Basic & Essential

If you are one of the millions of uninsured Americans without a job, you’re probably thinking you’ll never find basic and essential health insurance for you and your family. Maybe you have a job, but simply can’t afford your employer’s insurance offerings. understands and wants you know that there are affordable health insurance choices out there.


Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) is one of the first places to start looking for basic and essential health insurance. COBRA offers options to continue your employer’s health insurance if you are separated from your job. This may be necessary if, for instance, you are receiving treatment and need to continue. It may also allow children to remain on their parent’s policy when they go off to college. Before considering COBRA, you should know that its premiums are very high and it’s generally not considered an affordable health insurance option.

Worker’s Compensation Insurance

While not really basic and essential health insurance option, you should know that if you are uninsured and you are injured at work, you may be eligible for Worker’s Compensation. Federal law requires that an employer offer Worker’s Compensation to any employee being treated for a work-related injury.


Medicaid is often an overlooked basic and essential health insurance choice for many low-income families and individuals. Even if you are employed, you may not be able to afford health insurance, particularly if you have a family. Medicaid may be an answer and it costs you nothing to see if your children are eligible. Your particular state will define the requirements but the good news is that more states are adding new healthcare options all the time. You should check your state’s Medicaid requirements to see if you or your family qualifies.


Medicare is only available to people 65 years and older, so many of you may be immediately excluded. Never-the-less, if you are approaching retirement and examining your affordable health insurance options, Medicare is something you will want to keep in mind.

State High Risk Health Insurance Pool

Your state’s high-risk health insurance pool won’t be cheap, but if you have a pre-existing condition; have been turned down by individual insurance companies; and you don’t qualify for COBRA, this may be your only basic and essential health insurance option.

Individual and Family Health Insurance

This is the same kind of insurance that your employer might offer but instead you purchase it directly from the company. While it is a more basic and essential health insurance alternative than others, you won’t get the group discount your employer gets. Furthermore, most of these plans have a pre-existing condition clause and you may also have to submit to a medical exam beforehand.

High Deductible Health Plan

Lately, high-deductible health plans have become a basic and essential health insurance consideration for many individuals who don’t mind paying out-of-pocket for the occasional doctor’s appointment. A high-deductible health plan gives individuals piece-of-mind should disease strike or surgery is needed. It helps people cope with high medical bills by kicking in after your out-of-pocket deductible has been exceeded. Such a plan typically carries a lower premium.

Short Term Health Insurance Coverage

Similar to the individual and family insurance option, short-term health insurance is purchased for a small period of time, at a reduced premium. This is a basic and essential health insurance choice for someone who, for instance, has found a new job and wants to have insurance until the benefits kick in with his or her new employer. Short-term coverage is also a good option for someone weighing long-term choices but still wanting to avoid gaps in coverage.

Group Insurance through Organization Memberships

Many people don’t consider that some organizations they belong to might offer a basic and essential health insurance health insurance plan. Usually the organization doesn’t pay for any portion of your premium; however, they do get a group discount, which is usually going to be less than if you purchase individual or family health insurance yourself. If you don’t belong to any such organizations, look around and see if there are any you can join.

Group Health Expense Sharing Plan

While technically not insurance, it works very similarly to a basic and essential health insurance policy. A group health expense plan is when people pool their money and pay each other’s medical costs. Usually the pooled funds are placed in an interest-bearing account, which works especially well when a lot of people contribute. The key to such a plan’s success is that it is only tapped for major medical expenses. If such an option interests you, make sure you look around for a group with a proven reputation.

Discount Medical Cards

Like group sharing, this is not insurance. For a small monthly fee, an insurance company will issue you a membership card, which will get you a discounted rate on many medical services. While it’s not going to be much use for someone who faces a major health issue, it does help defray costs for minor services and procedures. If you don’t really require everything a full-fledged basic and essential health insurance plan offers, but still want some sort of coverage for small medical expenses, a discount medical card can be a good option.