Healthcare regulations allow insurers to sell a variety of insurance products, including short-term plans that do not comply with the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Many persons have found these alternatives to offer more value for money and fit their lifestyle better than the ACA plans.

With the individual mandate no longer in the way, you may also want to explore alternatives to ACA plans.

Short-term Insurance

If all you need is limited coverage to last you a short period of time, short-term insurance may be your best bet. Keep in mind that this type of insurance wouldn’t give you the kind of coverage available on the ACA. But that doesn’t mean that a short-term plan wouldn’t be a great option for specific circumstances.

Healthcare Sharing Organizations

This is another alternative to ACA plans – ideal for people with certain beliefs. They are best for those whose health care fits specific guidelines which can only be satisfied with particular organizations. These organizations, usually faith-based, offer ACA alternatives through programs funded by its members.

If you need medical care, healthcare sharing organizations will fund certain procedures. If this alternative plan appeals to you, you’d have to adhere to certain requirements which may include leading an alcohol-free lifestyle and becoming a member of a religious organization. Healthcare sharing plans are usually cheaper than traditional plans, but will likely fund fewer medical bills.

Since healthcare sharing alternatives are technically not insurance, they do not qualify for government subsidies, may not be under obligations to cover medical costs, and are not guided by state departments of insurance regulations.

Medical Insurance Packages

Medical insurance packages are ideal for those who cannot afford the ACA plan or who would like to purchase insurance plans outside the open enrollment window. Like healthcare sharing organization plans, medical insurance packages are technically not considered health insurance under the ACA. So, it would be impossible to get ACA subsidies through any of these packages.

However, if you are unable to buy an ACA plan, medical insurance packages can offer some form of protection. They are also less expensive than ACA plans, and most of them are short-term plans that can fill the void if you are waiting for the open enrollment period.

Catastrophic Coverage

Prior to the minimum coverage requirements for ACA plans, catastrophic coverages were the go-to for many persons in need of alternatives to affordable health insurance plans. Catastrophic coverages are significantly less expensive than ACA plans. The idea here is to cover your medical costs in the event of a catastrophic situation, so the plan only comes into play if you require major medical care, such as major surgery.

A catastrophic plan may be ideal for people who are healthy, and only need medical cover in the event of an emergency. Through this limited coverage, an individual will have little to no financial worries if he/she suffers a serious illness or injury, as this plan is designed to ensure they do not pay out of pocket to cover huge medical costs.

Ancillary Policies

Do you have specific medical needs that require priority attention? Rather than purchase a wide-ranging plan, ancillary policies à la carte may be the best choice, as they are more affordable and address your specific situation.

You may opt for one policy, such as vision or dental care, or choose a range of ACA alternatives that cover the specific medical needs. The cost of purchasing these alternatives will likely be lower than the cost of ACA health insurance coverage.

It is important to note that purchasing health insurance alternatives means that you will be paying out of pocket to cover medical procedures that are not part of your coverage.

Buying a Health Insurance Alternative

You can purchase qualified health insurance coverage only during the yearly open enrollment period. In recent times, the open enrollment period spans from November 1 to December 15 in most states. However, there are no restrictions when it comes to purchasing most health insurance alternatives, so you will be able to sign up for a plan at any time of the year. But if you no longer want alternatives and opt for ACA, you would have to wait until the next open enrollment period.

Final Thoughts

Health insurance alternatives are great options for those looking to address specific medical needs. You may discover that these alternatives are more affordable, and offer the type of coverage you need. Thoroughly explore your options so you can make the best decision for you and your family.