A police officer pulls over a speeding car. The officer says, I clocked you at 80 miles per hour, sir.” The driver says, “Gee, officer I had it on cruise control at 60, perhaps your radar gun needs calibrating.”
Not looking up from her knitting the wife says: “Now don’t be silly, dear, you know that this car doesn’t have cruise control.”
As the officer writes out the ticket, the driver looks over at his wife and growls, “Can’t you please keep your mouth shut for once?”
The wife smiles demurely and says, “You should be thankful your radar detector went off when it did.”
As the officer makes out the second ticket for the illegal radar detector unit, the man glowers at his wife and says through clenched teeth, “Darn it, woman, can’t you keep your mouth shut?”
The officer frowns and says, “And I notice that you’re not wearing your seat belt, sir. That’s an automatic $75 fine.”
The driver says, “Yeah, well, you see officer, I had it on, but took it off when you pulled me over so that I could get my license out of my back pocket.”
The wife says, “Now, dear, you know very well that you didn’t have your seat belt on. You never wear your seat belt when you’re driving.”
And as the police officer is writing out the third ticket the driver turns to his wife and barks, “WHY DON’T YOU PLEASE SHUT UP??”
The officer looks over at the woman and asks, “Does your husband always talk to you this way, Ma’am?”
“Only when he’s been drinking.”
- 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.