Selecting an individual health insurance plan takes a bit more effort than enrolling in your employer’s group health insurance plan.
First, you must figure out what kind of health coverage you need. Sure, you need to know this for group health insurance, too – but when you’re selecting an individual health insurance plan you have to actually search for the right policy yourself. Consider any pre-existing health conditions. Do you have diabetes? What about mental health conditions? Any heart problems? Search for health insurance companies that offer coverage for these conditions, and don’t lie to the insurance agents – inaccurate information will negatively affect your coverage.
Next, think about premiums. You want an individual health insurance plan that you can afford, but you also want one that offers the coverage you need. Take a look at your budget and decide on a price range with which you’ll be comfortable, i.e. one you can afford without having to take a second job. As you search for your individual health insurance plan, look for policies within this price range. Always make sure the policies you can afford provide the coverage you require.
Finally, do some research on the health insurance companies you’re considering. Just because the company offers an individual health insurance plan that will cover your needs without emptying your pockets doesn’t mean it’s the company with which you should do business. Find the financial rating of each health insurance company by visiting an independent research company’s website. Search for the health insurance company on the Better Business Bureau’s website to find complaints filed against the company. And contact your state’s department of insurance to make sure the health insurance company is licensed to do business in your state.
A final word of caution: What may seem like an affordable individual health insurance plan may actually only be a discount plan. There’s a significant difference between the two, so always ask the representative.