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How to Buy Health Insurance

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Joel Ohman
Founder, CFP®

UPDATED: Mar 13, 2020

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It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right coverage choices.

We strive to help you make confident insurance decisions. Comparison shopping should be easy. We partner with top insurance providers. This doesn't influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

Health insurance is a hot topic in America right now. But regardless of your political views and opinions, one thing is certain…you need health insurance.

It can be the difference between a long, healthy life and one of uncertainty and financial difficulty.

There is no way to predict the future of you and your family’s health, so it’s best to be prepared with a comprehensive health insurance plan in place.

Similar to all types of insurance, health insurance can be purchased a number of different ways.

Employer Sponsored Health Insurance Plans

The easiest and most common way to purchase health insurance is to join a company sponsored group health insurance plan.

Whether your company is large or small, health benefits are usually offered to some degree as part of your employment.

Joining a group program typically requires you to choose between an HMO or PPO plan, but doesn’t normally require you to take a health or wellness exam in order to be accepted into the program.

The “risk” of accepting you into the plan is lower for the insurance company because you are evaluated as part of a larger group or pool of insured, and the companies insuring you are likely receiving a larger group premium.

As with all insurance, the larger the group, the lower the price (in theory) you are charged per “unit,” or in this case, per person.

It is nearly impossible to be denied coverage or “dropped” from a company while you are part of this type of plan.

Additionally, you cannot be denied coverage when switching jobs thanks to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Also, when you lose or quit a job, you will likely qualify for COBRA insurance.

Direct or Broker/Agent – Health Insurance without a Job

Another proven way to purchase health insurance for you and your family is to buy direct from a health insurance company or from a broker/agent who represents a health insurance company.

You may be required to undergo a health exam prior to being accepted into this type of plan.

Additionally, you may pay a higher premium for coverage, as you are not pooled together with other people.

Also, there’s a chance you may be dropped or denied when you aren’t part of a group.

Though not all the smoke has cleared surrounding the healthcare reform legislation, it’s clear the rules regarding acceptability and non-renewal in these types of plans are likely to change.

Health insurers’ ability to drop and non-renew policies may become much more restrictive, meaning you’ll be more protected from being left “out in the cold,” especially due to a pre-existing condition.

Online Health Insurance

Finally, you’re now able to purchase health insurance over the internet…

The online option is most similar to that of purchasing direct from an insurer or using an agent or broker.

Just be sure to do your own research so you know the company you are considering purchasing from is both financially stable and reputable when it comes to claims handling and customer service.

Obtain quotes online or speak to an insurance agent if you don’t have health insurance or feel you’re paying too much/not receiving the care you desire.

Read more: See a list of the top health insurance companies here.

FREE Health Insurance Comparison

Compare quotes from the top health insurance companies and save!

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