Planning to have kids in the near future? It’s one of the greatest journeys you’ll ever undertake.
And with the joy that comes with a newborn baby, a whole lot of changes also come with it. Not only will your sleep schedule, your free time, and your finances change, but your health insurance is also going to change.
You’ll need to either get a new family health insurance plan or adjust your current plan to accommodate your new kiddos. And that means the amount of money you spend on health care insurance each month is going to change as well.
But you shouldn’t just choose any cheap health insurance plan. Few things are as important as the proper coverage. It’s a decision worth researching ahead of time.
Wonder what family health insurance actually is? Want to know how to find the best plans? Keep reading to find out.
Does Your Baby Need Insurance Right Away?
You can’t always predict when your baby will be born. As a result, you can’t when to start a new insurance plan.
When your baby is born, they are typically covered as an extension of the mother’s individual insurance policy. That means you’ll be entitled to a hospital stay during delivery.
And as long as you enroll your child in a health insurance plan during the first 30 days following birth, their effective coverage date starts on the day of their birth.
So you won’t need to change insurance plans until after your baby is born. But you’ll want to research your options ahead of time, so you can enroll quickly within the 30 day period following birth.
What Is Family Health Insurance?
A family health insurance plan is very similar to any other health insurance plan. It’s basically an individual policy for parents, but with dependents added into the mix.
As with any insurance plan, a family insurance plan has multiple costs associated with it. You’ll pay monthly premiums, which allow you to stay enrolled in health insurance.
These are more expensive for a family than for an individual or couple. But typically, the more kids you add to your plan, the more cost-effective monthly premiums become.
Your plan will also have a deductible. This is the amount you’ll have to pay for all family healthcare expenses in a calendar year before health insurance begins to pay for everything. Once you reach that amount, your insurance provider will cover the majority of future expenses.
You may also be required to make copayments when visiting a healthcare provider. When you reach your deductible, you may be required to pay coinsurance for all ongoing costs, until your out-of-pocket maximum is reached.
And your out-of-pocket maximum is the most amount of money you can spend on healthcare in a given year before all further costs are completed covered by your insurance provider.
Choosing a Family Health Insurance Plan
Many single adults, or couples, opt for lower-premium plans that come with higher deductibles. This is especially true for those who consider themselves generally healthy, such as those in their 20s and 30s.
But once you add kids to the mix, things change. Kids are unpredictable. They need to visit the doctor more regularly. And when they are sick, parents typically don’t wait it out. They rush their kids to the doctor to make sure everything is fine.
Plus, as kids get older and more adventurous, injury is likely. So a higher deductible plan doesn’t always work to save you money in the long run. Especially if you plan to have more kids in the future since childbirth is expensive.
Instead, there are many affordable family plans that better balance monthly premiums and lower deductibles. By choosing a plan with a slightly higher premium, you can rest assured knowing that when (not if) something happens with your kiddos, you won’t go broke paying your deductible each year.
How to Afford Health Insurance
When it comes down to it, health insurance isn’t cheap. But it’s necessary, particularly for families with young children.
One small mishap or emergency has the potential to derail your finances forever without the proper insurance in place. Even cheap insurance with a high deductible is much better than nothing at all.
But for those who struggle to afford health insurance for their family, there are other options.
Obamacare, otherwise known as the Affordable Care Act, provides those who qualify with tax credits to help pay for health insurance. If you have a low income and a lot of children, you’ll qualify for more credits.
And there are other federal and state programs that aim to help those with lower incomes afford quality health insurance. Be sure to research your state’s subsidized health insurance plans before making any decisions.
Alternative Health Care Plans
Many families are looking for coverage outside of the traditional health insurance marketplace. Health sharing plans are growing in popularity across the country, though still only make up a tiny percentage of Americans.
On the surface, they function much like traditional health insurance but operate much differently behind the scenes. Health sharing plans are made up of many families.
These families each pay a certain amount each month in order to be on the plan. This functions similarly to a monthly premium. Then, when you receive medical treatment, you are required to pay a certain amount, which is kind of like a deductible.
Costs over that amount are shared by all families on the plan. Health sharing is a great option for families looking for an alternative solution and are generally healthy.
It works best as a catastrophic health insurance plan, rather than a plan that covers lots of regular expenses. But it’s not for everyone, as most health sharing plans are religiously based. This might mean that you agree to abstain from certain things such as alcohol, tobacco, and drugs.
Take Your Time When Picking a Plan
Family health insurance can be overwhelming and confusing. The best thing you can do is plan ahead and not rush into the first plan you see.
Get health insurance quotes from multiple providers and brokers to find the plan that best suits your needs. And if you are concerned about affordability, be sure to research the current subsidies and programs aimed at helping those with a lower income.