Call for a quote:



Text Size

A non-government resource, powered by health insurance experts.
A non-government resource,
powered by health insurance experts.

Learn » Obamacare Alternatives

Obamacare Alternatives Guides

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

Get Live Health Insurance Help Now

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 up to 364 days at a time, 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 no longer have to pay a federal tax penalty if you rely on short term insurance, but it’s not available in all states.
  • 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 not have to pay a federal 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.

Q: What Will Happen if I Go to the Hospital Without Insurance?

At the Hospital: If you end up at the hospital without health insurance, doctors and medical professionals are required to treat you no matter what. They won’t deny you as a patient in need. This is because the Emergency Medical Treatment And Labor Act or EMTALA “[ensures] that any individual with an emergency medical condition, regardless of the individual’s insurance coverage, is not denied essential lifesaving services.”

However, if you don’t have health insurance, you’ll still pay medical bills for services. These treatment costs increase exponentially without coverage.

Who Pays for Medical Bills: Depending on your plan, your health insurance pays for a portion of medical services, including doctor’s visits, prescription drugs, and emergency room trips. You’ll pay the rest of the amount in the form of a copayment or coinsurance. However, without coverage, you’ll be paying the entire bill from the hospital. Each hospital sets their own prices for different services.

Negotiate Your Hospital Bills: Hospitals may offer uninsured individuals discount plans so you can pay in specific periods of time. Installments will likely be split up over the course of the year (one bill each month), so you can regularly pay off your treatment costs.

You can also search for hospital programs called “charity care” that assist you financially. If you qualify for this service, the amount owed will be adjusted to your ability. Even applying for charity care may halt any bill collectors.

Visit an Urgent Care Center: If you’re not experiencing a true emergency, you should see if an urgent care center is nearby. Medical professionals at urgent care can help you treat your illness or injury. These services can cost less than a trip to the ER, although you may have to pay in advance if you don’t have health insurance.

Covering Your Visit With Health Insurance: While the number of people with health insurance has increased in recent years, some people continue to live without health coverage. The individual mandate was passed as a part of the Affordable Care Act, requiring Americans to sign up for health insurance or pay a tax penalty. This financial incentive led many to compare and choose a health plan that best suited their needs.

Signing up for health insurance during the Open Enrollment Period helps you avoid these scary scenarios – you’ll worry less about financial matters if you find yourself in the ER when you’re covered.

Q: Does Health Insurance Cover Dental Care?

Individual health insurance plans may offer dental care, but your plan isn’t required to include it. Dental coverage is frequently added to employer-based group plans, although they don’t have to provide dental care either.

Since dentistry isn’t considered an essential health benefit, there’s a great deal of variation between what each plan offers. You’ll have to check with your plan to see how it covers dentist checkups, tooth decay, and gum disease. Dentures and orthodontic work may or may not be treated the same as other basic dental needs.

There are plenty of surprisingly affordable dental-only insurance policies that are separate from your main health insurance. These will work like traditional health insurance, but will only cover dental care. You can compare standalone dental policies with’s search engine.

Childrens’ Care

Your health insurance must cover dental care to enrollees under 19 years old. Although you don’t have to purchase child dental coverage, it must at least be available as a benefit.

If you do include dental care with your health plan, then your premium and deductible will apply to dental care.

Medicare, Medicare Supplement, and Medicare Advantage

Does Medicare cover dental work? In general, Original Medicare (Parts A and B) does not cover the cost of dentures, routine dental exams, or tooth fillings. There are no Medicare Supplement plans that add dental coverage either.

Some Medicare Advantage plans (Medicare Part C) come with dental insurance.


Medicaid coverage varies by state. Some state Medicaid programs offer full oral health benefits, including coverage for root canals and crowns. As of 2016, seventeen states offer nothing more than emergency coverage, or no coverage at all. The Kaiser Family Foundation lists state-specific information regarding Medicaid coverage for dental care.

Veterans’ Benefits

Recently discharged veterans may be eligible for routine dental care if they apply within 180 days of their discharge. If you have a service-related dental issue or a 100 percent disability rating, you can get dental care. If your dental health interferes with a surgery or certain vocational programs, you may also be able to receive dental care through the VA.

Flexible Savings Accounts (FSA) + Health Savings Accounts (HSA)

Virtually all medically appropriate dental care qualifies as an eligible FSA or HSA expense. Unlike FSAs, money in your HSA accumulates from year to year, allowing you to save toward the cost.

Taking the Next Steps

Using’s search engine, you can browse a collection of affordable standalone dental policies for all ages.

See all questions

Browse by Topic