Finding individual health insurance can be a rough road for some. Individual health coverage is a plan which is provided to individuals rather than to employers or organizations. The healthcare industry is nearly entirely dominated by group and employee health plans, which often times makes it difficult to find an affordable and decent individual plan for you and your family.
According to the National Association of Health Underwriters, only 5 percent of Americans get their health coverage from an individual health insurance policy. For those without the option of an employer’s health plan, financing an individual health plan is only part of the problem; finding the best provider and plan that works for you and your family can also be a cumbersome burden to bear.
Searching for individual health insurance is not all bad news. There are a few major advantages to choosing an individual health insurance plan rather than employer-based coverage:
1. You can customize your coverage.
Many employer-based plans provide limited options. You can either choose A or B, and your options end there. With an individual plan, the options are literally limitless and you can customize your plan to fit your needs.
2. You can find the best rates for you.
With group plans, the employer holds the responsibility to choose the insurance provider. When you are in the driver’s seat, you can choose between a myriad of companies to select the one you prefer.
3. Your coverage is not dependent on an employer.
If you lose your job, switch companies, or quit, you can say “bye-bye” to health insurance coverage for you and your family. Even just a few months without health insurance can be detrimental if an accident or illness occurs while you are not covered. Individual health insurance plans protect you no matter where you go or who you work for.
Finding Affordable Coverage
When searching for individual insurance, cost is generally the number one factor most consumers look at. Costs can vary widely depending on the insurer; sometimes by as much as 50 percent for similar plans.
When shopping for an individual health plan, understand the basics of health insurance, the higher your deductible, the lower your monthly premium. If you’re generally a healthy person with no real medical issues, the higher deductible is worth it because you’ll be saving more money month to month. If you have an illness or require frequent hospital visits, the lower deductible might be worth it to avoid having to pay more out of pocket.
Keeping yourself healthy can save you money in a variety of ways. Tobacco and alcohol usage and/or excess weight will drive up your premium. For generally healthy people, they can take on the higher deductible, which lowers the monthly payment. Health insurance companies prefer to insure healthy people, so you’re also more likely to get a more competitive rate. Also keep in mind that if a member of your family isn't in perfect health or is of advanced age, it may be more affordable to purchase separate health insurance plans.