Tips on Finding Affordable Individual Health Insurance

Individual health insurance policies are typically issued for self-employed or unemployed individuals and their families. These individuals are forced to go out into the market to search for their own health insurance since they are not eligible for a group plan. Since individual health plans tend to by less comprehensive and more expensive than group plans, finding affordable individual health insurance can be a challenge.

Even though you will typically pay more for an individual policy, there are several actions you can take to help reduce your costs.

First, increase your deductible, co-insurance, and co-payment. As with most insurance plans, the higher you set your deductible, the lower your premiums will be. Be careful, though. If you set your deductible too high and experience a severe illness or injury, you could find yourself in great financial distress. So you need to carefully assess not only your medical situation (as well as any one else on the policy), but your overall financial health. In other words, if you select a high deductible today, could you afford a big financial "hit" tomorrow?

Second, select a managed health care option if possible. By selecting a managed health care plan, you can expect to save considerably over the typical indemnity (fee-for-service) plan. However, be sure to thoroughly research any managed health plan as they typically restrict certain health care related freedoms (e.g. choice of providers). This loss of freedom is the price you pay for a lower premium. So be sure to evaluate such plans carefully to make sure the tradeoff is worth the lower initial costs.

Third, don't be afraid to question an item on any health insurance quote. For example, some plans have a "per cause" deductible. Such a deductible means that you will be responsible for bills up to that deductible for each accident or illness, as opposed to simply one overall deductible. As you can see, while a "per cause" deductible policy may cost less, it could end up costing you a lot more in the long run. It's important to be aware of this distinction so you can choose a plan that's right for you.

Finding affordable individual health insurance can be difficult. But going into the process with the above tips can give you an advantage you might not otherwise have. For additional cost- saving tips, see our article on affordable family health insurance.