Individual Health Insurance
Until recently, most people got their health insurance from their employer. People with low income got their insurance from the government. But now, more and more people are buying private health insurance plans tailor-made for individuals.
Choosing your health plan isn't only about getting the right coverage — it's also about finding the right price. And individual health insurance is actually more affordable than you think. Just compare health insurance quotes from the nation's top carriers to see for yourself.
First, let's learn a little bit about individual health insurance.
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What Kinds of Private Health Plans Can I Choose From?
There are plenty of individual health insurance plans to choose from. Here are the most common types:
HMOs (Health Maintenance Organization). HMOs are one of the most affordable health plans available — and they offer comprehensive coverage. HMOs create networks of doctors, hospitals, clinics, specialists, and other care providers. Most HMO networks consist of thousands of health care professionals, ensuring you'll have convenient access to medical care when you need it.
PPOs (Preferred Provider Organization) . The PPO is an affordable individual health insurance plan with an added benefit — you'll have coverage with any health care provider. That means you can see any doctor or specialist you want, and your plan will cover the care. The PPO is great for flexible, comprehensive, and affordable health care.
Health Savings Account (HSA) Plans. There are 2 parts to HSA coverage: a high-deductible plan and a Health Savings Account. The high-deductible plan provides catastrophic coverage and features low monthly premiums. The HSA is a tax-free savings account where you save money to pay for routine medical expenses.
- Fee For Service (FFS) Plans. The FFS plan is the traditional form of individual health insurance. It works very simply — you get the care you need, then you're reimbursed for a percentage of the cost.
Paying for Affordable Health Insurance – The Basics
A health insurance plan does 2 things: it gives you access to health care, and it makes sure that health care is affordable.
An affordable health insurance plan isn't a blank check for your medical needs, though. With any plan, you'll be responsible for some costs. So, which health plan costs should you expect?
Premiums. This is cost of keeping your plan in effect. Premiums are usually paid on a monthly basis. When you're looking at plan premiums, keep in mind that what you're seeing is a base price for the plan. Your premium could be adjusted based on your age and health status. Insurance companies call this "rating." People who lead healthier lifestyles get more affordable health insurance premiums.
Deductible. This is the amount you'll have to pay before your plan starts picking up the rest of the bill. A deductible can range from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars. And a lower deductible isn't always better - higher deductibles mean lower premiums. Ask yourself: would you prefer to pay more for your monthly insurance bill, or when you receive care?
Copayments and Coinsurance. These are charges you'll have to pay for any specific medical service you receive. Copayments are fixed amounts – for example, a "$20 per Office Visit" means you'll pay $20 out of your own pocket for a routine trip to the doctor. Coinsurance is a similar cost, but expressed as a percentage – "20% of Non-Emergency Hospital Care," for example. Typically, affordable health insurance copayments and coinsurance run about $20 and 20%, respectively.
- Out-of-Pocket Maximums. Between your deductible, your copayments, and your coinsurance costs, staying healthy can be expensive. That's why health plans include out-of-pocket maximums, to keep your care affordable. Once you reach your out-of-pocket maximum, most health insurance plans will pick up 100% of the rest of your health care costs (though some plans have exceptions to this - see below).
Individual vs. Employer-Sponsored Health Coverage
The majority of people have employer-sponsored health insurance. But the number of people with individual health insurance coverage is growing. Today, more than 13 million people have an individual plan.
Why choose an individual plan over an employer's plan? Here are the key advantages of individual health insurance:
Customized coverage. In group coverage, everyone ends up in a one-size-fits-all type of plan. But everyone has different health needs. With employer-sponsored coverage you end up paying for coverage you don't need, or may have to go without coverage for care you do need.
- Mobile coverage. With an employer's plan, leaving your job means leaving your health insurance. Individual plans protect your health wherever your career takes you.
Which Individual Health Insurance Plan Is Right For Me?
As you look for an individual plan, you might be asking yourself: What plan is right for me? Which plan do people like me choose?
If you're a person who is in good health, you might want to consider a high-deductible PPO that's compatible with a Health Savings Account. This option is best for people who don't visit the doctor often, and are looking for major medical coverage.
If you'd rather have more comprehensive individual health insurance coverage, such as preventive care coverage, consider a PPO or HMO plan with a lower deductible. You might not be able to use an HSA, but you'll have coverage for routine doctor's office visits and other preventive care. Typically, you'll pay between $10 and $40 for a doctor's office copayment depending on your plan. With this type of plan, you'll also have major medical coverage.
Even if neither suggestion seems right for you, there plenty more options to choose. What's the best way to find out which individual health insurance plan is right for you? Get free quotes and get expert advice from a professional agent.
Finding the Right Individual Health Plan
Finding individual health insurance is actually a lot like looking for a new pair of jeans. Here's how:
In a clothing store, there are usually dozens of racks of jeans to choose from. As you shop, you'll consider what kind of jeans you want, along with how much you want to spend. When you find a pair you like, you'll try it on to see if it fits.
Now imagine each rack is a different insurance company. You can shop in the same way — by comparing various types of plans, comparing rates, and comparing coverage and benefits. If you shop smart, you can find the best fit for your health needs.
Here's where we come in. We make it easy to connect with professional agents. A licensed agent will help you sort out all the details of a health insurance plan — and help you with the application process.
When you use our secure online service, you'll be instantly connected with agents from leading health insurance companies around the country.
Just fill out a simple form to get free health insurance quotes right now. And don't worry — you have no obligation to buy anything, and it's 100% risk-free.