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How Will People Without A Bank Account Buy Health Insurance Under ACA?

Thursday, May 23, 2013 - 8:16 AM
From NPR:
For ordinary Americans deemed unbankablethose who don't have a traditional checking or savings account — it can be hard to simply pay bills.

And that absence of a bank account is about to become a big problem for those who also lack health coverage — and for the health insurance companies trying to sell them coverage. After all, how do you sell a product to a customer who has no easy way to pay you?

The federal health law requires most Americans to carry health insurance starting next January. The presents a particular problem for those households. Most health plans accept a credit card for the first month's premium payment and then require customers to pay monthly with a check or an electronic funds transfer from a checking account.

Those options won't work for the so-called unbankables looking to purchase health coverage with federal subsidies through online insurance marketplaces.  

The consequences could be severe. When your cable gets turned off, you miss The Walking Dead or Pawn Stars. But starting next year, if your insurance is canceled, you'll be breaking federal law and liable for any medical bills.

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7
pearlbrownpearlbrown1,356 posts since
Nov 2, 2010
Rep Points: 5,955
1. Friday, May 24, 2013 - 7:59 AM
.When I worked at the bank many people would pay their bills with money orders. Many of the people without checking accounts have savings accounts. Not having a checking account is not a problem. My insurance company never asked for a credit card number. I would never give them my credit card number anyway. Even those without accounts who are on SS have their money put on debit cards now and they can use those to pay their bills. I have cable have accounts but never let them have access to any account. I do pay it with a cash back credit card but I do it not them. In the town where I used to live the payment office to cable was right across the street from where I worked and they had 2 full time people that accepted cash payments. I took their deposits at the bank and 90% of it I would say was cash or money orders. When I just had to give a credit card number for cable when I moved I closed it very soon after they had that number. 

On another note I would never pay a bill with a money order. You have more problems if that money order was stolen, lost in the mail etc. I would recommend that all bills be paid with a check or credit card. You have much more protections with them. 
1
AllyAlly777 posts since
Jan 16, 2010
Rep Points: 2,263
2. Friday, May 24, 2013 - 6:46 PM
Rosie, I remember that many years ago a friend of the family used to pay all her bills with a money order delivered in person to the payee - rent, electric, etc.  When asked why, she said she simply did not trust banks with her money.  She would cash her paycheck, buy money orders for all her bills, and the remainder would be taken home to put into envelopes for each spending category.  That way she always knew how much she had to live on. 

I pay my health insurance monthly using a cashback credit card but use a special "manufactured" account number, unique to the vendor, for privacy and security.  The article stated that most health plans accept a credit card for the first month's premium payment and then require customers to pay monthly with a check or an electronic funds transfer from a checking account, but that is not true in my case. 

As far as what the future might hold for individuals who are "unbanked" (no accounts of any kind) or who have only a savings account and wish to purchase health insurance under ACA, I was under the impression that many institutions do not allow drafts from savings accounts.  If so, and if health plans start insisting on payment only thru a check or an EFT from a checking account, people without a checking account may run into problems. 
4
pearlbrownpearlbrown1,356 posts since
Nov 2, 2010
Rep Points: 5,955
3. Saturday, May 25, 2013 - 12:20 PM
Thank you for the information. There are so many free checking accounts now and there are so many ways for payments that I hope insurance companies do not make this an issue. 

Can you get a temporary number for every credit card or is this a benefit for  a particular card? 

I know the  envelope system. 52 years ago we used that system untill after 2-3 years we had too much money in the house. We bought a fire proof safe for our papers and used that for a while but then got a checking account.

Most checking accounts had fees back then and then finally one bank offered free checking with a credit card. We never used the card for 15 years and my husband used it while on a trip. The bank manager or others he was with did not have a credit card and they were on a golf trip and just got off the plane and my husband was the only one with a credit card. No one had ever rented a car before. Funny story. 
1
AllyAlly777 posts since
Jan 16, 2010
Rep Points: 2,263
4. Saturday, May 25, 2013 - 12:54 PM
Our family friend lived very modestly, and never said what she did with the extra cash left over in the envelopes at the end of the month.  I knew her in the early 60's, and I imagine portable fire proof safes were probably not available at that time, so it is likely she resorted to traditional solutions:  buried it in her backyard, stored it under her mattress or concealed it cleverly in her home.  

As far as the temporary numbers for credit cards, I hope posts 2 and 4 here help answer your question.  
1
pearlbrownpearlbrown1,356 posts since
Nov 2, 2010
Rep Points: 5,955
5. Saturday, May 25, 2013 - 1:02 PM
Thank you
1
AllyAlly777 posts since
Jan 16, 2010
Rep Points: 2,263
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