Enhance Health

What To Do If You Can’t Afford Health Insurance & Don’t Qualify For A Subsidy

Understanding the ins and outs of health insurance is important to safeguard your health and well-being. Despite this, many people find themselves in situations where they can’t afford health insurance coverage or don’t qualify for subsidies. So what do you do if this is the case?

In this article, we’ll explore the high costs of being uninsured, the many benefits of health insurance, and how Enhance Health can help you find affordable coverage, even with low or no income. 

What Subsidies Are Available For Health Care?

There are a few different subsidies available for health care that you should be aware of. These are part of the ACA, or the Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare). The most important subsidies are: 

Tax Credit

A tax credit is a financial incentive the government provides to make getting insurance easier. Premium tax credits are available to individuals and families with low to moderate incomes who purchase health insurance through the Health Insurance Marketplace.

To get the tax credit for health insurance, people and families must have a certain income. They also can’t be eligible for other public health programs such as Medicaid or Medicare. 

If they meet these requirements, the government provides the tax credit as a subsidy that can be applied directly to their health insurance premiums.

In the context of healthcare, there are two primary types of tax credits related to health insurance:

  • Premium Tax Credits: Premium tax credits are a key component of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). They are designed to help individuals and families with low to moderate incomes afford health insurance coverage.
  • Child Tax Credit (CTC): The Child Tax Credit is not specific to healthcare but is worth mentioning as it can indirectly impact a family’s ability to afford health insurance.

These types of subsidies have been instrumental in making health insurance more affordable for millions of Americans, especially those with lower incomes.

Cost-Sharing Reductions (CSR)

Cost-sharing reductions are a type of financial assistance that is available to those with lower incomes. 

The CSR program provides subsidies to reduce out-of-pocket costs such as deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance. The cost-sharing reduction is based on the individual’s or family’s income and is designed to benefit those with the lowest incomes.

To qualify for CSRs, you must enroll in a specific health insurance plan through the Marketplace. These plans offer enhanced benefits, reducing the overall cost of healthcare services for eligible individuals and families.

Who Does Not Qualify For Subsidies? 

While many people qualify for subsidies, some may not be eligible for these financial assistance programs. These include:

  • High-income earners may not be eligible for these subsidies. The exact income limits vary each year and depend on your household size.
  • Undocumented immigrants are not usually eligible for subsidies because they do not have legal status in the U.S.
  • You may not be eligible if you can access health insurance coverage through your employer or your spouse’s employer. 
  • Those eligible for some other government programs that provide healthcare coverage may not be eligible. 

Alternative Health Insurance Options 

Alternative health insurance options can be considered when traditional health insurance plans are not feasible or affordable for certain individuals or families. These alternatives may offer lower premiums but sometimes come with trade-offs, such as higher deductibles or limited coverage. 

Get Short-Term Health Insurance 

Short-term plans are designed to provide temporary coverage for those in transition periods. For example, those between jobs or waiting for other coverage to begin. 

These plans offer limited benefits and shorter durations, usually less than 12 months. They may also not be available to those with pre-existing conditions. 

Choose A Higher Deductible Plan

High deductible health plans (HDHPs) are an alternative option that offers lower monthly premiums but higher deductibles. The deductible is the amount you must pay out-of-pocket before the insurance starts covering medical expenses. 

HDHPs are often paired with Health Savings Accounts (HSAs), which allow you to save pre-tax money to cover qualified medical expenses. HDHPs can be a good choice for relatively healthy individuals who don’t expect to use many healthcare services but still want financial protection in case of major medical events.

Fixed Indemnity Insurance

Fixed indemnity insurance, or fee-for-service insurance, pays a fixed amount for specific healthcare services or events. These plans don’t usually have a network of providers, so you can see any doctor or specialist of your choice.

However, they may have limitations on how much they will pay for each service, and you may still be responsible for the remaining costs. Fixed indemnity plans are typically less expensive than comprehensive health insurance but may offer limited coverage.

Catastrophic Coverage As Health Insurance

Catastrophic health insurance plans are designed for individuals under 30 or those who qualify for a hardship exemption. These plans offer very low monthly premiums but come with high deductibles. 

They provide coverage for essential health benefits after you meet your deductible. Catastrophic plans are primarily intended to protect you from significant medical expenses in the event of a serious illness or injury.

Can I Get Cheap Medical Care Without Insurance?

It is possible to access some levels of medical care on a cheap basis without insurance, but it’s not easy. Insurance provides a protective net far more comprehensive and, more often than not, far more affordable than going without insurance. 

Some options, like telemedicine services, community health clinics, and local health departments, can offer certain medical services. But while these options may help you access basic medical care at a lower cost, it’s important to recognize their limitations. Without comprehensive health insurance, you may face financial challenges in the event of a major illness or injury. 

Find Affordable Health Insurance 

While it is possible to access some healthcare services without insurance, having health insurance is crucial for comprehensive and affordable medical care. Here are some steps to finding affordable health insurance:

  • One of the best ways to find affordable health insurance that meets your needs is to contact Enhance Health. We help you compare plans and prices and guide you through the whole process. We help you save time, money, and effort by finding the best health insurance plan for your needs without breaking the bank.
  • If your income is limited, you may be eligible for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) in your state. You’ll want to check out these options, as these programs offer low-cost or free health coverage for those who qualify.
  • If your employer offers health insurance benefits, review your options. Often, employer-sponsored plans provide more affordable group coverage.
  • If you’re under 30 or qualify for a hardship exemption, catastrophic health insurance may be an option. It provides essential coverage with lower premiums and higher deductibles. 
  • Short-term plans can offer temporary coverage for specific periods. Still, you must remember that they may not cover pre-existing conditions or offer the comprehensive benefits of other plans. 


Getting health insurance has become more accessible for millions of people through the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The ACA offers tax credits and cost-sharing reductions to help cover health insurance costs. 

However, not everyone will be eligible for these subsidies. High-income earners, undocumented immigrants, and people with access to employer-based insurance may not qualify. 

If you are among those who don’t qualify for subsidies, you might want to consider short-term health insurance, higher deductible plans, fixed indemnity insurance, or catastrophic coverage. 

Need help evaluating your options and finding affordable health insurance? Get in touch with us today.  At Enhance Health, we believe that your health is important, and we are committed to helping everyone find suitable health insurance options, regardless of their income.

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