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Individual/family health insurance is coverage that you purchase independently. Although the majority of Americans receive coverage through their employer or government programs, ten percent of the population buys their own individual health insurance.
Who is individual/family health insurance best for?
Individual health insurance is ideal if you are:
  • Employed by a company that does not provide health benefits
  • Between jobs
  • Recently laid off, and COBRA is too expensive for you
  • Self-employed
  • A recent graduate, not covered under your parents’ plan
What are some benefits of individual/family health insurance?
The great thing about individual health insurance is the variety of options you can pick and choose from, to include in your plan. With the help of a good agent, you can determine what your needs are and pick the appropriate benefits you require, such as: routine doctor’s visits, pre-natal visits, maternity care, well-baby visits, prescription drugs, etc. You can also decide whether you want to pay a high deductible and low monthly premium, or vice versa depending on your needs. In this way, you can get affordable health insurance tailored to your needs. If you were recently laid off, opting for an individual plan might be cheaper than the high premiums associated with continued employer coverage via COBRA.
What are some risks involved with individual/family health insurance?
You pay higher premiums than with group insurance because you have to pay all of the premium, rather than your share as an employee.
Premiums can be higher in certain states because of that state’s health care usage history or particular state-wide legislative requirements. Similarly, premiums are also determined by estimating expected health care costs, so those who are less healthy, smoke or older can expect to pay more. Individual health insurance plans are underwritten, so an insurer can reject or apply rate-ups or exclusions to your policy if you have preexisting conditions.
How do you buy individual/family health insurance?
You can find and buy the perfect individual health insurance plan with the help of a licensed agent. To start, enter some basic information about yourself on to receive comparisons of available plans in your zip code. Licensed health insurance agents can explain your state’s law and will help guide you through the buying process—from selecting an ideal plan to completing your application and receiving your policy. And, because this service is free, there is no reason to not take advantage of this unparalleled opportunity. Individual health insurance premiums are tightly regulated so whether you decide to buy on-line or from an agent or from a health insurance carrier, you will always pay the same price.
What impact does health care reform have on individual health insurance now, and in 2014?
Starting as early as September 2010, these changes will take effect:
  • New plans must cover certain preventive services without cost sharing.
  • Insurance carriers can’t drop you when you get sick just because you made a mistake on your coverage application.
  • Carriers can’t include lifetime limits on your coverage.
  • New individual plans won’t be allowed to deny or exclude coverage to any child under age 19 based on health conditions, including babies born with health problems.
  • If a new plan doesn’t pay for services you believe were covered, you have new, clear options to appeal the decision.
Beginning in 2014, individual plans can no longer turn down anyone with a preexisting condition, including a disability.
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