temporary health insurance doesn’t work for you, there are several other Obamacare alternatives you can turn to.

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Q: Are ACA Essential Health Benefits Covered Under Short-Term Health Insurance?

Short-term health insurance is different from other types of coverage. These plans are designed to keep you protected from medical or financial catastrophe in case of an emergency. Short-term insurance isn’t a reliable way to maintain your health for long periods of time.

While traditional health insurance plans must help you pay for the 10 ACA essential health benefits, short-term plans don’t cover these benefits very well. In fact, short-term health insurance plans are under no obligation to offer any specific benefits.

Short-term health insurance can safely get you through a variety of temporary situations. However, short-term plans aren’t designed to compete with major medical health insurance (popularly known as Obamacare) when it comes to taking care of your ongoing medical issues.

For instance, short-term plans will almost certainly cover hospitalization bills, yet almost certainly exclude maternity coverage. Most short term plans will offer you at least one doctor’s checkup at a low cost over the course of your plan, but they won’t cover treatment for management of a pre-existing condition.

Ongoing Health Problems Are Not Covered: Since short-term health policies are designed to take care of immediate health needs, they are unsuitable for long-term maintenance of health issues. Short-term plans rarely cover medical devices, dental care, or vision care. Prescription costs are typically the planholder’s responsibility outside of a hospital setting as well.

You Will Get Emergency Care: Peace of mind from unexpected medical costs is a major benefit of short-term coverage. If you’re seriously ill or injured, short-term health insurance will cover the costs of your hospital visit. Short-term policies also cover follow-up care for acute medical issues until your coverage ends.

You Can See a Primary Care Doctor: Nearly all doctors accept short-term insurance. You will receive a welcome letter, insurance card, and other familiar benefits when you enroll. Although you have to pay for care on your own before hitting your deductible, the costs for a visit once you do reach your deductible are generally low. Some plans also include a checkup, free of charge.

You Can See a Specialist: Specialized doctors (such as a dermatologist, orthopedist, or neurologist) are frequently covered by short-term plans. Medical imaging (like x-rays) and mental health care are also common short-term benefits.  Short-term plans often bundle in additional benefits such as life insurance or prescription drug discounts.

If you’re considering a short-term health insurance plan, you probably understand that your coverage will be limited compared to what you’d get with a major medical plan. Different short-term plans will cover Obamacare’s 10 essential health benefits in different, limited ways. Don’t expect your coverage to take care of your long-term needs.

If you compare plans before you buy, you’ll have a better idea of what’s covered. Short-term plans may look similar to other forms of health insurance, but they won’t operate in the same way when it comes time to pay. Since these plans don’t give you comprehensive health coverage, you’ll still pay a fee at tax time.

There are many unique situations where buying a short-term health plan makes sense. If you’re not able to buy a traditional plan until open enrollment, short-term insurance is a great option. Students, travelers, and new employees waiting for their coverage to begin have traditionally been safeguarded by short term health insurance as well.

Taking the Next Steps

It’s time to browse our collection of temporary health insurance plans. You can compare plans and enroll in your favorite one today. If you’re looking for a more comprehensive plan covering the ACA essential health benefits, we can help you find a major health insurance policy.

Get a Free Health Insurance Quote

  • Get an instant quote for health insurance plans
  • Compare prices from over 300 carriers
  • Find a plan that fits your budget
Please enter a valid US Zip Code

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