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How To Shop For Individual Health Insurance


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If you find yourself in the position of shopping for anindividual health insurance policy, there are certain thingsyou'll want to keep in mind. Whether you are coming out of a job that covered you before, or are at the end of yourCOBRA benefits, or simply have never had coverage beforethere are things you can do to get coverage on yourself andyour loved ones.

The basic thing to know is that if you have a shot a grouphealth insurance, whether through a job or an association you're a member of, that is usually much more affordablethan buying individual health insurance on your own. Firstyou need to figure out your health insurance goals; in otherwords, what are you after? If you're young, healthy as ahorse, no dependents and not attempting Mt. Everest nextweek, you may want to opt for a policy that covers only thecatastrophes, and cover the rest out-of-pocket. On the flipside of that, if you're the sole bread winner with a familyto support, the scenario is different.

The basic choices you'll have are Fee-for-Service, ManagedCare Plans, and Association-based health insurance. Fee-for-service is the traditional indemnity plan, harder toacquire, more expensive, but usually great coverage.Managed care plans include most HMO's and PPO's. These offerlower costs but your choices are somewhat limited. Anotherway to get insured is through a group or association youmay already be a member of, such as professional, religiousor trade organizations. Often they may offer healthinsurance. It's worth checking out, as sometimes you canstrike gold in this vein.

Things to consider when you're looking for any policy arewhat's covered on this plan, how much are the monthlypremiums, what is the yearly out-of-pocket, what is thedeductible, how much are office visits, does it coverpreventative medicine, vision, dental? And I'm sure you cancome up with many of your own. Sit down before you goshopping and make a list of your needs and wants, and decidein advance what you're willing to give to get. Be aware thatonce you start getting quotes they can vary as much as 50%for the same person! Remember, you're shopping, and nobody'smaking you do anything. If one insurer isn't cutting it,move on to another. If you're coming at this cold and haveno good recommendations it may be wise to use a broker whorepresents several companies, as he or she wil be morelikely to find the best policy for you, as opposed toselling the company they work for.

Shopping for individual health insurance can befrustrating and time-consuming, but if you come armed withfacts you'll be able to navigate this highly competitive andever-changing field.

Keith Thompson is the webmaster at health Insurance Plans, asite geared toward helping you find great individual healthinsurance!







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