There are several options for getting healthcare insurance in the USA. Here is a list, including some obscure ones. Note that you will be fined (“Shared Responsibility Payment”) for not having proof of eligible health care listed on your tax return.
1. Employer/Spouse’s Employer
This is the traditional way of being covered in the USA. Note that you lose your health insurance between jobs, so don’t get sick. Before relying on spousal coverage, ensure you’re actually covered on their plan.
2. Affordable Care Act (ACA)/Obamacare
You can always get Obamacare if there is a private insurer enrolled in Obamacare, but it’s not cheap – $500+ per month.
Enroll in a class and you may be eligible for group coverage. Before Obamacare, this was one of the most popular obscure options.
4. Direct Primary Care provider under ACA
If you can find a local Direct Primary Care provider, that is a “legal” option under the ACA when combined with a high deductible plan (or possible a health savings account). Costs are lower in part because you pay the clinic directly. More info. HN thread More Also see dpcare.gov.
Depending on your income, status and location, you may be eligible for state health insurance.
6. Move to another country
Every first-world country except the United States has single-payer government healthcare. Something to think about.
Note that most locations will have a waiting period. For the Province of Ontario, Canada, it is 5 months after arrival. Get your passport stamped for proof of entry.
7. Hospital Emergency Room/Declare Bankruptcy if Necessary
Transport yourself to the ER and say, “Help! I’m having a heart attack.” You will be prioritized and treated immediately with virtually no paperwork. (Note: if you’re male and can still climb stairs, you’re probably not having a heart attack. Women tend to have heart attacks that are more silent than men, so it’s important to learn the signs if you’re a female.) Since 1986, the EMTALA law requires any hospital receiving Federal funding to participate.
8. “If you get a bill from hospital, you can call billing department, ask them if they can try a different code to bill insurance company. And it is possible new code will lower your out of pocket cost. On few occasions I did this, I end up owing nothing out of pocket.” HN
General Health Care Advice
9. Medical Tourism
If you don’t have health insurance in the USA, every other country on earth is probably cheaper. Capital cities have hospitals that are comparable quality-wise with US hospitals.
For example, St. Luke’s Makati and St. Luke’s QC in Manila, Philippines are world-class facilities with Western-trained doctors and no waiting list. There are 10-hour direct flights from SFO to Manila for about $1,000.00 return. You can do medical, dental, tests, banking and gourmet dining in the same building. MRI’s start at $100.00 and C-sections are $3,500.00. You will be treated like visiting royalty.
If you need an MRI to be used in the USA, you need to make an appointment with a local doctor, get a prescription describing what kind of MRI to do, then give the prescription to the foreign doctor. Otherwise your local doctor will complain about contrast and signal when you give it to him or his receptionist.
Mexico is a common destination for dental care by Californians.
General Health Care Advice
As of 2016, it has been reported that most of the USA Federal Nutrition advice (ie. Food Pyramid, corn syrup safety and sugar vs. fat) was written by paid academic shills.
The best nutrition advice I’ve seen is:
- eat perishable foods that your grandma ate (nothing boxed, processed, or shelved in the middle of the grocery store)
- you are what you eat
- don’t get a pear-shaped waist
- don’t drink diet soda on an empty stomach or you will get metabolic syndrome/diabetes from pancreas confusion.
Choosing a Health Insurance Policy
- It costs less for higher-deductible policies, but make sure it’s low enough to pay for an appendectomy.
- As you get older, it’s important to pay additional attention on choosing your policy since you’re more likely to actually need it
Enforcing a Policy
If you get major surgery, you will almost certainly be over-billed. There are third-party billing consultants who can review your hospital bills.