Series for seniors: Part 15 ways to get health insurance

SENIORS who are 65 and older have 5 ways of getting health insurance. What are they? Employerbased insurance, Covered CA, outside of Covered CA (also known as Off Exchange), MediCal and Medicare solutions.

Employer-based insurance is an employer offered health plan available to employees and their dependents. If a senior has one like this, the coverage of which is as good as what Medicare offers, and he is comfortable with the premiums and medical cost sharing, he does not need to explore the other ways.

The Covered CA way is available to seniors who have legal presence for less than five (5) years and whose income is more than 138% of the Federal poverty level but still qualified for government subsidy towards their insurance premium.

The Off Exchange way is available to seniors who have been here for less than five (5) years and have Social Security or TIN number. This is the counterpart of Covered CA for seniors who are not qualified for government subsidy, or do not want government subsidy.

MediCal, Mediaid in California, is health insurance program for people including seniors with very limited resources. There are different kinds of MediCal, each offering different benefits. Recently, MediCal is moving into Managed Care plans, whereas beneficiaries can only see providers within a limited network.

Lastly, Medicare is the most common way seniors get their health insurance. It is available to seniors who have legal presence here for five (5) years or more. The 2 main parts of Medicare are Part A for inpatient services and Part B for medical services. Having only these 2 main parts are incomplete.

Aside from these 5 ways, senior veterans may continue to keep their VA benefits or certain military retirees may have TRICARE as their health insurance.

More articles in the upcoming weeks will talk more Medicare and its related programs.

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If you have more questions regarding the enrollment periods or other insurance questions, feel free to ask the author for answers. A good telephone number to reach him is 855-955-1800. You can also check out

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