Health insurance is one way to pay for health care. Health care includes visits to the doctor, prescription medication, and emergency services. People can pay for medicine and doctor visits directly in cash or they can use health insurance. Health insurance usually means you pay less for these services. There are different types of health insurance. At some jobs, companies offer health insurance plans as part of a benefits package. Individuals can also buy health insurance. The elderly, and disabled can get government-run health insurance through programs like Medicaid and Medicare. There are many different health insurance companies or plans. Each health plan has a set of doctors they work with. Once a person picks a plan, they pay a premium, which is a fixed amount of money every month. Once in a plan, a person picks a doctor they want to see from that plan. That doctor is the person's primary care provider.
Obamacare, or the Affordable Care Act, is a recently passed law that makes it easier for people to get health insurance. The law requires all Americans have health insurance by 2014. Those that do not get health insurance by the end of the year will have to pay a fine in the form of an extra tax when they file their income taxes. Through Obamacare, people can still get insurance through their jobs, privately, or through Medicaid and Medicare. They can also buy health insurance through state marketplaces, where people can get help choosing a plan based on their income and health care needs. These marketplaces also create an easy way to compare what different plans offer. If people cannot afford to buy health insurance, they may qualify for government programs that offer free health insurance like Medicaid, Medicare, or for children, a special program called the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP).