Comparing Private Health Insurance, Medicare and Medicaid

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Comparing Private Health Insurance, Medicare and Medicaid insurance

If you’re looking for health insurance, there are four main ways you can get coverage: through an employer in a group plan, in a private plan, or through the government programs of Medicare or Medicaid.

As of 2014, the most recent year for which data are available, about 49% of Americans have insurance through an employer, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. Another 34% have coverage through government programs, and about 6% have non-employer-based private health plans, such as those purchased through the federal marketplace, Healthcare.gov.

About 10% of Americans were uninsured in 2014, according to the foundation. That number is declining in large part because of the Obamacare penalty for going uninsured, enacted in 2014. As more Americans gain health coverage, questions arise about the ways these different kinds of insurance can overlap.

If you have Tricare or VA benefits, you can get personalized advice. Contact Tricare customer service or Veterans Affairs to speak directly with someone who can answer your questions.

Some types of health insurance plans can overlap, and some can’t. Here are the rules of overlapping coverage:

Lacie Glover is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. . Twitter: @LacieWrites.