Health Insurance

There's nothing more important than your health, and having health insurance can prevent a medical emergency from turning into a financial one. Learn about the various types of health insurance, from HMOs to PPOs, and how to find coverage. Plus, keep up with the latest changes to health care laws, rules, and regulations.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How much is health insurance per month?

    According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average American spent $3,667 on health insurance in 2020, or just over $300 per month. That’s up almost 4% relative to 2019. The amount you spend depends on the plan you select, if you get help paying for coverage (through your employer or premium tax credits), your location, your gender, how many people you enroll in your plan, and more.

  • How do you get health insurance without a job?

    You can apply for coverage at your state’s health insurance marketplace, or healthcare.gov if your state doesn’t have one. Or, you may be able to join your spouse’s plan or extend your own coverage via COBRA if you just lost health insurance through work. You also may qualify for Medicaid if you’re not earning an income—apply through your state’s Medicaid agency or healthcare.gov.

  • What is the cheapest health insurance?

    Coverage through either Medicaid or the Health Insurance Marketplace can be low-cost or free—if you qualify.  Low income families and individuals may be eligible for Medicaid, and most people qualify for Marketplace coverage as long as they’re not on Medicare. If you’re not eligible for Medicaid, you may still qualify for “premium tax credit subsidies” to offset (or pay for) your Marketplace plan.

  • What is a PPO?

    A preferred provider organization (PPO) is a type of health plan that contracts with doctors and other care providers to provide member services. You can use out-of-network doctors, but you won’t benefit from negotiated in-network discounts and will pay a higher rate. This type of plan is generally more flexible than an HMO.

  • What is a health insurance premium?

    Your premium is how much you pay - often monthly - to an insurance company for your health insurance coverage. The amount depends on a number of factors, such as the type of plan you have (HMO, PPO, POS, and EPO) and if you have coverage through work, through the Marketplace, or through another organization, and if your premiums are subsidized (by your employer, for example, or by the government).

  • What is the Health Insurance Marketplace?

    The Health Insurance Marketplace, or “The Marketplace,” is a health insurance exchange that was created as a result of the Affordable Care Act to make it easier to shop and compare health care plans. The Marketplace is at healthcare.gov, but some states run their own exchanges. You can apply to see if you qualify for savings on monthly premiums or if you qualify for Medicaid or CHIP.

  • How long can a child stay on a parent’s health insurance?

    Children can stay on a parent’s health insurance until they turn 26, but may be covered through the end of the year in which they turn 26 (check with your employer). Once coverage ends, adult children have options: They may be able to enroll in their own or a spouse’s employer’s plan, continue on their parent’s plan through COBRA, or purchase a plan through the Health Insurance Marketplace.

Key Terms

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Page Sources

  1. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. "Consumer Expenditures—2020."

  2. HealthCare.gov. "How to Get or Stay on a Parent’s Plan."

  3. HealthCare.gov. "High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP)."