Individual health insurance plans are a great choice for many people. They provide adequate protection against medical expenses, but there are some drawbacks as well. There may be times when your health situation requires that you use medical services you would not normally use. If that’s the case, then individual health insurance plans are probably a good idea.
But what exactly is individual health insurance? It is essentially coverage bought by an individual (including you) not offered by an employer, which is why it is also called individual health insurance. Unlike group health insurance, there is more flexibility and choices regarding coverage, prescription drug coverage and what is considered a pre-existing condition. However, like most things, there are a few costs associated with individual health insurance plans.
Most individual health insurance plans come with premiums. In fact, in most cases you will have to pay more money than you would for group coverage. Some people don’t like paying high premiums, so they either file for a single policy, or purchase a plan through their employers, which often means that the monthly premiums are deducted from your paycheck. There are also government-sponsored, guaranteed issue individual health insurance policies available to people with certain disabilities or socioeconomic backgrounds. However, these programs are limited in scope and offer limited benefits.
Other ways to get coverage for yourself include purchasing an HSA or health savings account, getting a high deductible health plan or even purchasing “guaranteed issue” individual health insurance coverage plans. As you can see, because of all the variables involved, individual health insurance plans cover more options and provide more flexibility. However, these same factors make it more difficult to find affordable care act policies. So where does that leave you?
You can buy individual health insurance plans anytime during the open enrollment period. The time frame varies by state, so check with your state health department to find out the open enrollment period. In some cases, you may even be able to purchase coverage right at the insurance company’s office the day you sign up. However, in most cases you’ll have to wait until the end of the open enrollment period. At that point, you can decide if you want to continue with the coverage, or if you’d like to switch to a different plan.
If you decide that you want to go ahead and sign up for a new individual health plan, then the first step is to search for quotes. Individual health insurance quotes are usually available from different companies in the individual health insurance marketplaces. You can get quotes online without having to deal with a broker, and without having to pay for the quotes right away. These websites are quick and easy, and only take a few minutes to get you in the correct market segment. You can narrow down your choices this way, and quickly see which companies offer the best price for the coverage options that you need.
Once you’ve gotten an individual plan quote, there are still some other things you’ll need to do to get coverage. First, it’s important to consider how much you want to pay for each policy. Most individual plans have monthly premiums, and you can adjust these premium amounts upward by as much as 25%. That’s a big impact on your monthly expenses, so it’s important to consider this when deciding how much coverage you should actually buy.
Of course, if you’re willing to go over the coverage amount with a company, you can even save money by going with an individual market policy. This option offers the lowest premiums in the individual market, but it doesn’t provide as much coverage as other group coverage plans would. As you can see, there are many different factors at play here, and it’s important to do your homework before deciding on an individual policy.