Minimum Essential Coverage (MEC) - Health Insurance

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What Is Minimum Essential Coverage (MEC) in Health Insurance?

<lingo>Minimum essential coverage refers to the level of coverage you need to meet the criteria for the Affordable Care Act (AKA Obamacare). Qualifying plans include job-based coverage, all marketplace plans, and most plans through Medicare or Medicaid. MEC used to be a way for people to judge ​whether they would be financially penalized under Obamacare. Those who didn't comply were charged $695 per adult and $347.50 per child. Those with higher incomes were charged up to 2.5% of all household income. However, as of 2019, there is no penalty for failing to meet the MEC under current regulations.</lingo>

Minimum Essential Coverage (MEC) Explained 

Despite the fact that there is no longer a penalty on people for not meeting the MEC, it's still important to have insurance that can cover you in case of an emergency. MEC plans are not prohibitively expensive for most people, especially if you are comfortable with high deductibles. MEC​ plans provide the essential costs of healthcare and have clear terms for deductibles, out-of-pocket maximums, and co-pays. If your plan only covers dental and vision or provides care for a specific condition, then you're not meeting the MEC. Workers' compensation or discounted medical coupons also do not qualify as MEC. 


<twitter>Minimum essential coverage refers to the level of coverage you need to meet the criteria for the Affordable Care Act (AKA Obamacare). </twitter>



Those who are young and healthy can typically opt for MEC without very much risk. However, you should know that MEC plans are not comprehensive health coverage. Each plan has its own rules, and some will only help if you have extensive medical bills. For example, if you have a $10,000 hospital bill and a $7,000, deductible, your insurance may only pay for $3,000 of the bills. Because medical costs can skyrocket after even a single injury, you need to understand the consequences of choosing minimum essential coverage. The Affordable Care Act is meant to encourage preventative care, but each health insurance company has its own rules on which services are free and which are paid at market rates. Asking questions and reading over your coverage limits can make it easier to plan ahead. 


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