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Individual Health Insurance Plans

Many of us have found ourselves in need of individual health insurance plans for multiple reasons: we are in between jobs, in between graduating and finding a job, or simply self-employed.  Whatever the reasons, it often is a stressful task to find health insurance plans for individuals rather than under group coverage with an employer.  This article will help you understand what to look for in individual health insurance plans, where to find one, and how to find the best one that fits your individual or family needs.

Components Of Individual Health Insurance Plans

There are so many options that one is faced with when choosing insurance:  PPO, POS HMO, or even supplemental plans.  Let’s start with the basics in understanding how purchasing a different plan will affect your policy.

What is a Preferred Provider Organization (PPO)?  This health coverage allows you to go within a network of providers for a discounted rate.  You are able to go out of network to a provider of your choice, but you may face higher fees.

What is a Health Maintenance Organization (HMO)?  This health coverage requires you to stay within the network of physicians and requires a primary care physician (PCP) to give a referral to see another doctor.  The fee for this insurance is a fixed and prepaid sum.

What is Point of Service (POS)?  This plan combines an HMO and PPO.  At the point of service, you have the option to either treat it as a PPO and go out of network (and pay higher fees) or get the required referral, with a tradeoff of lower fees.

What is a Supplemental Plan?  These are additional plans you can purchase on top of your major medical insurance, such as life insurance, accident insurance, or dental insurance.

Benefits Available In Individual Health Insurance Plans

Now that you have an understanding of the different types of insurance networks that are available, let’s take a look at the different components and benefits available with some of the plans.  It all depends on what you are looking for, but here are some questions to ask your health insurance agent about the benefits available in the individual health insurance plan that they are recommending:

  1. Do your physicians participate with the new provider?

  2. Are referrals required to see specialists?

  3. Do you have out of network coverage?

  4. Are supplemental benefits available?

  5. What deductible does your policy have?

  6. What is your coinsurance after the deductible is met?

  7. What is the out-of-pocket limit?

  8. What are the co pays and coverage for office visits to typical doctor visits?

  9. What are the prescription drug benefits?

  10. What type of deductible or coinsurance applies to X-Rays, ER visits, surgery or hospitalization?

  11. Is maternity coverage available or included?

  12. Are preventative benefits included?

These are important things to keep in mind while shopping for an individual health insurance plan.  However, some of these may be important factors to your needs and some may not be as important to you.  One good tip is to evaluate what benefits are necessary before comparing plans.

Cost Of Individual Health Insurance Plans

The number of uninsured Americans is now over 47 million, due to a number of reasons. These include that it is simply not affordable, unemployment, or just not being educated on the importance of health insurance.  In 2006 according to the CDC it was found that 5.5% of the population listed their reason for not purchasing health insurance due to the cost. 

It is a common misconception that a group health insurance plan is cheaper than an individual health insurance plan. Individual health insurance plans are typically about half the cost of a similar group health insurance plan. The reason why many people think that group health is cheaper is presumably because many employers pay most or all of the premiums to provide health insurance benefits for their employees. If you do not have an employer that will pay for your benefits then consider purchasing a cheap individual health insurance plan.

However, with the rise of independent comparison websites such as ours that allow us to compare prices and therefore drive competition, there is a continued hope for even more affordable individual health insurance plans.

Companies Offering Individual Health Insurance Plans

With websites available that allow us to compare leading companies, it truly breaks down the companies that offer the best price for the best coverage that fits your needs.  Here are some leading companies that tailor many of their policies for individual needs:

  • Blue Cross Blue Shield

  • Aetna

  • Humana

  • United Healthcare

  • United American

  • Assurant

  • Kaiser Permanente

According to the National Coalition on Health Care, the average annual premium for a single or individual coverage is over $4,400, or about $366 per month.  The Internet is helping to spur competition between insurance companies, but is most useful for the shopping and comparison factor.

Compare Individual Health Insurance Plans Now!

This article showed you what items are most important to look for in an individual health insurance plan.  By using the free search tools at the top of the page, you can start comparing individual health insurance plan quotes from top insurance companies now!