Unfortunately it is not easy to find good private health insurance deals. Unlike group insurance which is the same price for everyone, the cost for private health insurance is based on a number of factors. Even a small health problem can cause your premiums to skyrocket, so it is extremely difficult to find deals on private health insurance.
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Along with being expensive, private health insurance is very confusing. It may seem understandable until you start reading all of the exclusions and other fine print. Just because you have health insurance coverage does not mean that you are covered for everything health-related. It is important that you understand what your policy says so that there are no surprises down the road.
Who should purchase private health insurance?
Many people have a group health insurance plan through their employer. Unfortunately that is not an option for everybody, which is where private health insurance comes in.
Private health insurance is mainly for those individuals who have lost their job, are between jobs, are going to school, or are self-employed.
Some employers do not extend health benefits to families, so this would be another example of needing to find private insurance.
Are there other options?
For some individuals, there may be better options for their health needs than private insurance. One is for former employees. If you have lost your job, many employers will offer you coverage through COBRA. According to Smart Money, if you have this option you should take it.
COBRA allows you to keep the same group plan that you had through your employment for a certain amount of time. Although you are required to make the full payments, the coverage is usually better than your individual health insurance options and the premiums will usually be cheaper compared to an individual policy. If COBRA is not an option, there are a number of programs sponsored by the government to help you receive health care. Most of the programs are for low income families but there are other eligibility requirements that may help you.
Some of the government plans are sponsored by each state. A number of states have specific plans that are available to insure low income individuals. Many states have insurance programs that are geared specifically towards children of low income families.
Every state offers Medicaid to individuals and families that cannot afford health insurance otherwise. Each state has different eligibility requirements and their own level of benefits. Medicare is available for a variety of reasons. It is the health insurance program for the majority of people over the age of 65, but it is also available for those who live with disabilities.
If you are or have been in the military, there are a number of military health insurance programs available for your use. If you are an American Indian and meet the eligibility requirements you may be able to take advantage of IHS, or Indian Health Services. For more information about these programs, check out the Insurance Information Institute website.
Are there ways to decrease the cost of premiums?
Although it may be difficult to find deals on cheap private health insurance, there are some other ways you can save money. A way you can lower your health insurance premiums is to choose a higher deductible. The deductible is the amount of money you pay on your own before insurance kicks in.
The more you pay for your health insurance deductible each year, the less your premiums will be. Make sure, however, that the deductible amount is something that you can feasibly pay for in the case of a major accident. Most individual health insurance policies will offer you dental and vision coverage as options to your standard plan. You will usually save money in the long run if you opt out of those coverages.
Keep in mind that if you run into a great deal for private insurance that seems too good to be true, it probably is. Some of these plans will increase the rates after a short amount of time, and others will only cover you for a certain amount and then you are responsible for the damage. Read the policy very carefully before accepting any plan.
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