Most of us understand that the rising cost of healthcare is one of the leading causes behind the astronomical rate increases imposed by insurance companies on their customers. It is a frightening reality, which is resulting in more and more Americans electing not to carry health insurance simply because they can’t afford it. For those who are not offered health insurance through their employers or business groups, many are choosing to compare health insurance rates on their own before purchasing an individual policy.
You can compare health insurance quotes online by entering your zip code below.
According to the 2011 Milliman Medical Index, the average annual premium for a PPO in America is now just over $19,000. That represents an increase of 7.3% over 2010, and more than 100% since 2002. It’s no secret that health insurance rates are rising much faster than the rate of inflation and the annual cost of living.
Are online searches helpful?
The National Conference of State Legislatures notes that although the number of uninsured Americans continues to rise, the number of employees offering health insurance coverage to employees has remained relatively unchanged for the last several decades. If you’re one of the unfortunate ones without an employer-provided insurance plan, searching online for your own policy can be very helpful. Just like auto insurance searches, online searches for health insurance give you a variety of options.
These health insurance search engines work by taking the information you provide and comparing it against statistical analysis and pricing structures provided by participating health insurance providers. They crunch the numbers and return quotes for every participating company that offers coverage in your area. From there you have a starting point, which allows you to contact individual insurance companies for more accurate quotes and coverage limits.
Understand that the quotes you receive through online search engines are only estimates. Your actual premium price will undoubtedly be different according to your specific conditions. The problem is; there are so many variables involved in a health insurance that a search engine could not possibly account for each one. They give you a ballpark figure that lets you see which companies will most likely be less expensive than the rest.
Can I compare health insurance quotes without using online search engine?
You can certainly compare health insurance quotes online without using a search engine. In fact, even with a search engine you will ultimately have to do most of your comparisons manually. That’s because you’ll have to choose between major medical/catastrophic care, HMOs, PPOs, and POS plans. That requires you to compare each type of policy side-by-side where you can see:
- Premium prices
- Specific types of coverage
Those are things an automated search engine simply can’t do.
We would suggest you start with a search engine and then choose a handful of companies from the quotes you receive. Contact those specific companies through their websites, ask for prices and coverage limits, and then sit down and compare them all side by side.
It is a time-consuming and tedious process, to say the least, but it’s the only way to do it if you truly want all of the information. The other option is to take the cheapest quote you find using a search engine and purchase a policy sight unseen.
Can I simply call various health insurance companies?
Telephone calls are always an option when searching for health insurance. However, be careful to avoid trying to compare policies simply by listening to the representative’s sales pitch. He or she is going to throw endless amounts of information at you, which will be nearly impossible to sort out over the telephone. After four or five such phone calls your head will be so full of information you won’t know where to turn. Rather than listen to a sales pitch, simply call and request the company send you printed or electronic information.
With such information in hand, you can then sit down and compare policies at your own schedule. You might be able to compare only two policies at a time; that’s fine. Over the course of a week, you should be able to go through the information and come to some sort of determination.
On the other hand, if you rely solely on the phone representatives to guide you through, you’re likely to give up after a few phone calls and just pick anything to save yourself the misery of continuing.
We’ve provided an online search tool below, whereby entering your zip code gets you immediate access to multiple health insurance quotes.