How To Go About Picking An Affordable Individual Health Insurance Policy

How to Go About Picking an Affordable Individual Health Insurance Policy

Millions of men and women across the nation are risking their financial security and their health by going without health insurance—are you one of them? If you’re self-employed, a stay at home parent who isn’t covered through your spouse, or you work for a company that doesn’t offer group health insurance, then you may count among the uninsured. However, just because you can’t get affordable health insurance through your job, doesn’t mean that you have to risk going without.

Individual health insurance plans can provide solid healthcare coverage at costs that are much more affordable than you may think. Let’s begin with an introduction to individual health insurance and then go over some tips for buying health insurance that will guide you in selecting the right individual health insurance policy for you....

What is an individual health insurance policy?

Group health insurance policies are what you get through your employer. Your employer pays for a portion of the cost of the healthcare, which they receive at a discounted ’group’ rate. Government health insurance is paid for by the government and used to provide healthcare to low income individuals and families. An individual health insurance policy is neither of these. An individual health insurance policy is a policy purchased directly from the insurance provider by an individual.

Is there just one type of individual health insurance policy?

There is more than one type of individual health insurance policy that you can choose from. The most common types of individual health insurance policy are:

  1. Health maintenance organization (HMOs). An HMO individual health insurance policy works the same as any HMO plan. An HMO is a network of healthcare providers who accept the same coverage. With an HMO individual health insurance policy you are free to choose any provider within the network. However, if you opt to visit any provider outside the network, you’ll be charged accordingly. Because of the limitations, and HMO individual health insurance plan will probably be cheaper than say a PPOs plan.
  2. Preferred Provider Organization (PPOs). A PPO individual health insurance policy allows you greater range when it comes to selecting healthcare providers. This kind of plan will follow you wherever you go, although the precise cost of your co-pays and percentages may vary. Because there are fewer restrictions, a PPO individual health insurance policy premium will be higher than a comparable HMO. If you want fewer limitations or need to visit specialists often, then a PPO individual health insurance policy is better for you than an HMO individual health insurance policy.
  3. Fee for Service (FFS). A Fee for service individual health insurance policy is the same thing as an indemnity plan. These plans are extremely flexible and you’re not limited to a specific network of providers as you would be under an HMO individual health insurance policy. So what are the drawbacks? If you have a fee for service individual health insurance policy, you typically have to pay upfront for healthcare. After you’ve received services, you then send the correct forms into your insurance provider and wait for reimbursement.

Which individual health insurance policy is best for you?

Before you purchase any individual health insurance policy, you’ll need to consider the specifics of your circumstances. If cost is king and you don’t have any medical conditions that require regular visits to a specialist, then an HMO individual health insurance policy might be your best bet.

If you already have a preferred physician who you trust and have been going to for years, you probably will not want to get an HMO individual health insurance policy unless that physician is a member of the network. In that case, and if you do need the attention of a specialist often, you’ll be happier picking a flexible PPO individual health insurance policy, even if it is pricier.

An FFS plan might offer added flexibility when it comes to selecting your doctor. But unless you are certain that you’ll have the money upfront to pay for most of the healthcare services that you get, a FFS won’t give the coverage that you need.

Once you have a better idea of the type of individual health insurance policy that you want, feel free to shop around for the best policy. Compare premium prices, co-pays, and prescription drug costs from several difference insurance companies and don’t be afraid to ask a representative about anything that you need to know to help you feel confident about your ultimate decision.