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How to Find Personal Health Insurance You Can Afford
Health care costs are constantly on the rise, so finding a good insurance policy means striking a balance between needs and means. Our short guide, along with our partners, will help you find affordable health insurance that won't require you to sacrifice coverage.
Describes what to look for in a health insurance company and in a policy
Gives tips on finding the right personal health insurance plan
Links to two great online sources for affordable health insurance
Compare health plans and get instant quotes:
The search for the best coverage at the lowest price starts with comparing as many plans as possible from providers in your area.
To choose among the hundreds of plans available to you, use our fast and free comparison service to get quotes from major insurers in your state:
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Affordable health insurance means managed care
The most affordable health insurance is a group health plan, such as one offered by an employer, so if you're given that option, you should really consider it. (Often, spouses and children can be included under such a plan).
But if you work for yourself, or for an employer who doesn't offer a health plan, you're on your own. At this point, getting the most affordable coverage is probably going to mean sacrificing options.
Buying a plan managed under an HMO, PPO, or POS is probably the single biggest way to earn yourself an affordable premium, should you need to buy a personal health insurance policy.
(For more in-depth info on these types of plans, read our guide to managed care networks.)
Managed care has suffered from media criticism in the past concerning the restrictive nature of the policy, sometimes for good reasons, despite it's cost-saving advantages.
Fortunately, managed care networks have responded to recent criticism in order to create plans that offer more consumer choice, like the PPO, or Prefered Provider Orginization. This type of plan mixes elements of traditional indemnity insurance with the structure of the HMO to give you more flexibility. As a result, PPOs are probably the most popular type of individual health insurance plan on the market today.
Four steps to reducing the expenses of personal health insurance
Buying a managed care plan isn't the only strategy around. Other steps you can take towards lowering your health insurance expenses are:
#1. Raise your deductible
As a healthy individual, raising your deductible is not especially risky and can save you a bundle in premiums.
If you do get sick or hurt yourself badly, you will have to satisfy this larger deductible, but there will be a substantial reduction in your annual premium payments. If you make frequent visits to the hospital, this is clearly not the choice for you.
#2. Buy group health insurance
If you belong to any club or group of qualifying size (usually a minimum of between 5-10 individuals), you, along with the other members of this group, are very likely eligible to purchase a group health insurance policy.
Far more often than not, insurance companies offer more affordable health insurance to small groups than to individuals. Check out our small group health insurance state-by-state guides to look up the qualifying requirements in your state.
#3. Redesign your health insurance policy
If your health insurance policy covers any unnecessary extras, ask the insurance company if you can eliminate them from your policy and pay less.
Coverage areas such as vision, dental, or mental health can sometimes be removed from your policy at your option, resulting in lower premiums and a more affordable health insurance policy.
#4. Buy while you're healthy
This may be, as they say, "easier said than done", but it's so very important that we had to include it. Personal health insurance policies are guaranteed renewable, so buying a policy now, when you are healthy, and aren't quite in need much medical attention or hospitalization, is the best way to make sure that you have affordable health insurance later, when, let's face it, we all are going to need it.
Finally, once you've found a quality personal health insurance plan, try and keep it to avoid the complications and cost inherent in changing health insurance plans.
Get the best policy you can!
A lower premium is important, but it's not the only criterium to consider. This guide continues with how to choose a good health insurance company, plus 10 policy essentials you should not go without, and what to watch out for in policy exclusions.
As you are certainly going to want to compare premiums, you can get instant health insurance quotes from eHealthInsurance. eHealthInsurance will allow you apply for your selected health insurance right now over the internet and will supply you with multiple offers from various companies within minutes.
If, instead, you would prefer personalized attention from an independent health insurance agent in your area, you can fill out a free quote form at NetQuote, who will in turn contact up to five agents who will then compete for your business by trying to offer you the lowest available premium.
Next: How to evaluate health insurance companies