TABLE OF CONTENTS
Alabama has several affordable health insurance options. You can enroll in your employer’s plan or sign up for Medicare or Medicaid (if you qualify). There are government-funded health plans for children, direct plans from insurance companies, or you could use the Health Insurance Marketplace for Affordable Care Act options.
This guide explains your Alabama affordable health insurance options in detail.
Enroll in the Alabama Health Insurance Marketplace using the federal government’s HealthCare.gov platform. This platform walks you through the entire enrollment process with easy-to-follow instructions. If you can’t sign up online, contact the marketplace call center at 800-318-2596 for assistance.
To create an online account, enter your name and email address, then confirm your email address. Log in to your new account to complete your enrollment application. You must enter all required information, including:
Once you’ve finished your application, the system tells you whether you qualify for financial assistance with your premium and the amount of your premium tax credit if applicable. Compare your health insurance plan options and choose the best option for your situation to complete your enrollment.
The following insurance companies offer health insurance plans to Alabama residents on the marketplace:
Individual health insurance providers and the plans offered cover single adults and families, so your options are the same for either situation. Coverage for individuals and families is identical, but monthly premiums and deductibles are typically higher for families. Be sure you understand the basics before purchasing health insurance for yourself or your family. There are some important considerations when shopping for individual coverage, whether for yourself or multiple people. These considerations include:
Before shopping for individual health insurance plans in Alabama, calculate your monthly income to create a reasonable budget to cover your personal health insurance needs. For most plans, the monthly premium isn’t your only out-of-pocket cost. You also have to think about the deductible, the copay for each service, and the coinsurance requirements.
There are different types of plans you can choose from:
All plans sold through the Health Insurance Marketplace must cover a minimum set of essential health benefits (EHBs). Plans sold off the Health Insurance Marketplace should cover these benefits as well, but there are some exceptions, such as short-term plans. EHBs include:
Alabama also has a few state-mandated benefits.
To learn more about a plan’s benefits and level of coverage, read the Summary of Benefits and Coverage. All health insurance plans (except short-term and limited benefit plans) must provide this document, which details what is and isn’t covered. It also provides information on the out-of-pocket expenses you can expect, including deductibles, copays, and coinsurance. These documents are available on the marketplace, which allows you to compare plans based on premiums, benefits, provider networks, and other factors.
Searching for affordable health insurance plans for families in Alabama is a little more complicated than for individuals. Your insurance provider choices and most plan options are the same. However, you need to think about how each person might use the plan. A spouse may need maternity care or fertility services, while a child might need to be covered for a tonsillectomy or other common childhood procedure.
Review the plan details carefully to make sure the services you need are covered. If someone in your family receives specialty care, you should also check to make sure the specialist participates in the plan’s network.
You also need your household’s income to figure your budget for the best health insurance coverage you can afford. Even if a household member isn’t enrolling in your plan, you still need their income information to see if your family qualifies for help with insurance premiums. HealthCare.gov offers other suggestions on how to enroll in the Marketplace.
Each health insurance plan has a premium you pay each month to keep your policy active. You may also have a deductible (the amount you pay before your insurance begins paying out for certain services) and copays or coinsurance (the shared cost when you receive health care services). These amounts vary between plans and by metal level. Health insurance plans in Alabama are organized into four levels: Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum.
Premiums were falling in many areas of the country in 2021, but not in Alabama. The average lowest premium for Bronze and Gold plans went up for the third consecutive year, while the average for Silver plans dropped in 2019 but rose in 2020, 2021, and 2022. Since 2018, the average lowest premium for Gold plans has seen the largest increase at $114, followed by Bronze plans at $64 and Silver plans at $53.
|Average premium in Alabama||2020||2021||2022||2023|
|Most affordable Bronze plan||$384||$401||$418||$408|
|Most affordable Silver plan||$521||$549||$569||$553|
|Most affordable Gold plan||$641||$669||$697||$687|
Over one million residents qualified for Alabama Medicaid in 2020 through various programs offered to children, pregnant women, families, the elderly, and disabled individuals. Alabama also offers ALL Kids, a program specifically for low-income children, and ALL Babies for pregnant women in certain areas of the state.
Alabama Medicaid programs have set age requirements, income limits, participant populations, and other qualifying factors. Adults who aren’t elderly and don’t have minor children won’t qualify for Medicaid, no matter their income. To be eligible, you must be a low-income resident who meets at least one of the following criteria:
Apply for Alabama Medicaid online (or through the Alabama Medicaid Agency at 334-242-5000) at any time of the year. The Health Insurance Marketplace also assesses your Medicaid eligibility and makes a referral to the Alabama Medicaid Agency if appropriate.
ALL Kids is Alabama’s Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) administered by the Alabama Department of Public Health. This program provides low-cost, comprehensive health care coverage to children under age 19 based on income limits. To meet eligibility requirements, your child must:
ALL Babies is Alabama’s low-cost, comprehensive health care coverage program developed by CHIP for pregnant women living in Macon, Montgomery, or Russell counties. Your family size and income determine whether you’re eligible for ALL Babies or Alabama Pregnancy Medicaid. Apply online or through the mail and call 888-373-5437 if you need help filling out your application.
Alabama residents aged 65 or older (and those under age 65 with qualifying disabilities) have several Medicare options available.
If you choose Original Medicare, you can also purchase supplemental plans to extend your coverage. Medicare Part D covers prescription medications, while Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap) covers deductibles, copays, and other out-of-pocket Medicare costs. If you have questions about Medicare, contact your local Area Agency on Aging.
Alabama Medicaid offers three Medicare Savings Programs to low-income individuals or couples. To qualify, you must be:
Alabama’s Qualified Medicare Beneficiary Program pays your Medicare Part B premium, Medicare Part A premium under certain conditions, and Medicare deductible. Its Specified Low Income Medicare Beneficiary Program and Qualified Individual-1 Program pay your Medicare Part B premium only. Apply online or request an application by calling 800-362-1504 and mail your completed application to the District Office that serves your county.
To qualify for Medicare, you must be at least 65 years old or have a qualifying disability. In most cases, a qualifying disability is a condition that makes you eligible for at least 24 months’ worth of payments from the Social Security Disability Insurance program. You may be able to qualify sooner if you have end-stage renal disease or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s disease).
If you start receiving your Social Security or Railroad Retirement Board benefits at least four months before you turn 65, you’ll be automatically enrolled in Medicare. Otherwise, you must fill out an application online or contact your local Social Security office. You can enroll in Medicare during the following periods:
If you need help signing up for Medicare, Medicare Advantage, Medigap, or prescription drug coverage, call 800-243-5463 to find your local Alabama State Health Insurance Assistance Program office. Trained counselors are available to help you with all your Medicare questions for free.
Short-term, limited-duration plans help fill temporary gaps in your health insurance coverage, such as when you’re between jobs or waiting for Medicare coverage to start. Short-term health insurance plans in Alabama are often cheap health insurance, but these plans aren’t required to cover essential health benefits, even though they’re considered to be major medical coverage.
These plans are often medically underwritten, so if you have a health condition, you could be turned down for coverage or charged a higher premium. Short-term plans aren’t the same as the plans you purchase on the Health Insurance Marketplace that must cover all essential health benefits.
No, Alabama isn’t one of the states that require health insurance.
No, you can purchase the same types of health insurance plans you find on the Health Insurance Marketplace from individual insurance companies. However, you won’t qualify for premium tax credits or cost-sharing assistance if you purchase your plan off the marketplace.
Alabama has several faith-based health care sharing plans available. Members sare medical expenses rather than paying monthly premiums to an insurance company. You don’t need to be a member of a particular denomination (or even religious), to participate in a plan. Health care sharing plans are cheaper than traditional health insurance, but aren’t required to cover pre-existing conditions, so these plans typically aren’t a good idea unless you’re in good health.
Short-term disability coverage covers non-medical expenses like lost wages for three to six months if you’re hurt or develop an illness outside of work. Your health insurance only covers medical expenses, so it’s a nice complement to this coverage.
Long-term disability coverage covers non-medical expenses your health insurance wouldn’t. LTD plans generally cover lost wages and other expenses and benefits can last for years or until retirement age. Your employer may offer LTD coverage or you can purchase a policy from an insurance company.
ALL Kids coverage includes doctor visits, hospital care, emergency services, immunizations, prescriptions, mental health and substance abuse services, and dental and vision care for children younger than 19.
ALL Babies coverage includes maternity care, doctor visits, emergency services, prescriptions, immunizations, mental health and substance abuse services, and dental and vision care for pregnant women living in Macon, Montgomery, and Russell counties only.