Free Medical Insurance for Adults: What are my options?

Updated: November 9, 2022
free medical insurance for adults

There are many options for free medical insurance for adults available. The latest market benchmark premiums from the Kaiser Family Foundation show that health insurance premiums in the US cost an average of $438 per person per month. For some American families, this may be a high price to pay.

According to research obtained by healthcare information and consulting website Verywell Health, this may not be a concern for many working people because their employers cover roughly 83% of their overall health insurance premium. You can also check Wellcare insurance reviews to see your options.

The subject of where to discover the finest inexpensive health insurance policies arises since those without access to employer-sponsored coverage must shop around for their health plan and pay the whole cost of the premium.

What is generally covered by health insurance?

The standardization of insurance plan coverage is one of the modifications made to the nation’s healthcare system by the a. The advantages provided by insurance firms formerly varied considerably between policies. Currently, 10 “essential health benefits” must be covered by health insurance policies in the US. These benefits include:

  • Patient ambulatory services
  • Emergency assistance
  • Hospitalization
  • Maternity, infant, and pregnancy care
  • Services for mental illness and substance abuse, including behavioral health care
  • Prescription medications
  • Services and equipment for rehabilitation and habilitation.
  • Testing services
  • Services for chronic disease management and prevention
  • Children’s services, such as the best dental insurance and vision care

Other needed advantages include access to contraception and breastfeeding support. However, adult dental and vision coverage is not regarded as essential benefits but is offered as add-on options and medical management plans.

What elements influence the price of health insurance? claims that insurance firms can only consider five factors when calculating premiums under the healthcare bill. Which are:

  • Age: Older persons may pay up to three times as much in premiums as younger people.
  • Location: The cost of living, state and municipal restrictions, and competition variations affect health insurance premiums.
  • Smoking: Insurance companies can raise premiums for smokers by up to 50%.
  • Family vs. individual enrollment: Insurance companies may charge more for a plan that includes coverage for a spouse and dependents.
  • Plan category: Premium costs are also influenced by the various plan types, including Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum.

The government website stated that while states cannot use medical history and gender in determining insurance premiums, they can restrict the influence these factors have on insurance costs. stated that insurance providers “cannot charge women and men different pricing for the same plan.” “They can also not consider your present health or past medical history. Treatment for pre-existing conditions must be covered by all health plans beginning on the first day of coverage.

Free Medical Insurance Options for Adults

Even if access to employer-sponsored insurance is not a possibility, there are many other ways for many Americans to obtain affordable health insurance plans. Here are a few instances:


According to the company, Medicaid is the most economical option, but applicants must fulfill certain eligibility conditions, which change depending on the state where they reside.

Low-income individuals and families can get free or inexpensive health insurance through a government-funded program. Currently, 38 states permit eligibility to be based only on income. Usually, 133% of the federal poverty line (FPL), or $17,774 per person, serves as the cutoff. A greater income cap results from a larger household. Except for Alaska and Hawaii, all 38 states share the same income threshold.

Meanwhile, additional eligibility requirements are imposed in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. These requirements include guardianship of a child or being over 65.

Access to free emergency treatment, family planning, and pediatric healthcare is available to Medicaid holders. Depending on their state and income levels, they might also be required to pay copays for prescription drugs, inpatient hospital stays, and doctor visits.

Marketplace for health insurance

Another excellent area to start looking for a plan that suits your needs is your state’s health insurance marketplace, which is accessible to many low-income Americans. They can compare plans for coverage and cost here, as well as find answers to any queries they may have regarding health insurance. They can also check to see if they are eligible for Medicaid, tax breaks, or lower rates. Through the marketplace, parents can sign their children up for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

During an open enrollment period, which typically lasts from November 1 through January 15, individuals can sign up for a health insurance plan. Let’s say, however, that they have experienced a life event that qualifies, such as getting married, having a child, or losing their former insurance. In that case, they can still obtain coverage even after this period. About two to six weeks after enrollment, coverage starts.


The most affordable health insurance is available to US citizens and permanent residents 65 and over through Medicare, another government-funded program. Younger persons with specific disabilities and those with end-stage renal disease (ESRD), or persistent kidney failure requiring dialysis or a transplant, can also participate in the program.

There are four components to Medicare:

  • Medicare Part A (hospital insurance): This provides coverage for some home health services and inpatient hospital stays, care in skilled nursing facilities, and hospice care.
  • Medicare Part B (medical insurance): This covers some outpatient treatment, medical supplies, and preventative services in addition to some doctor services.
  • Medicare Part C, often known as the Medicare Advantage Plan, combines Parts A and B benefits and services into a single plan.
  • Medicare Part D (prescription drug coverage): This program assists in defraying the expense of prescription drugs, including the majority of highly advised jabs or vaccinations.

While the last two are available through commercial insurance companies, the government provides the first two.

Temporary health insurance programs

The benefits of short-term health insurance plans are less extensive than those of policies available on the open market because they are created to bridge temporary coverage gaps and offer protection for up to one year. Additionally, cancellation of short-term programs is free of charge and without incurring any penalties.

The features, coverage restrictions, exclusions, and costs vary greatly depending on the health insurance provider because the government does not govern them. Physician visits, emergency treatment, and preventative care are frequently included. Some policies might also cover prescription medicines. Medical issues that already exist are not covered.

Additionally, applicants can be asked to submit a medical questionnaire to help the insurance provider decide whether or not to approve them for coverage.

Occupational Health Plan

As part of the employee’s perks and pay package, many firms in the US subsidize health insurance for their staff members and their families.

Health insurance is a benefit frequently provided to full-time workers at large corporations but less frequently provided to part-timers and small enterprises.

Who is eligible?

If you land a job with health insurance perks, your employer might only provide one health plan. They may also provide you with choices so you may select the one that is most appropriate for your needs and budget.

There isn’t much time left to sign up for your employer’s health insurance. You will need to wait until the subsequent open enrollment period if you don’t enroll before the deadline. The dates change from business to employer since employers determine their open enrollment periods.

Before your coverage starts, there may be a brief waiting period of 30 to 90 days. The ACA limits the waiting period to 90 days, although other businesses don’t have one at all. Pre-existing conditions are immediately covered once the coverage is in place; there is no additional waiting time.

Spousal health insurance

You might be qualified for the same coverage if your spouse gets employer-provided health insurance. Most firms provide their employees’ spouses, kids, and stepkids with job-based health care.

How to Obtain Coverage?

When your spouse starts a job, you can enroll in this coverage during the initial enrollment period.

If you don’t take advantage of this chance, you’ll have another one during each employer-provided yearly open enrollment period.

You can enroll in your spouse’s plan if a qualifying event occurs, such as losing your health insurance or having a child.

Parents’ Health Insurance Plan

You might be eligible for coverage if you’re younger than 26 and your parent has a particular health insurance plan.

If your parent has any of the following:

  • An individual market plan bought either on or off the exchange
  • An old-fashioned or grandfathered plan
  • A job-based insurance policy that covers dependents

Even if you are married, living alone, or not a tax dependent of your parents, you are still eligible for coverage.

Obtaining Coverage

To be added to your parent’s health insurance coverage, you might have to wait until the upcoming open enrollment period.

However, suppose you meet the conditions of the health plan for a special enrollment period, and you recently lost other comprehensive health insurance coverage. In that case, you might be permitted to enroll before open enrollment.


In the United States, there are numerous options to obtain subsidized health insurance. Most Medicaid plans are among the free ones. When an employer or the government provides subsidies to pay the whole cost of coverage, some employer-sponsored plans, and market-based policies may also be inexpensive.

Smaller premiums apply to other programs. For instance, many health plans are purchased outside of the marketplace, and the majority of employer-sponsored plans are more expensive.

Additionally, non-ACA-compliant plans have lower premiums but worse-quality features, such as short-term medical insurance. These are typically a “last resort” for coverage and are not appropriate for everyone.

Frequently asked questions

What services are covered under Medicaid?

Each state offers a different set of Medicaid benefits. But every state offers thorough protection. Check out the services Medicaid provides across all states.

What is the minimum income to be eligible for Medicaid?

You can be eligible if your state has extended Medicaid based only on your income. If your state hasn’t expanded Medicaid, you might be qualified based on the rules in place right now. These differ from state to state and may consider age, disability, household size, pregnancy, and caring for small children.

What if I am qualified for Medicaid but prefer to purchase a policy through the marketplace?

Medicaid costs less than an insurance plan from the marketplace, which often does not provide any additional coverage or benefits. Medicaid eligibility disqualifies you from Marketplace insurance discounts. A plan would cost you the entire fee.

What if I currently have Medicaid but only receive a few benefits?

Certain restricted forms of Medicaid coverage only cover:

  • Family Preparation
  • Medicaid Emergency Care
  • Services for tuberculosis
  • Hospital outpatient services
  • Coronavirus disease testing in 2019 (COVID-19)

If your Medicaid coverage is restricted, you can apply through the Health Insurance Marketplace to see if you are eligible for comprehensive coverage via Medicaid or a Marketplace insurance plan with discounts based on your income.

What Medicaid guidelines apply to former foster children?

All states shall provide Medicaid coverage to former foster children until age 26 so long as at least one of the following options is true.

  • When they turned 18, they began receiving Medicaid benefits while they were in the foster care system.
  • They left the foster care system when they turned 18 or older and had Medicaid coverage.

It should be noted that if the foster child relocates, the Medicaid program in the new state might not offer coverage. For further information, contact the Medicaid office in your state.

What if my application for Medicaid or CHIP was denied?

Instead, you might be able to purchase a private health insurance plan on the marketplace. Depending on your income, you might be eligible for a premium tax credit and savings on other costs. Most people can locate plans for $75 or less on a monthly basis.

If your state’s CHIP or Medicaid agency determines that you are ineligible

  • You’ll receive a notice outlining the decision if your state agency determines that a household member is ineligible.
  • The state will often send your data to the marketplace. The marketplace will notify you with instructions on how to apply for a private insurance plan. The information you provided to the state agency will already be pre-filled in the application.

If your state hasn’t increased Medicaid eligibility

  • You may have fewer options for coverage if your state hasn’t expanded Medicaid and your state agency says you aren’t qualified under its present regulations. Depending on your income, you might not be eligible for discounts on a private insurance plan.

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