You can find cheap individual health insurance plans privately from an insurance broker or agency or if you are eligible for a group policy from your employer. Usually a group policy through your employer is the least expensive option. However, with rising health costs and employer’s cutting employee benefits, private insurance is becoming more of a necessity.
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Individual health insurance policies can be quite costly, so it is very important to compare cost with coverage before purchasing a policy. You want to make sure the policy you have will cover the expected and unexpected medical costs.
Why should I purchase individual health insurance?
You might want to consider buying private individual coverage if:
- Your spouse’s employer does not offer insurance to spouses
- You are not eligible for insurance from your employer
- Your employer does not offer insurance
- Your employer’s coverage does not meet your needs
- You are unemployed
- You are currently a student
The new changes in health insurance are causing employers to have to pass the cost of insurance onto their employees. One change is that companies are charging a surcharge to employees if their spouse has access to insurance from their own employer, but choose to be covered under their spouse’s insurance. It may be cheaper to buy private coverage rather than paying a surcharge to your spouse’s employer.
If you are currently a student or unemployed, you may still be covered under your parent’s insurance plan due to the changes of health care reform. However, if your parents do not have insurance or if you live in another state, their policy might not work in the state you reside. In this case, you need to purchase your own private student health insurance policy.
Many companies offer student policies for students who are away at school and cannot be covered under their parent’s insurance. You can find these policies through your college or university, online, or from an agency or broker.
You never know what is going to happen to you, so it is important to have some sort of health insurance. A basic policy to meet your insurance needs should have physician visits, hospitalization, and pharmaceuticals as part of their benefits. You can weigh what kind of policy you need depending on your age, gender, and current health. However, you do not want to find yourself in a position where you have an exorbitant amount of medical bills.
Where can I get state funded health insurance?
The cheapest place to get individual health insurance is through a state funded program. However, you must meet the financial requirements according to your state to be eligible for your state’s Medicaid program. There are links to each state on the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services website.
If you make too much for Medicaid, but cannot afford private insurance, you may qualify for another state funded insurance program. Not every state offers such a program, but New York is one of the states that sponsor a low-cost medical policy.
How do I know I am getting health insurance from a reputable company?
When purchasing individual private coverage, you should make sure you are buying from a reputable company. Do not purchase a plan just because of cost or marketing tools. You should review the policies and compare at least three different ones from three different companies. If this is the first time purchasing an individual policy, ask for advice from someone with experience who has had multiple insurance policies.
You should review your budget to determine how much you can afford for an insurance policy. Take advantage of the free insurance calculators online to determine how much you can pay in premiums, co-payments, and deductibles. You can find many insurance calculators online.
Do some research and find reviews on the insurance companies you are considering. The Better Business Bureau provides a rating for how the company handles customer service issues. A.M. Best will give you the financial outlook of an insurance company along with a grade. Consumer Reports is another tool worth using as the magazine recently rated companies for overall coverage and cost.
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