When you are your own boss, your health insurance becomes your individual responsibility. Unlike employed people, who get some amount of health insurance coverage through their employers, you have to arrange for your own health insurance. If you have dependent family members then you may have to provide health insurance for them too.
Individual or Family Plan
Self-employed people have two choices when it comes to buying health insurance – they can buy only individual health insurance or family insurance which covers all members of the family. Some family members may have other sources of health insurance coverage then you don’t need to buy for them or buy a separate policy. Another condition to buy separate policies for family members is when any of them have serious medical conditions which can drive up the cost of coverage for all on the family plan.
Types of Health Insurance Plans
There is no dearth of options of health insurance – that is why, you have to decide carefully which plan suits you most.
Some of the basic health insurance plan types are as follows –
HMO (Health Maintenance Organization)
Preferred Provider Organization (PPO)
Point of Service Plans (POS)
Health Savings Accounts (HSA)
Places to Buy Individual /Family Health Insurance
Since you are buying the policy by yourself you are not bound by any regulation as to where you can or can’t buy health insurance from. The easiest would be to buy directly from the insurance or through an authorized agent. Health insurance plans can be bought from the government-run health exchanges during the open enrollment period. However, before buying any plan a thorough research and analysis of all your available options is absolutely necessary. You can do this yourself or take help from the online agencies which will get several quotes, do the comparison and suggest the best plan for you.
Comparing Health Insurance Quotes
Howeverdaunting it may seem, comparing health insurance quotes is a must – in order to get the best deal. It is best done by using some common comparing criteria for all the plans. These are –
- Coverage – which plan comes closest to your requirements. Also take into account coverage for prescription drug coverage
- Expenses – consider all the expenses related to the plan, not only the premiums but also the out-of-pocket expenses
- Provider network – it is important to know the provider network of the plan, especially if you have preference for doctors or need specialists
- Strength of the insurance company – you also need to compare the financial stability and reputation of the insurance company
Points to Help You Choose the Most Suitable Plan
Your individual requirements and conditions will determine which plan will serve you most effectively. So, before buying any plan you need to have a clear picture of your own situation. You can do this by following these points-
- Amount of coverage – assessment of personal and family medical needs
- Number of doctor visits– If doctor visits are frequent, a plan with higher premium but lower coinsurance or copayments will be more economical.
- Budget – If your budget is low, you can opt for a HMO plan as these are less expensive than other plans.
- Eligibility for discounted rates or health insurance subsidies – Insurance companies often give specific discounts to eligible applicants. You can also qualify for government subsidies on health insurance if you fulfill the required criteria. These can lower costs.
- Avoid unnecessary benefits – You can save money by avoiding to pay for benefits which are useless to you and look for plans which have coverage that you really need.