In order to buy health insurance on your own, you will need to understand certain health insurance definitions as well as research the benefits you wish to receive. The most typical insurance is individual health insurance. This insurance is purchased on your own without an employer involved and is available for either an individual or family plan.
Research Before Open Enrollment
November 1st through December 15th is the standard open enrollment period where one can buy health insurance on your own. However, certain states have extended deadlines to expanded the timeframe so you can successfully enroll. Health insurance options can be time-consuming with a since most people do not know what all the different options are. It is also hard to understand the costs and benefits of the different insurance plans. Being prepared early will facilitate a well-prepared decision-making process to get optimum health benefits at a reasonable premium.
What Are My Health Care Options?
The first consideration to buy health insurance on your own is how high of a percentage you wish the insurance carrier covers to reimburse you for medical expenses. There are four categories in purchasing individual health insurance regarding coverage percentages: 60%,70%,80%, and 90% coverage plans. The higher the coverage, the more expensive the monthly premium.
- Bronze plans are the lowest coverage plans where the insurance pays on average 60% of your medical expenses. Your coinsurance amount is 40% and these plans tend to have a high deductible.
- Silver plans pay on average 70% of your medical expenses
- Gold plans pay on average 80% of your medical expenses
- Platinum plans, which are the best plans available, pay on average 90% of medical expenses
We recently published a guide that will help you if you’re interested in finding more information on selecting the best affordable health insurance plans for individuals.
Individual Health Insurance
You always want to consider the type of plan you desire that will fit in your budget. There are federal government subsidies that significantly reduce the full cost of an insurance carriers premium charge based on income qualifications.
Group Health Insurance
This option is available if you work in a company that carries health insurance for its employees. It is cost effective in that the employer pays a significant share to finance the cost of group health insurance of employees. Group health insurance is not for you if you intend to buy health insurance on your own.
Federal State Plans
To buy health insurance on your own under Obamacare, you apply with the state you live in which will determine the rates you pay. Usually, a state has their insurance exchanges where insurance carrier offers their variety of health plans. If you happen to reside in an area with no health exchanges, then there are federal exchanges where you can purchase health coverage under Obamacare.
Medicare is the federal health coverage program for people with disabilities and citizens who reach 65 years old. Medicare is generally more cost-effective than private insurance plans, and you should enroll when eligible to avoid premium penalties at a later date.
Just as described, short term health insurance plans allow individuals to join, for example, a 6 month period insurance plan. This type of insurance can be much cheaper, but coverages are not adequate under Obamacare standards. These plans do not carry Obamacare protective features such as mandating individuals with pre-existing conditions to be accepted.
Other Health Care Options
Further health care options include insurance plans that are flexible where you can choose your doctors and don’t need a referral from a primary care provider. On the other side of the fence, there are the plans that require you to see medical providers within a closed network. In between are plans that sometimes allow you to go out of the private doctor network, however, you will end up with higher medical expenses.
- HMO stands for health maintenance organization where one can only see a medical health provider within a closed network. Deductibles do not exist or are much lower than other plans and premiums are much more reasonable.
- PPO stands for a preferred-provider organization which allows you to get either in-network or out-of-network care, but out-of-network care will cost you more. Referrals are not required. However, there are deductibles, and the plan has higher premiums.
- HDHP stands for high deductible health plan where premiums are cost-effective keeping up-front costs down. These plans tend to vary widely in cost and deductible amounts, so each plan should be analyzed according to your needs. These plans tend to suit younger individuals who expect low medical expenses and in good health.
- POS stands for point of service plans. These plans are mix and match between features of an HMO and PPO. You can choose to use out-of-network medical providers but will incur higher out of pocket costs to do so. This plan gives you flexibility, but deductibles are higher than in the PPO or HMO.
- EPO stands for exclusive provider organization. It is similar to the HMO plans except you are not required to have a referral to see a specialist. There is a limited number of doctors and hospitals you can seek for covered medical care.
Shop Online For a Health Insurance Plan
If you are looking to jump right in and get a health plan by yourself FirstQuote Health is a great place to start. You simply start by entering your zip code, and within five minutes you will be able to compare plans and pricing in your area. Try it out now!