When You’re on a Budget and Looking for Health Insurance, HealthCompare Can Help

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Nearly everyone recognizes the benefit of health insurance – having protection in the event of an accident or illness – but not everybody is sure where they can find affordable health insurance.

Cost is an important consideration, but something new to consider is the 2014 “individual mandate” for health insurance that is part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The coverage mandate applies to most U.S. citizens except undocumented aliens, individuals with a hardship, residents who cannot afford coverage (defined as those with a premium exceeding 8% of household income), anyone with an income below the tax-filing threshold, incarcerated individuals, those with a religious exemption, and Indian tribe members.

Individuals without minimum essential health insurance face a potential first-year penalty of the greater of $95 or 1% of their family income, with penalties reaching up to 2.5% of family income in 2016 and thereafter.

Even allowing for exceptions, millions of Americans could face a penalty. So the question becomes, “How do I find affordable health coverage that complies with the ACA?”

If you need to shop for an individual or family plan that’s ACA compliant, you can get help sorting through all of your plan options – and identifying plans at or above the required “Bronze” level of coverage – by using an insurance plan and quote comparison site like .

By providing basic information – like your ZIP Code, age, tobacco use, and student status – you can compare dozens of plans in your area. (A recent comparison for a Kansas City, Missouri, family resulted in information for 158 plans.) And Health lets you sort your results by deductible, premium, or carrier, so it’s easy to find the plan best suited to your individual needs.

Health is among the first organizations awarded a Web Broker Entity Agreement by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), which plays a major role in ACA compliance. So, in addition to presenting you with information on commercial plans available, you can use Healthto view information on plans offered through the federally facilitated exchanges.

The individual mandate takes effect in 2014, so now’s a good time to search for health coverage that satisfies the ACA requirement and is a good match for your health needs and your budget.

helps individuals, families, and those eligible for Medicare easily research, compare, buy, and enroll in the right health insurance plan at the right price. Through the Health.com and Joppel.com websites, consumers have easy access to side-by-side plan comparisons for hundreds of individual and family plans and Medicare Advantage (Part C), Medicare Supplement (Medigap), and Prescription Drug Program (Part D) plans from insurers nationwide. Health is part of The Word & Brown Companies, which provide insurance services through more than 50,000 brokers to hundreds of thousands of consumers and approximately 60,000 employers with nearly 6.5 million eligible employees.

For more information, visit .