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Most health care in the United States is paid for through health insurance.
Health insurance is for an individual or family. When covered by an insurance policy, the policy owner regularly pays a designated amount, or premium, to a health insurance company. In return, the insurer agrees to pay a pre-arranged portion of the cost when health care is needed.
While every insurance plan is different, most health plans have three main parts: benefits, networks, and costs.
An individual or family may be covered through a private or public insurance program.
Private health insurance may be purchased individually or through an employer.
Health insurance may be bought directly from the insurer or through state and federally operated health insurance marketplaces. The cost and number of plans available vary from state to state. Find additional details on the marketplace by state.
Employer-based coverage – Health insurance may be paid for or partly paid for by an employer. Typically, an employer will provide multiple plan options. There are 4 different types of health insurance plans.
Two primary types of public insurance programs cover families and children.
Medicaid is a government health insurance program for people with low incomes. It covers children, elderly, disabled and other eligible people who receive federal income payments.
CHIP provides low-cost health insurance coverage to children in families that earn too much money to qualify for Medicaid.
Reviewed: June 2018