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Health Insurance Plans for Individuals

Individual Health Insurance

Many people looking to save money on COBRA insurance or considering options because their COBRA coverage is coming to an end look at individual medical insurance plans. These plans will provide the most comprehensive coverage and are the most similar to plans that people had when they were insured. Additionally they provide a savings of 65% on average compared to COBRA. However, it can be difficult to determine which private plan is best for you. Here are the most important things to consider when choosing an individual health insurance plan. Keep in mind your health needs and monthly budget as you use this list to examine the health insurance programs available to you.

  1. Know your non-negotiables: Although no one can ever predict a medical emergency or illness, there are certain medical needs that you can plan for when choosing an insurance plan. For example, if you have a history of any disease in your family, make sure the plan covers screening for those diseases. Additionally if you are planning on starting a family, you will want to make sure your plan includes maternity coverage. For people who like more choice when it comes to doctors and hospitals, you will also want to make sure the network that is covered is to your liking. Examine your current and upcoming medical needs as best you can and make sure to choose a plan that includes those things.
  2. Understand the Network of Coverage: For folks who already have doctors, specialists, and hospitals they would like to continue to use - this can be extremely important. Make sure the doctors you want to use are in the network. Additionally if you tend to use out of network care, make sure you understand the cost of that care.
  3. Don't buy too much coverage: Just like it is tempting to buy the gadget with the most bells and whistles, health insurance can be the same way. However you only want to buy what you need and what you are likely to use. The easiest way to determine this is to examine your prior use of your policy. For example, if you haven't been to the doctor in months or years, it is unlikely that you need a plan that includes these features. Additionally, for people who are healthy and don't go to the doctor often, you can save a significant amount of money monthly by choosing a plan with a higher monthly deductible. Some people save as much as %50 by choosing a deductible of over $1000 monthly.
  4. Understand Out of Pocket Costs: There are two main expenses that you should always consider when looking at health plans - copayments and co-insurance. Co payments are the out of pocket cost for certain services like visiting the doctor or the emergency room. They can also include lab work and other tests. Additionally co-insurance refers to any percentage of the cost you must pay. For example, if you have 30% co-insurance that means that you will have to pay 30% of the cost of any medical costs. This can quickly add up, so make sure you are clear on the terms for co-payments and co-insurance, including their costs, when they are applicable, and any limits/minimums/maximums.
  5. Prescriptions: If you take any regular prescriptions you need to make sure those are covered with the plan you are signing up for. Also make sure to find out your out of pocket cost for brand name and generic prescriptions.
  6. Annual Limits: Annual limits are not something that many people factor into their decision about health insurance, but they should be. Although a $1 million annual limit may seem like something you would never reach, if you have a medical emergency or serious illness, you may reach that number faster than you think. And if you go over it you will be liable for all the additional costs. Ideally look for plans without annual limits.
  7. Get Quotes for Several Plans: Lastly never choose the first individual health plan that you look at. Get free quotes for multiple insurance plans below and compare them to find the right intersection of affordability and good coverage for you.
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