There are several ways to get an individual health insurance quote. You may choose the traditional method of contacting a local agent; you can seek an online insurance broker; or you can contact the insurance company directly either via phone or through the internet.
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You may need to obtain individual health insurance coverage if you are:
- Work for a company that does not offer group health coverage
In any event, you will need to know where to turn to get the best coverage at the most affordable price.
Many insurance companies that at one time offered only auto or life coverage are now offering individual health insurance plans. You may consider contacting your local insurance agent where you have one of these types of coverage and inquire as to whether or not they offer individual health insurance plans. If you are the type of person who prefers to sit down face-to-face with someone, or if you don’t have, or are not comfortable with, Internet access, this is more than likely your best option.
If you do choose this route, ask the agent to obtain quotes for you. The process may take a little longer than it would if you went online, but you could possibly qualify for a discount from having multiple types of plans with one company.
If you choose to go online, you can seek out a broker site. These websites actually operate in the same manner as a human broker. However, using certain tools, calculators, and databases, an online broker site can offer faster, easier, and more convenient service – all in the privacy of your own home.
When using an online broker, you will be presented with a few questions about yourself and your medical history. You will then immediately receive quotes from several companies. You can compare these quotes to see which of them works better for your needs.
When looking for an individual health insurance plan, you may choose to go directly to the company itself. You can do this either online or the old-fashioned way, by phone. Many insurance companies are more familiar to the public and you may choose to start your search in this fashion.
Perhaps you have past experience with a carrier you were satisfied with in some other capacity. For instance, some insurance companies that offer group health plans to employers also offer individual plans. If you were happy with former coverage under that plan, then you may choose to start your search with that company. They may offer you an option in which you will be happy.
Do individual health insurance plans differ?
Individual plans can differ in many ways. As with group plans, individual plans can be HMO or PPO. It is crucial to understand the difference between these types of plans before you make any decisions. The most important consideration is the network included in each plan.
An HMO severely limits your choices of providers and will totally deny charges submitted from out-of-network providers. A PPO is less restrictive, but going outside the network can also result in a sharp cut in claim payment.
Are the premiums for individual health insurance deductible?
If you itemize on your tax return, there is a line to include costs for medical expenses. Health insurance premiums are considered medical expenses and can be included. However, unlike in the past, medical expenses are not deductible dollar for dollar. The federal government now only allows the portion of medical expenses to be deductible that exceed 7.5% of your adjusted gross income.
On the other hand, if you are self-employed, you can probably deduct 100% of the cost of your medical expenses – including your premium for individual health insurance. There are certain circumstances that could affect your deduction. You will want to talk this over with your tax professional.
What terms should I understand before shopping for individual health insurance quotes?
To be able to make informed decisions regarding your healthcare and insurance coverage, you should understand some basic terms:
- Premium — The monthly amount you will pay for your coverage. This rate will vary by individual and depends on several factors such as age, state of health, region.
- Copayment — The insured pays a fixed cost for any medical service rendered.
- Coinsurance — This is a form of cost sharing between a health plan and the insured. After the insured meets the deductible, he will be responsible for paying an additional amount of each charge up to a specified limit. This percent is usually 20%. With an 80/20 plan, with a bill of $100, after the deductible has been met, the insured will pay $20.
- Out-of-pocket — The amount you will pay out-of-pocket before the insurance company starts paying at 100%
Take your time and be prepared when shopping for an individual health insurance plan. Choosing the best option for you will be easier if you are knowledgeable beforehand.
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