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low cost health insurance
OnlineNavigator insurance enrollment supportNeed help?

We make it easy to get friendly, personal and independent help with health care reform questions with fast and free online support through OnlineNavigator.orgTM as well as live sales agent support at (800) 609-0683. OnlineNavigator is an independent adviser service not acting as agent for any qualified health insurance marketplace and is not affiliated with any federal or state program.


Covering the Gaps in Obamacare

AUIC Deductible Supplement Insurance - three defined dollar benefit levels to add protection for unexpected hospital bills and other medical expenses left uncovered by primary insurance
AUIC Qualified Health Plan Supplement Insurance - no need to fear the out-of-pocket cost of doctor visits, hospital charges and other expenses left by primary medical coverage.
Core Health Insurance - the nation's most popular defined benefit health plans with guaranteed acceptance from US Fire Insurance Company
Health insurance resources for diabetics in Alabama - a listing of the health plan options and other resources

Most Affordable Supplemental Coverage

Value Med Insurance - 3 question simple medical eligibility and immediate approval for supplemental doctor and hospital benefits

Primary Individual Major Medical Through a Private Exchange

Members Health Insurance Exchange allows you to price and choose from among many of the nations leading major medical health insurance options from a wide range of carriers. Personal help is available through OnlineNavigator to help with your selection.

Group Insurance

Small group coverage is now available through the SHOP exchange at Healthcare.gov

Dental and Vision Insurance

Core Dental Insurance - preventive, basic, and major dental expenses with the dentist of your choice. Shortest waiting period.
Secure DentalOne - one lifetime deductible of $100 and then up to $1,250 per year coverage
Dental, Vision and Hearing Insurance - no deductible option, use any dentist, ophthalmologist, optometrist, physician or audiologist, no networks!

Online Life Insurance

International Term Life - up to $2 million coverage issued by Lloyds online specifically for those who spend time outside of the US

Critical Illness and Cancer Insurance

Consumers Direct Critical Illness Insurance - Secure UpgradeSM $10,000 lump sum supplemental coverage for cancer, stroke or health disease for as little as $25 per month.

Accident Supplemental Accident Insurance

Value 24 Hour Accident - up to $10,000 of supplemental health insurance coverage for emergency treatment of injuries at a cost of about $2 per day. Can be used as a stand-alone coverage or added to other insurance.
Consumers Direct Accident Medical - Protection UpgradeSM supplemental coverage for as little as $20 per month.
Smart Accident Insurance - supplemental coverage for emergency treatment of accidents and injuries for as little as $20 per month. Can be used as a stand-alone accident plan or to increase other insurance benefits.

Alabama health insurance news

by Tony Novak, CPA, MBA, MT    last updated: December 20, 2014

Prior to implementation of the Affordable Care Act, Alabama had 35 commercial health insurance companies that issued individual coverage and 7 companies that issued small group insurance as well as the state-sponsored health plans for low income or disabled residents. Fewer choices are available in the health insurance marketplace now.

The state insurance exchange is open now at Healthcare.gov for enrollment in coverage starting January 2015. Individuals without insurance should make arrangements for temporary coverage until then. Covered health benefits under insurance purchased through the exchange in 2015 will be different than those offered though any 2014 health plans. Premium rates are 5% to 8% higher than last year. The insurance plan that sets the benchmark for qualified coverage through the exchange is listed here and a list of state-mandated benefits can be found here. To preview plans, prices, covered benefits and physician and hospital networks in your area visit: https://www.healthcare.gov/find-premium-estimates/ For additional information: see Health Plan Choice, Premiums and Affordability in the 2015 Health Insurance Marketplace

Commercial insurance exchanges may also list less expensive insurance without the essential health benefits. Members Health Insurance Exchange handles pricing and direct online enrollment for many of the state's most popular commercial major medical insurance plans for individuals and families.

Since the passage of federal health insurance reform law, individuals and small businesses (with less than 50 employees) in Alabama can now purchase health insurance through the federal heath insurance clearinghouse or through a number of privately operated insurance exchanges.

Non-insurance options, like Health Savings Accounts (HSA), Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRA) and Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) can be added as effective cost-control tools; ask your adviser for more information.

The Alabama pre-existing condition insurance plan is no longer available.

This Web page lists the most popular low cost commercial health insurance plans and some related benefits.

Freedom Benefits offers personal assistance through OnlineNavigator.org with any insurance exchange or health reform issue. Your enrollment adviser is available to discuss suitability of any plan for your specific situation.

low cost health insurance

Alabama insurance and benefit pricing

Alabama had the 5th lowest health insurance costs of all states in 2008. (The average annual premium for a U.S. family covered under an employer-sponsored health plan in 2008 was $12,298 according to The Commonwealth Fund report. The overall quality of health care ranked 40th out of the 51 states (including DC).
The state has the 22nd lowest small business health insurance costs in the U.S. according to a 2010 Department of Health and Human Services report with an average premium of $940 per month for family coverage. Alabama has not elected to exand its Medicaid program as is encouraged by the Affordable Care Act. The
Alabama regulates the benefits required for both individual major medical and group health insurance plans, known as "mandated benefits". Alabama has 19 individual health insurance mandates that differentiate coverage from policies sold in other states. Mandates are laws that give a specific medical interest group coverage at little or no out-of-pocket expense that would not otherwise be the case under health insurance coverage.  

Short Term Medical Insurance

Markel Smart STM - popular and affordable short term major medical insurance with fast online approval
Secure STM - along with its 12 month and 36 month options, this may be the highest quality short term coverage
Secure Lite STM - the lowest priced major medical insurance for 1 to 12 months
Secure Saver STM - $2 million maximum coverage for 1-12 months at an ultra-low rate
health insurance planning

Immigrant Insurance

Inbound Immigrant - up to five years of liberal health insurance coverage after immigration including maternity coverage, emergency and other essential benefits
low cost health insurance

Alabama insurance law and regulation

The Alabama Department of Insurance Web site contains help sections for each type of insurance including a section on financially assisted health plans and Medicaid.  The Alabama high risk health insurance plan is no longer open for new enrollments. The Health Insurance reform Information Center was added as a new resouorce for residents.
The state insurance department can be reached by telephone at 334-269-3550 or by mail at P O Box 303351 Montgomery, AL 36130-3351. The state children's health insurance plan (CHIP) Web site is Alabama ALL Kids.

Small business plans

Freedom Benefits offers professional help with setup of self-administered Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRA), Premium Reimbursement Plans, Flexible Spending Accounts, Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) and insurance at a low price than any small business can afford.

Non-insurance Discount Plans

Careington PPO Discount Plans - the nation's leading network PPO discount provider allows a no-risk trial of any discount plan for only a $20 processing fee
Drug Card America - a free prescription drug card that an be used nationwide
Essential Dental Solutions - simple, inexpensive, no waiting period, up to $500 treatment per year
Rx Pay Card - $10, $20, or $30 payments for hundreds of popular prescriptions.

Telemedicine

CallMD - Doctors and nurses literally on call 24/7 to answer questions, help with medical screening and write prescriptions saving you money with the most common types of medical care. $20 per month covers everyone in the household.

International Coverage and Travel Insurance

Alabama Insurance News

12/20/2014 Health insurance for same sex couples: The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services affirmed that same-sex couples who are legally married in any of the states that currently authorize gay marriage, are entitled to the same coverage as straight couples. This rule holds despite the fact that the state of Alabama does not currently recognize same-sex marriages and has a ban on gay marriage written into the Alabama Constitution.

12/17/2014 Kaiser Family Foundation, a national authority on health care reform issues, predicted that health insurance rates in rural parts of Alabama will rise more than most other areas in the region. Rate increase vary by location and type of health plan. Insurance rates rose despite more choice and competition from the addition of UnitedHealthcare to last year's choices that include Humana and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama.

11/15/2014 The insurance exchange is open for 2015 enrollment. Alabama consumers can choose from an average of 17 health plans in their county for 2015 coverage—up from 6 in 2014. Premium rates are 3% higher, on average, compared to last year. More information at https://tonynovak.wordpress.com/2014/12/04/alabama-health-insurance-for-2015.

2/11/ 2014 Professional support for any health care reform issue is available free of charge through an arrangement with OnlineNavigator. All online inquiries are handled personally by Tony Novak, CPA. Online support is available through a number of popular social media channels including Facebook and Google+ as well as e-mail. Telephone support for insurance enrollment is available through Members Insurance Exchange at (800) 609-0683.

7/26/2013 Affordable Smart Term Life Insurance is now available to most Alabama residents from age 20 through 60 directly online with no physical exam, agent appointment or telephone verification. Most policies are issued on the same day with coverage amounts of $25,000 up to $350,000. The level premium life insurance is available for terms of 10, 15, 20 and 30 years. Sample rates for $150,000 coverage for a preferred risk male age 30, non-tobacco $30.85 per month; tobacco user $49.55 per month. A preferred risk female age 30 non-tobacco user would be $26.49 per month and a tobacco user would be $40.96 per month. Rates are higher for older applicants and lower health risks as described online. Pricing is based on input you provide about your medical history but, unlike most other life insurers, does not consider family medical history. Coverage is issued by innovative National Life Group, rated "A" by A.M. Best Company for 2013.

2/22/2013 This page was updated to include a link to the insurance plan that will be used to determine specific "essential health benefits" for insurance that qualified for 2014 federal tax purposes. Also, a link to additional covered benefits required by state law. Non-qualified insurance is likely to continue to be available at a lower cost that does not include these benefits nor qualify for federal tax purposes.

2/1/2012 The Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight, a division of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) reported that as of June 30, 2011 Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama is the state's largest health insurance provider and as such, earns the right to set the benchmark for the development of the state's essential benefit plans to debut in 2014 under health reform law.

11/7/2011 Alabama opened its Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) to the kids of low-income and part-time state employees, an option that was prohibited until the passage of the 2010 health-care law. The program is jointly financed by the state and the federal government to provide coverage to the uninsured children of families who earn too much to qualify for Medicaid but cannot afford private insurance.

7/10/2011  The U.S. Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight announced that Alabama lacks proper resources or authority in the individual or small-group health insurance market to effectively review large rate increases as required by federal law. The federal government will temporarily take over the task of reviewing both individual and small business health insurance rate increases that are greater than 10%.

2/12/2011 With dozens of health plans choices available online offering a wide range of pricing and benefits, how do you find the best combination of price and benefits? Celtic Insurance realizes that the choices can be overwhelming; the company offers more than 40 possible health plan designs in many parts of the United States. A new feature called "Help Me Choose" lets users easily and quickly select the benefits they value most and narrows the list down to a few of the best choices. No personal information is required other than zip code and date of birth.

2/7/2011 The state's pre-existing insurance plan monthly premium rates (per person):

Plan/Age Band

0-18

19-34

35-44

45-54

55+

Standard

$183

$274

$328

$419

$583

Extended

$246

$368

$442

$564

$785

HSA

$190

$284

$341

$436

$606

PCIP will cover a broad range of health benefits, including primary and specialty care, hospital care, and prescription drugs. All covered benefits are available for you, beginning on your coverage effective date, even if it’s to treat a pre-existing condition - there are no waiting periods. PCIP applicants who are approved to participate in PCIP can choose from three plan options, with different levels of premiums, calendar year deductibles, prescription deductibles and prescription copays. The HSA Option provides an opportunity to open a Health Savings Account, a tax-exempt account where you can deposit funds for eligible medical expenses. Each of the three PCIP plan options provides preventive care (paid at 100%, with no deductible) when you see an in-network doctor and the doctor indicates preventive diagnosis. Included are annual physicals, flu shots, routine mammograms and cancer screenings. For other care, you will pay a deductible before PCIP pays for your health care and prescriptions. After you pay the deductible, you will pay 20% of medical costs in-network. The maximum you will pay out-of-pocket for covered services in a calendar year is $5,950 in-network/$7,000 out-of-network. There is no lifetime maximum or cap on the amount the plan pays for your care. If you apply for PCIP coverage, you will be billed for the premium once your application is approved. You will need to send in your payment in order for your coverage to be effective. Please do not send in the premium before you are billed. Note that your premium may increase if you age into a higher rate tier, or if PCIP adjusts its premiums to any changes in the commercial market.

1/30/2011 Patients with health insurance and a credit card now have access to VIP treatment when care is needed at a hospital emergency room. Infirmary West in Mobile and Brookwood Medical Center in Birmingham joined the growing list of hospitals that allows patients to use InQuickER, a reservation system that books appointments and reduces waiting time in the emergency room. The reservation system makes check-in easier by recording your insurance and payment information in advance. The service costs $15 to $25. Of course the nature unpredictable medical emergencies mean that the service cannot absolutely guarantee that you'll be seen immediately at your appointment time, but you get a full refund if not treated within 15 minutes after arrival. The InQuickER service works in conjunction with any of the private health insurance plans listed here at FreedomBenefits.net but is not available to uninsured patients.

12/28/2010 The Alabama pre-existing condition insurance plan attracted only 33 Alabama residents this year despite the government-subsidized premium. This plan provides a health coverage option for consumers who have been uninsured for at least six months, have a pre-existing condition or have been denied health coverage because of their health condition, and are a U.S. citizen or are residing here legally. The plan is run be the federal government. The federal government pays most of the premium cost. The plan was initially criticized for excessive taxpayer costs but the overall lack of public interest in this insurance was not anticipated. 

12/18/2010 Alabama Department of Insurance officials met representatives of 44 other states and numerous employees of the federal Health and Human Services Department in Washington DC this week for a two-day working meeting to discuss the next steps in establish a government-run health insurance exchange under the American Health Benefit Exchange Model Act. Their attendance at this meeting was paid for by a $1 million federal grant awarded by HHS in September to the state for research how to set up an insurance exchange. Two states (Alaska and Minnesota) declined to participate, saying that it was a waste of taxpayer money. Four other states (not identified in press reports) that received federal grants did not send representatives to the meeting. Attendees included representatives of 16 states that are suing the federal government in an attempt to overturn the federal health reform law; specifically the requirement that forces individuals to buy health insurance on the insurance exchange or pay a hefty tax fine.

In its initial federal grant request for the insurance exchange project, Alabama said that it would: 1) assess the status of health insurance in Alabama as it relates to the uninsured, the underinsured and the currently insured to determine what the environment will look like in 2014, and what consumer demand for the Exchanges. 2) Determine the best governance structure for the exchange.  3)Incorporate a broad-based workgroup and working subgroups of interested stakeholders to assist the Department as it envisions an Alabama Exchange.  4)Seek appropriate legal and regulatory authority to establish an exchange.

The meeting reportedly did not address the role of the commercial health insurance exchanges on the implementation of new competing government systems. The model act does not address inter-state insurance exchange proposals nor insurance sales across state lines. Federal officials admitted that they may not be able to provide further guidance until 2012. Meanwhile, most states are motivated to continue to meet requirements to obtain additional funding promised by the federal government for the establishment of insurance exchange by 2014. Freedom Benefits has previously voiced the opinion that the huge amount of money being spent to set up alternate insurance sales system technologies could be better used providing health benefits to the public. We proposed on the Universal Health Insurance blog that adequate commercial insurance sales systems are already in place that could be modified in a public/private partnership to make health insurance more affordable.

3/23/2010 Alabama and ten other states including Florida, Michigan, Nebraska, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah and Washington will make a joint legal challenge to the federal health reform bill on the basis that it improperly usurps state sovereignty over health insurance and that requiring health insurance is an illegal and improper government action.


Alabama Department of Insurance Directory

Please report any updates or outdated information to onlineadviser@freedombenefits.net.

Mailing Address

 Department of Insurance, State of Alabama, P.O. Box 303351 Montgomery, Alabama 36130-3351

Street Address:

 201 Monroe Street, Suite 502 Montgomery, Alabama 36104

Phone Numbers:


Main (334) 269-3550
Accounting Division (334) 241-4107
Commissioner’s Office (334) 241-4101
Financial Division (334) 241-4151
Fire Marshal’s Office (334) 241-4166
Fraud Division (334) 241-4121
Information Technology Division (334) 241-4112
Legal Division (334) 241-4116
Consumer Services Division (334) 241-4141
Market Conduct Division (334) 241-4151
Preneed Division (334) 240-4420
Producer Licensing (334) 241-4126
Rates and Forms Division (334) 241-4145
Receivership Division (334) 240-7560
Toll-Free Number (In-state only) (800) 433-3966

Fax Numbers:

Main (334) 241-4192
Accounting (334) 241-4192
Examiners (334) 240-3194
Financial (334) 240-3194
IT Division (334) 241-4192
Legal (334) 240-7581
Market Conduct Division (334) 240-3194
Preneed Division (334) 241-4138
Producer Licensing (334) 240-3282
Rates and Forms (334) 240-4409
Consumer Services/ (334) 240-4435
Fraud Divisions Receivership Division (334) 240-7562
State Fire Marshal (334) 241-4158

Jim L. Ridling, Commissioner of Insurance

E-mail Address:

 insdept@insurance.alabama.gov

Office Hours:

 8 a.m.–5 p.m., Mon.–Fri.

Website:

 www.aldoi.gov 

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Freedom Benefits is independently owned and operated by Tony Novak operating under the trademarks "Freedom Benefits", "OnlineAdviser" and "OnlineNavigator". Opinions expressed are the sole responsibility of the author and do not represent the opinion of any other person, company or entity mentioned. Tony Novak is not an agent, broker, producer or navigator for any federal or state health insurance exchange but may provide uncompensated advice, reviews and referrals to these official resources. Novak is compensated as an accountant, adviser, affiliate consultant, marketer, reviewer, endorser, producer, lead generator or referrer to some of the other commercial companies listed on this site. Information is from sources believed to be reliable but cannot be guaranteed.