Health insurance is no longer an optional cost for families that want to remain healthy. Yet the price of family health insurance plans has gone up significantly over the past few years. When you look at the data regarding the average healthcare costs for families, they seem relatively stable. Research has shown that the average cost of family health insurance through 2019 came up to $1,714 a month, but employers covered most of that bill. If you’re looking at a family health insurance plan, you may be in for a shock. The average costs seem to remain more or less constant, but it’s the other, individual costs that are attached to family health insurance that you need to pay attention to.
The State of Family Health Insurance Deductibles
If you’re familiar with insurance, you’d know that deductibles are the money that comes out of your pocket before your insurance coverage takes over. Payments such as copays and coinsurance count towards the deductible. In a family health insurance plan, you’re likely to have two deductibles to worry about. Individual deductibles are what you, as a person, have to pay before the insurance takes over for paying your costs. The family deductible may apply to one or more members of the family as a group. For the health insurance to start paying for your healthcare, you must reach either the family or the individual deductible point.
The cost of deductibles, on the whole, has risen drastically over the last ten years. Statistical analysis has shown that, despite worker incomes rising approximately 26% between 2009 and 2019, health insurance deductibles have grown a massive 126% in the same window. While employers shoulder the burden of these costs, for the most part, it becomes an increasingly unsustainable situation for people who aren’t employed to look at family health insurance.
Other Costs of Family Health Insurance Plans
As is typical with most other coverage, you can expect to see additional costs attached to your family insurance plans. Copayments are fixed amounts that you’re required to pay for a service. Copayments usually count towards your deductible, but they may come into effect before or after you hit the deductible limit. Coinsurance happens after you hit your deductible limit and is a percentage of the costs you will have to cover yourself. You’ll keep paying coinsurance until you hit the out-of-pocket maximum for your plan.
The out-of-pocket maximum is a value that tells you how much you’ll need to spend as a maximum before your insurance takes over 100% of your insurance private health insurance costs. For families, out-of-pocket maximums are crucial in limiting the amount of money they spend on healthcare. It’s important to note that out-of-pocket maximums only apply for a particular year. At the end of one year, the limit resets, and you’ll have to start back paying your copays and coinsurance until you hit the ceiling again.
Assistance Plans to Benefit Family Coverage
While many families can afford to meet their obligations when it comes to paying their insurance premiums, not everyone is that lucky. Governmental assistance for health insurance exists to help those who cannot meet the demands of health insurance costs. Among the government subsidies that exist to help lower-income families deal with the high chose of health insurance are:
- ACA Subsidies: The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) provides tax credits if you make a percentage of the federal poverty line. It’s assumed that being at this earning level makes it difficult, if not impossible, for a family to afford healthcare. These subsidies are flexible and based on how far below the federal poverty level your income is, and how large a family you need to provide for.
- The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP): This program is a federal-state effort to provide inexpensive (or in some cases free) healthcare to children in low and middle-income families. The general rule of thumb is that if you make too much to qualify for Medicaid, but have an income below 200% of the federal poverty level, you may be eligible for CHIP assistance for your little ones.
- Additional Options for Subsidies: If you make less than $99,000 a year, chances are you’ll qualify for some sort of federal or state assistance program. Several programs are specifically designed to aid families that are struggling to cover their medical health insurance costs. If you can’t make the payments on a family health insurance plan, you always have the option of a short-term insurance plan. While they are strictly a stopgap measure and don’t provide as extensive coverage as a regular medical plan, they will suffice in a pinch. However, depending on this category of health insurance plans over the long term is a recipe for disaster.
What Does Your Family Need from Health Insurance?
The cost of your private health insurance coverage is directly linked to the benefits you expect to get in the case of being hospitalized or needing care. The fees you pay in premiums will be reflected in what you gain in coverage. No insurance will cover 100% of your costs until you get to the maximum out-of-pocket limit, so you need to choose a plan that will still be useful if you get in trouble. You aren’t confined to ACA plans either, as private insurers offer their own plans that may have better coverage for some specific ailments. The cost of these plans may be significantly higher than ACA plans, however. Most employers wouldn’t bother to look at them, so it may require you to invest in the plan yourself.
Regardless of what route you decide to take, you’ll still need to do your research. Even though several companies offer ACA plans, they are different in the type of coverage and other add-ons you can use to customize your plan. Choosing the right plan for your budget requires you to know how much you’re willing to spend and what you want your insurance to cover. For family plans, the maximum-out=of-pocket cost and the deductibles (both individual and family) are crucial information. Check out My private Health Insurance and use our site to compare plans to one another to find one that suits what you want in health insurance coverage.