Individual Health Insurance
Individual health insurance is the main type of health insurance purchased by persons that do not have access to a group health plan through an employer. Although the use of the term ”individual” may suggest health insurance for a single person, this type of coverage may include immediate family members. The insurance contract is between the “applicant” and the insurance company and responsibility for payment of premium is solely on that individual applicant. Other commonly used names for this type of coverage include personal health insurance, family health insurance and child’s health insurance.
Who Should Consider Individual Health Care Insurance
Any person or family that does not have access to group health insurance, or not eligible for state sponsored programs for lower income families, should consider purchasing individual healthcare insurance. Everybody should have some form of health insurance, and this is the best option for permanent coverage for a number of reasons. If you delay in acquiring a personal health plan, you may lose your opportunity for qualifying for coverage because it is only available if you meet the guidelines imposed by state regulations and insurance company policies.
How to Find Individual Health Insurance
There are many different insurance companies in every state that offer individual health plans. The best way to learn of these options is to request quotes from an infinite number of websites. All of the insurance companies have websites, many of which provide instant online quotes and application processing. You will also find agent or broker websites that provide quotes from many different insurance companies in a side-by-side comparison format. There are also referral services that can put you in contact with one or more insurance agents in your area that offer individual health insurance quotes and personal expert advice.
For those that do not have a good understanding of health insurance, it is recommended that you work with a professional that can explain that many different policy terms and help you compare your options from several different insurance companies. There are many factors to consider in choosing the right individual health plan, and you could possibly be stuck with whatever choice you make for many years. Just as you would consult with an investment banker in how to invest in retirement, consulting with a health insurance specialist can be just as important when looking to purchase a family health plan.
The Cost of Individual Health Insurance
Individual health insurance rates are determined by many factors, including chosen plan type, age, gender, geographical location and health status. Plan types range from comprehensive HMO plans to high-deductible catastrophic health plans. The more comprehensive the coverage, the greater the risk to the insurance company in having to pay claims. Since rates are based on the risk to the insurance carrier, these plans with more complete coverage will be the most expensive.
When shopping for an individual health plan, you will find a vast array of plan and premium options. Naturally, you will want to find the best possible coverage for the best possible price. The best thing to do is set a budget for your monthly health insurance costs and look for the best coverage for that price.
Applying for Individual Health Insurance
Once you have found the best health plan for you and your family, you will need to submit an application for coverage. The application is fairly complicated, with many health related questions. Not every person that applies of individual health insurance will be accepted by the insurance company and not all insurance companies have the same acceptance guidelines. An experienced health insurance agent can guide you in your eligibility and the best companies to apply with before you start the lengthy application process.
If you have had any current or recent health conditions that required medical treatment or medications, the insurance company may request review of your medical records before they can make a decision in regards to your insurability. This process can take several weeks. If you are currently uninsured, it would be advisable to purchase a temporary health plan while you are going through the application and underwriting process for an individual or family health plan.
If you learn that you are not eligible for individual health care insurance due to your medical history, your best option is to obtain coverage through an employer sponsored group health plan. If this option is not available to you, many states have high-risk pools available, but the monthly premiums for these state sponsored programs can be rather expensive.