What are the different types of health insurance?

When’s the last time you thought about your health insurance? If you didn’t recently fill a prescription or need to see a doctor, it’s possible that the last time you thought about your insurance plan was last fall, during open enrollment. You can hit the ground running this year before open enrollment by understanding the different types of health insurance you can consider.

What is the Affordable Care Act?

The Affordable Care Act (ACA), also called Obamacare or Bidencare, was put in place to help make health insurance easier for people to get. Marketplace or ACA plans are sold on the health care Marketplace, or Exchange. They focus on preventive care, cover pre-existing conditions, and provide benefits for things like doctor visits, prescriptions and lab tests. If you're looking for Marketplace coverage, you usually need to enroll during the established enrollment period. Check into UnitedHealthcare Individual & Family ACA Marketplace plans to find a variety of affordable, quality coverage options. 

2023 Open Enrollment for Individual & Family ACA Marketplace plans starts Nov. 1, 2022 and ends Jan. 15, 2023 in most states.

What's the difference between ACA plans and short-term insurance plans?

When it comes time to choose a health insurance plan, it's important to know the details about how the plans work. There are different plans for different stages of life — and knowing the differences may help you choose. Take a look to learn the differences between Affordable Care Act (ACA) and short-term limited duration insurance health plans.

What is Medicare?

Medicare is a federally funded and operated health insurance program originally designed for people who are 65 or older. Throughout the years, Medicare has expanded to include disabled people under 65 and those with special circumstances. The program is divided into four parts: A, B, C and D, and is the same nationwide.

Medicare Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) is October 15 to December 7.

What is Medicaid?

Medicaid is a federal and state program in place for low income families, seniors and individuals with mental or physical disabilities. People qualify for Medicaid by meeting federal income standards. The program is operated on a state-by-state basis, and may be called different names depending on where you live. In Minnesota, for example, Medicaid is called Minnesota Medical Assistance.

What's the difference between Medicaid and Medicare? Can I have both?

Medicare and Medicaid are terms you often hear together. That’s because both are government programs. However, they work differently. There's another types of plan called a Dual Special Needs Plan (D-SNP). D-SNP plans include both Medicare and Medicaid benefits. People may qualify for Medicare, Medicaid or both, depending on their situation.

What are health insurance plans through work?

Around 49% of Americans get health insurance coverage through their employers. That’s nearly 157 million people.1 Employer-sponsored health plans play a big role in benefits packages. Depending on your employer, there may be several health plans for you to choose from. If you get your health plan through work, check into UnitedHealthcare plans to learn what benefits are included with our plans. From personalized support to helpful digital tools and large provider networks — there's a lot to consider when making your choice.

What are HMO, PPO, EPO and POS health insurance plans?

Which insurance is most affordable? Which health insurance plan is right for you? For a lot of people who get their health insurance through their employer, it comes down to what options are available. If there is more than one choice, you likely have to decide between an HMO, PPO, EPO or POS option. People shopping for Medicare plans may also be choosing between these same types of options. Not everyone has the same options, but it may help to understand more about how each of these plans work.

What is COBRA?

COBRA stands for the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 (COBRA), a program that may help if you need coverage between jobs. If you lose your job, become furloughed or experience reduced hours and it changes your health insurance coverage, you may look into COBRA for health care coverage. With COBRA, you can continue the same coverage you had when you were employed. That includes medical, dental and vision plans.

What is short term health insurance?

Short term health insurance, also called temporary health insurance or term health insurance, may be right for you if you need to fill a gap in coverage until you can choose a longer-term solution. It might be a good option if you’re in between jobs, waiting for coverage to start, looking for coverage to bridge you to Medicare, turning 26 and coming off your parents’ insurance or many other situations. Short term health insurance offers flexible, fast coverage for those dynamic times of change in your life. 

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