Finding affordable health insurance that covers everything you need certainly is no easy task. However, with some perseverance, a bit of time dedicated to research, and a little bit of luck you might be able to find something that fits well with your budget. It might not be the type of health insurance plan you prefer, but given the cost of today’s healthcare it will probably be better than nothing.
If you’re looking for affordable health insurance rates there’s no better time than now to begin your search by entering your ZIP code into the FREE search tool!
Before beginning your search make sure to educate yourself regarding the different types of health plans and what they offer. One of the reasons many people find the task of searching for health insurance so frustrating is because they don’t understand the terms and definitions. The National Association of Health Underwriters provides a lot of educational material including consumer guides and a glossary of healthcare terms.
Should I start my search with my employer?
If your employer offers health insurance benefits to employees they would be your first avenue for finding an affordable health insurance plan. Small businesses will typically offer only one plan from a single provider; sometimes the plan will include dental and vision coverage as an extra supplement. Larger companies may offer multiple plans from either a single provider or several providers. Usually the options offered by your employer have as much to do with what the cost as anything else.
Your employer will likely have an established policy regarding waiting periods and enrollment. This is to prevent individuals from signing up for health insurance benefits and then quitting or being terminated shortly thereafter. Most waiting periods are between six months and one year, after which employees are eligible for most of the company benefits. Keep in mind there’s also the annual open enrollment period which typically occurs sometime between January and March.
What if I can’t afford my employer’s plan?
If your employer’s plan is out of your financial reach you can consider getting your health insurance through a plan offered by your spouse’s employer. If that’s not possible you’ll have to consider purchasing individual or family insurance on your own. You can do so through your local Chamber of Commerce, a trade group or other association you might belong to, or even directly from affordable health insurance companies themselves.
Keep in mind that if you cannot afford your employer’s group health insurance plan, you probably won’t find anything cheaper directly from an insurance company.
Employer plans tend to be the least expensive of all because insurance companies are able to spread the cost of health care across all of the members of a given group. That’s why you’re better off seeking health insurance from another similar group rather than trying to purchase it directly from a carrier yourself.
Does my state offer any guidance in this area?
Each state has its own agencies responsible for administering insurance regulations and social services. It’s not unusual for these agencies to provide health insurance information to residents of that state. California is just one example, giving responsibility for health insurance information to their Department of Managed Health Care. You can visit the department’s website for all the latest information about finding affordable health care in that state.
If your state is similar to California, the information they provide will include both government subsidized programs as well as contact information for charitable organizations and advocacy groups with links to affordable health insurance. Where government subsidized programs are concerned you’ll probably also find program requirements and application forms online. If you can’t find what you looking for through your state insurance department you might consider contacting your local social services office.
Are there any other options?
Your third option in the search for affordable health insurance is to simply take a few nights and do some searching on the Internet. Depending on the state where you live, you might find there are dozens of companies offering individual and family plans. If you use this option just be careful to compare multiple health insurance policies side by side.
Companies sometimes package their health plans with lots of big terminology and slick marketing, yet provide very little in terms of actual coverage. There’s nothing worse than purchasing what you believe to be comprehensive coverage only to find out it covers almost nothing.
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