How To Find Individual Health Insurance

Helpful Tips On How To Find Individual Health Insurance

How to Find Individual Health InsuranceFor some people, individual health insurance is their sole option when a medical coverage plan is needed. Although many consumers are covered through their place of employment, there is also a certain percentage of families and individuals who must purchase their health insurance privately.

This can be a costly and often confusing endeavor, especially if one does not know how to find individual health insurance.

Understanding the Options

The first aspect a person must consider is the type of individual health insurance he or she needs. Two of the most popular plans on today’s insurance market are health maintenance organizations–HMOs–or preferred provider organizations–PPOs. HMOs allow the insured to have access to a high number of services at a reasonable cost.

However, the coverage is more restricted than many other plans. With most HMO plans, the insured is assigned to a primary care practitioner who will oversee the patient’s general health care, and make decisions regarding medications and treatments for that patient. Should the individual need to see a specialist, a referral from his or her primary care physician is necessary.

A PPO is a network of hospitals and doctors who offer health care services to their patients for predetermined fees. This type of plan is not nearly as restrictive as an HMO regarding one’s choice of doctors and treatment options, but its cost is significantly higher. This is a personal decision based on one’s income, as well as the type of coverage with which he or she feels most comfortable.

Age Considerations

If a person is in the category of what insurance agencies refer to as young and invincible–under the age of 25 with no medical conditions—finding an affordable individual policy will not be difficult. Those who are in this demographic should choose coverage that eliminates costly benefits such as prescription medications and the ability to choose a specialist.

For most young people, a policy that covers doctor visits and emergency room services is adequate. There are numerous prescription drugs, including many of those most often prescribed, available for $4-$8 at national chain store pharmacies.

However, all policies have pros and cons, so one should keep in mind that even young individuals can develop medical conditions. If this should occur and one begins making claims, he or she can expect a rise in premiums. It is also important to understand that the cost of insurance will increase as one ages.

The best time to enroll in a plan is when the applicant is young. Even though insurance costs rise as the covered person ages, a policy that was in effect from one’s youth will still be cheaper than the same policy if purchased for the fist time when he or she is of a mature age.

Elderly individuals who apply for health insurance may discover that there are age limits in place for certain types of coverage. This does not make it impossible to find a policy for an older person; however, the options available to him or her will be somewhat limited.

Additional Coverage for Another Individual

Individual health insurance policies that cover additional people are also available. The additional insured may be a child, a spouse or another family member. Of course, such policies will be more expensive than a policy covering only one person, but they are not usually as expensive as purchasing a separate policy.

In addition, one may have the option of adding another individual to his or her policy at a later time. If this option is necessary, or may be in the future, then it is something one should inquire about when purchasing a policy.

Individual Health Insurance and Pre-existing Conditions

Those with pre-existing medical conditions such as cancer or diabetes may wonder about how to find individual health insurance that will cover medications and treatments. Although insurance benefits offered by one’s place of work are usually comprehensive and therefore cover pre-existing conditions, private insurance policies rarely offer this option.

It is not impossible to acquire an individual plan that will insure a person who is ill, but it is difficult. The best option for one in this situation is to make an appointment with a licensed insurance agent who can discuss any available options in detail.

Insurance Regulations

The different health insurance plans for groups and individuals are regulated by various laws. Stipulations with regard to terms and coverage vary from state to state and sometimes even from city to city. Therefore, the area of the country in which consumers reside will have considerable influence on their coverage options, rates and policy exclusions.

Finding an Individual Health Insurance Agency

How to Find Individual Health InsuranceFinding and selecting an insurance agency is not always as simple as it may seem, but with proper time and effort a suitable provider can be found. It is wise to compare several agencies before making a final decision. Companies or agents who pressure one to sign up on the spot should be avoided.

It is also wise to dismiss claims made by companies that state they have the guaranteed lowest prices. No company can make this promise until they have examined the person’s individual circumstances.

On the positive side, comparing quotes is now easier than ever before. Numerous websites are available where one can obtain multiple quotes from various providers from the comfort of home. In most cases, one must simply enter his or her age and zip code to be presented with myriad options. However, one’s income and present health status will quickly narrow down the options.

Before Signing Up For Individual Health Insurance

When an agency is finally chosen, there are several things that should be considered before one signs on the dotted line. Elimination riders are one such consideration and it is very important to question the insurance agent, as well as read the policy’s fine print, to determine if there are exclusions in place that were not disclosed.

Most consumers would agree that individual health insurance is not a luxury, but rather a necessity in today’s society. With the rising costs of medications, tests and treatments, patients can easily find themselves drowning in debt if such care must be paid for without the benefit of insurance. For this reason, it is wise for one to devote a suitable amount of time to discovering his or her specific options regarding individual health insurance.

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