As a healthy millennial, you may not think health insurance is entirely necessary. However, it’s important to have coverage to avoid or put off the care you need, especially if an emergency occurs. This article dissects the many health insurance options for millennials to consider in 2023, from catastrophic plans to health insurance alternatives.
If you don’t currently have coverage, then it’s important to know that most traditional insurance plans have a waiting period before they take effect. Luckily, Mira is an alternative option that offers low-cost urgent care visits, affordable lab testing, and discounted prescriptions for a single, low, $45 per month premium. Sign up today and join a community of millennials across the country who are using Mira!
How to Choose Health Insurance as a Millennial
Millennials' best health insurance options will be affordable, with a low or no waiting period, and give you access to in-person visits and prescriptions. Here are there other big factors that may impact your decision:
- Medical emergencies are expensive: It may not seem like you'd encounter a medical emergency; all it takes is one brief moment (tripping while going up the stairs, breaking a bone, etc.) which can cost thousands of dollars in medical bills; even before accounting for surgeries and other treatment.
- Preventative care is more important than you think: Without insurance, you may avoid preventative visits due to the cost. However, preventative doctor visits are actually essential and directly affect developing a more serious condition that would cost even more money to manage down the road.
- There are alternatives to health insurance: Health insurance plans may not fit everyone, especially millennials. However, there are alternatives. Mira is a membership healthcare service for just $45/mo. It's ideal for people who don't have pre-existing conditions and need preventative urgent care visits. Members also get access to affordable lab testing and prescription discounts.
The Best Health Insurance Options for Millennials
Now, let’s take a look at the six best health insurance options for millennials:
1. Catastrophic Health Insurance Plans
With catastrophic insurance, the premium amount you pay each month is generally lower than higher-quality health plans. Still, the out-of-pocket costs for deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance are generally higher. Catastrophic plans cover the same essential health benefits as other marketplace plans and are usually best to cover “worst-case scenarios.” They cover three primary care visits per year at no cost and certain free preventative services, but coverage varies slightly per plan and provider.
Most catastrophic plans are labeled as “bronze” health care plans on the marketplace and are almost always the most affordable. If you get a plan that qualifies as a catastrophic plan, you’ll be eligible to open a health savings account. This is important because, with these plans, you will likely have to pay the bulk of any medical expenses out of your own pocket.
2. Bronze Health Insurance Plans
Another option for healthy people who use few medical services and mostly want protection from very high costs if you get seriously sick or injured is bronze health insurance plans. Many bronze plans will cover a certain number of preventive visits, which is the major difference between these plans and a catastrophic plan, even though they appear in the same category on the marketplace.
These plans usually have low premiums and a high deductible, and 60% of covered health costs are typically paid by insurance while you pay 40%. The actual premiums, deductibles, and copays will vary by plan and provider, but typically, the lower the deductible you have, the higher the monthly premium.
3. Student Health Insurance
If your school offers a student health plan, it can be an easy and affordable way to get basic insurance coverage. Student health plans are often affordable, depending on the school, but you’ll have to generally use the school’s medical facilities for all non-emergency services. One downside to these plans is that they may only offer coverage during the school year, so pay attention to the plan details before signing up. Many schools automatically enroll their students into these plans, but you can typically opt out.
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If your income is low or you have certain life situations, you could qualify for free or low-cost coverage through Medicaid. If your state has expanded Medicaid coverage, you can qualify based on your income alone. In many states that have expanded, that's about $17,608 or less for a single person or about $23,791 or less for a married couple with no children.
According to Nick Schrader, an Insurance Agent at Texas General Insurance, “[Medicaid is] good for low-income young adults with a particular life condition. If you are eligible, you can have it for free or at much lower rates than traditional insurance.”
In all states, you can qualify based on factors, including income. For many states, some family situations like pregnancy or having young children and disability will lower the income requirements for qualification.
5. Parent's or Spouse's insurance
According to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), individuals can stay on their parent's health insurance plan until they're 26. According to Alice Steves, Senior Editor at Best Company, “This method is particularly beneficial if you live locally since health plan provider networks can be limited outside of the local area.”
You have 30 days to get on your spouse’s employer-sponsored health insurance if you have recently lost your job and health insurance. If your spouse’s company allows it, you can get on your spouse’s insurance plan by asking your spouse to speak to their company’s human resources department for further details.
6. Alternative Healthcare Coverage
Traditional health insurance isn’t the only option when it comes to healthcare. Especially as a young adult, your budget may be tight, and you may not find it necessary to allocate your income to a health insurance plan.
Mira offers a healthcare alternative at just $45 per month, with no premiums or deductibles. Members also have access to hundreds of urgent care clinics, 80% off prescriptions, and low-cost lab testing. Sign up today and get covered that same day.
Health Insurance Options as a Millennial Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Health insurance can be overwhelming and confusing. There are a lot of options on the marketplace, yet there are still other alternatives to consider. Let’s look at some of the most commonly asked questions that millennials have when getting their own insurance, often for the first time.
Is Insurance Necessary for a Healthy Millennial?
Even as a young and healthy individual, it’s necessary to have healthcare coverage, especially in an emergency. If an emergency does occur, you will likely have thousands of dollars in medical expenses if you are not insured. If you have proper healthcare coverage, you most likely won’t have to pay for the entire cost on your own, depending on your plan. Additionally, many health insurance plans also offer co-pays for prescriptions and coverage for specialists and preventative care.
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Is There a Tax Penalty for Not Having Insurance?
As of 2019, you no longer have to pay the penalty on your federal tax return if you're not insured; this fine was rescinded for the 2019 tax year. However, some states may still have mandates. Even though there's no longer a penalty, you're protecting both your health and your financial status by taking out a health insurance policy.
Is My Employer Required to Offer Health Insurance?
The ACA requires large employers (50 or more full-time employees) to provide health insurance to 95% of their workers, or they must pay a fine. The health insurance must meet certain affordability requirements and must cover a minimum set of essential services. Employees can also decline the health insurance offered by employers. This is called a waiver of coverage. If you waive coverage for yourself, you can not cover dependents under the employer's plan.
How Do Health Saving Accounts Work (HSAs)?
If you're generally healthy and want to save for future health care expenses, an HSA may be an attractive choice. Or, if you're near retirement, an HSA may make sense because the money can be used to offset the costs of medical care after retirement. On the other hand, if you think you might need expensive medical care in the next year and find it hard to meet a high deductible, an HSA might not be your best option.
“Some high deductible plans come with HSAs. These accounts allow you to set aside tax-free money to use for health expenses. Funds roll over year-to-year and can be invested to grow over time”, says Stevens.
While health insurance is complex and can be hard to navigate, there are many options to choose from as a young adult. Health insurance coverage is important and can make a big difference when it comes to paying out-of-pocket costs. No one should go without care because of a lack of coverage options.
Mira offers an alternative plan to traditional insurance that is much more affordable and is a coverage option that is tailored for many millennials. For $45 per month, you can get access to in-person urgent care visits, on-demand lab testing, and you can save up to 80% on prescriptions. Sign up today and get the coverage you need.
Alyssa is a Senior Marketing Associate & Content Writer at Mira. She is passionate about educating others on how to affordably access healthcare.