Affordable private medical health insurance has recently become much more popular in most parts of the country. We will explain how to find and buy these plans. As group insurance premiums continue to rise, and employers contribute less towards their employee’s premiums, private individual and family health insurance coverage is often an affordable alternative. These types of policies are usually very flexible and can be altered every year, unlike many more restrictive employer-provided plans.
Typically, an employer will feature only one company’s policies for consideration. Although there may be many variations of coverage, including high-deductible plans and comprehensive plans, choices may be limited. If your personal physician is not listed as a Network-provider, you will be forced to pay a larger out-of-pocket expense or change to a different physician.
And a recent concern is the passage and upcoming implementation of “The Affordable Care Act” (also known as “Obamacare”). There is little doubt that many employers will cease offering medical coverage to employees, and other employees will reduce the number of workers that are eligible for coverage. The reason is simple. It now is cheaper to pay a tax penalty and let the government offer benefits.
However, when purchasing your own personal policy, you are free to choose among many large reputable insurers. Depending on where you live, some of the most popular insurers are Aetna, Blue Cross, UnitedHealthcare, Humana, Cigna, Assurant and Celtic. Often, there are smaller regional companies that offer competitive rates such as Geisinger Online in Central and Northeastern Pennsylvania or Medical Mutual in Ohio and some neighboring states.
Your own policy can be better tailored to meet your individual or family needs. As an example, if maternity coverage is not needed, there are many policies that exclude maternity benefits and subsequently reduce the premium. There also may be specific riders that provide targeted benefits for your specific situation.
One common example would be an enhanced accidental injury benefit that can be added as an inexpensive rider. This coverage is often used when there are dependents at home. Once the dependents are no longer in the household, you can remove the rider. You may even wish to replace it with a rider that better fits your needs, such as a critical illness rider.
Often, a Health Savings Account (HSA) is great option to consider. When purchasing your own medical coverage, you are free to choose among many companies with a wide variety of affordable deductible options. You are also able to pick the bank of your choice if you are going to make contributions into the HSA. With group coverage, you may not have those options available to you. In fact, it’s possible that taking out an HSA or high-deductible plan may not be one of the policies in their package. This is understandable considering an employer will often choose a copay option (only) since they are the most popular.
Group insurance benefits provided by an employer can have some advantages. For example, if the employer is paying a substantial portion of the premium (or all of the premium), it may be wise to keep group coverage. Although the percentage of employer contributions for benefits is reducing, some larger companies still pay a large portion of the premium for their employees. But medium-size and small-size companies are definitely cutting back. And with recent legislative action in Wisconsin and Michigan, union clout seems to be reducing.
Also, if there is a major health condition present, such as diabetes, cancer or heart disease, it will be difficult to qualify for a private plan, and staying with the current employer policy may be the best option. Also, group policies may also provide specific benefits that an individual plan may not offer. It’s important to clearly identify the coverages that are the most important to you.
Affordable plans are medically underwritten, so although taking a physical is rarely required, an application for coverage must be completed and submitted, and subsequently approved before coverage begins. It’s important to closely compare the rate that was offered when the policy was approved. It is possible that existing conditions could increase the proposed rate.
The quotes you receive from our website are free. You are never obligated to purchase any plan or take our advice. Of course, we work with private health insurance plans every day, so hopefully the information we offer is helpful and will help you in the buying process. Some of the options you view (especially after 2014), will be guaranteed issue and your acceptance will be almost guaranteed.