Texas teacher Sabrina Drude was getting ready for the new school year by buying some supplies at Walmart. Her shopping cart filled with hundreds of notebooks, pencils, and markers, she was anticipating some annoyed fellow shoppers as she made her way to the checkout line. What she got instead left her in tears.
As she began to check out, a man behind her in line, Lester Brown, started asking her some questions. Noticing that she didn’t have any children with her, he was curious as to why she would need so many school supplies.
Sabrina explained that she is a teacher at a middle school in a very low socioeconomic area in San Antonio and many of her students can’t afford the supplies they need, so she was purchasing the necessities for them.Lester was so touched by what Sabrina was doing for her students that he offered to pay for everything in her cart. She thanked him but said she couldn’t accept his money.
As the $97 total came up on the cash register, though, Lester jumped between Sabrina and the cashier with money in hand.
“Put your wallet away,” he told Sabrina.
“I just started crying,” Sabrina said later. “That’s the sweetest thing I’ve ever heard.”
When Sabrina asked Lester why he wanted to pay for the supplies, he told her, “Because teachers don’t get the recognition that they deserve.”
To find out if your kids qualify for CHIP, go to the Medicaid CHIP website and answer the questions under “Can I Get It?”.
Throughout the year, many teachers spend quite a bit of their own money for the benefit of the students in their classes. Though they receive a $250 tax deduction, Sabrina said that doesn’t even put a dent into what they put into their classrooms.
As the school year begins, Sabrina plans to tell her class about Lester’s kind deed.
“This is exactly the type of person I want to influence my kids to be,” she said, adding that she plans to invite Lester to a class pizza party. “I want him to inspire my kids just like he inspired me; if any of my kids grew up to be half the man he is I’d be very proud.”
- Understand your alternatives to buying individual health insurance
The cheapest purchase you’ll ever make is the one you don’t make. It’s entirely possible that you don’t have to buy individual health insurance at all. Depending on which state you live in and what your income is, you might qualify for Medicaid. You can contact your nearest Medicaid office, or go to Healthcare.gov to determine if you’re eligible (see step three below for the latter route).
If you have children, there are a couple of avenues to explore. First, many states have expanded coverage for children through the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). To find out if your kids qualify for CHIP, go to the Medicaid CHIP website and answer the questions under “Can I Get It?”.
Second, check to see if your children might be eligible under their other parent’s coverage. Even if you’re divorced, if your former spouse has employer-provided health insurance, your children could possibly be included under their coverage.
- Know what you need and can afford
Assuming that step one doesn’t apply to you, the most important step in finding cheap health insurance is to determine exactly what you need in terms of coverage and what you can afford. If you buy more coverage than you need, you’ll spend more than you need to. And as to knowing what you can afford, you can’t spend money that you don’t have.
Under the Affordable Care Act, every individual health insurance plan must cover 10 essential health benefits. These benefits are:
- Outpatient care (doesn’t require admission to a hospital)
- Emergency room visits
- Inpatient care in a hospital
- Care before and after your baby is born
- Mental health and substance use disorder services
- Prescription drugs
- Services/devices to help you recover from an injury or deal with a disability or chronic condition (including physical and occupational therapy)
- Lab tests
- Preventive services
- Dental care and vision care for kids
While that might seem like a pretty comprehensive list, different health insurers can vary on exactly how they cover these benefits. Think through any specific needs you might have.
- Go to Healthcare.gov
Perhaps the easiest step of all is to go to the Healthcare.gov websiteand complete an application. It’s easy, that is, if you’re doing so during an open enrollment period (the next one starts on Nov. 1) or if you have a qualifying life change. These life changes include getting married, having a baby, or losing other coverage. The website, by the way, will help you find out if you have had a life change that qualifies.