When you are an individual looking for an insurance plan all on your own, you have a lot of decisions to make. Where should you go to find medical coverage? What kind of premium is available? Is low cost insurance anywhere to be found? What kind of plan design should you purchase? All of these questions are important in finding health insurance for individuals.
Health Insurance for Individuals is Different than Group Coverage
Health insurance for individuals can be totally different than receiving your medical and pharmacy benefits through an employer. With an employer you have a small selection of plans available to you. The good thing about a group plan is that some of the premium is paid for you. It is not that way with an individual plan. You will pay the entire premium on your own. However, you are free to pick from a much larger plan design selection.
Individual Insurance is Now Easier to Come By
In the past, health insurance for individuals could be hard to find. Or at least a quality plan was hard to find. Insurance companies could deny you based on your health history, and there was less regulation over the rise of insurance premiums.
With the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), also known as Obamacare, being denied for preexisting conditions is illegal, and insurance companies have to explain extreme premium increases.
As for finding a quality plan, the Affordable Care Act created the health insurance marketplaces, online exchanges where you can compare plan designs and premiums easily and quickly. If you have trouble figuring things out on your own, there will be customer service representatives called navigators that you can call for assistance.
While you do not have an employer to help pay for the cost of an individual plan, there are tax subsidies available if you purchase an insurance plan through the online marketplace. If you earn less than 400% of the poverty level and are not eligible for Medicaid you can get premium assistance.
Health Insurance for Individuals is Still Available from Insurance Companies
The marketplaces are administered by the states and not all insurance companies participate. In addition, while there is a spread of available plan designs on the exchanges, the plans might not fit everyone.
If these things are the case, you can still apply for health insurance for individuals directly from the insurance companies. You will have to do a little more work on your part, and tax credits are not available, but you will have a bigger selection of plans available, and good premiums can still be found.
Health Insurance Brokers
One way to make the search for health insurance for individuals easier is to hire a broker. There are brokers available online as well as in person. If you want to explore your options on the individual market but do not want to do all the legwork, a broker could be the way to go.
Health insurance for individuals is going to become more and more popular thanks to the health insurance marketplaces. If you do not receive coverage from an employer, good plans are still available.