If you’ve tried Obamacare, or other traditional health insurance, you know how expensive it can be. Most of the time the coverage is lousy for the price paid and your options to choose a health care provider is limited. There’s good news though! There are some health insurance alternatives that will allow you to get good medical coverage without breaking the bank. Here are the top three budget-friendly health insurance alternatives to choose from that will help you save money on regular healthcare costs.
1. Sign up for a pharmacy savings card.
If you don’t have health insurance, or only have a high deductible health plan, you’ll want to sign up for a pharmacy/medical discount savings card. Popular drugstores, like Walgreens and CVS, offer their own programs for as little as $20 per year, with savings upwards of 60% or more. You and your entire family could receive discounts on prescriptions, dental and vision programs, depending on the type of medical savings program you enroll in.
Doing a quick online search will yield even more results for you to save on medically-related purchases at drugstores and pharmacies. And in most cases the annual cost is relatively low, or even free, with a guarantee of getting that amount back in savings throughout the year. Because of this, there isn’t much risk to enrolling in a pharmacy savings program, so give it a try. There are usually no pre-qualifications to meet.
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2. Join a medical sharing program.
A medical sharing program, also known as a health care sharing ministry, allows families and individuals to connect under a common religious belief. These non-profit entities give you the ability to control your own health care coverage by pooling financial resources from everyone else in the program. Then the cost of health care is shared among all members throughout the year, thus why it’s called a healthcare sharing program.
Instead of a traditional health insurance deductible, members of a medical sharing program must pay a small annual fee as well as spend over a certain threshold before taking funds out of the group’s shared funds. The largest and most popular health sharing ministries in the U.S. include:
Most medical expenses are covered, as long as they’re related to large or unforeseen emergencies. Dental and vision costs are likely not covered within a health care sharing ministry, but members usually have access to discount savings programs to help lower these costs.
3. Use a Telemedicine service.
Another budget-friendly healthcare alternative that’s gaining popularity is telemedicine services. The concept behind telemedicine is simple, as a patient you sign up and provide your medical history to a popular telemedicine company. Then when you want to talk to a doctor, you can do so over the phone or other service like a video conference.
Depending on the specifics, the licensed doctor, can make an educated diagnosis, provide treatment recommendations and even write a prescription if needed. All of your medical records are in front of them, which helps them tailor their advice. They can also refer you to a primary care physician.
Since this service is all done over the phone, or virtually, the cost of a checkup or consultation is drastically reduced. Check with your employer's health insurance company to see if they provide telemedicine services (most do now!) or check out these telehealth apps below:
Each company has their own set of pricing and perks but the core benefit is the same; you have the ability to talk to a licensed doctor virtually at any time. This could save you thousands of dollars on yearly medical visits and checkups, as well as prevent small medical issues from rapidly deteriorating.
If you’re looking for budget-friendly health insurance alternatives, give one of these a try. You’ll be able to receive the health care you need without the high price tag. Plus, you’ll have more control over the doctors, nurses and overall health care treatment you seek. This will allow you to stress less, knowing that your medical needs are covered in the event that a large medical emergency arises.