Almost everyone understands the value of health insurance. The problem is that a lot of people have a hard time finding affordable health insurance quotes. But while a health plan is not cheap, it can be financially devastating if you get sick without one. If you’re still shopping for health insurance plans, these tips may be able to help you:

Why You Need Health Insurance

According to WebMD, between the ages of 25 and 44, you have a 1 in 5 chance of landing in the Emergency Room. Without insurance, you’re looking at paying $1,450 per visit, on average. But what if you need surgery? Well, that’s another $16,000 you need to pay. In the United States, 25% of all uninsured individuals lose all their life savings to medical treatment. In fact, it is currently the leading cause of bankruptcy in the country.

But that’s not all. The Affordable Care Act imposes a penalty to anyone who doesn’t have health coverage. The penalty is $695/person or 2.5% of your household income (whichever is higher).

Finding Affordable Health Insurance

So now that we have provided some solid reasons why you need health insurance, it’s time to shop for one. If you have a limited budget, you can use the following strategies to find cheap health plans:

  1. Shop around

You can get a list of options from the state exchanges set up through ACA but you can also look elsewhere for cheap insurance plans.

  1. Purchase directly from the insurance company

You can visit the websites of insurance companies to compare plan details and apply. So if you know of an insurer that offers great deals, you can do business with them directly.

  1. Use an insurance agent

If you are not really sure what kind of health plan you need or if you’re overwhelmed by the choices available, an expert will be able to shed light on your most suitable options. Work with an independent agent who can help you compare various options and find the most affordable one for your needs.

  1. Buy through a web-based insurance finder

These insurance finders work just like an independent insurance agent. They will ask you to answer a few questions and then offer you insurance plans based on the answers you provided.

  1. Find out if you qualify for any special programs

Medicaid, Medicare and CHIP offer federally subsidized health care so they are very affordable. But you need to qualify for these programs first.

  1. Stay on your parents’ insurance plan

If you’re under 26, the Affordable Care Act lets you stay on your parent’s health insurance policy, which means you’ll be paying a lot less for your coverage. This is available even to married individuals as well.

  1. Consider high-deductible plans

If you’re healthy and do not anticipate using your health insurance much, you can get lower premiums if you opt for a high deductible plan. But you also need to be aware that in the event that you get seriously sick, you will end up paying a fortune for treatment.