If you've ever shopped for health insurance on the private market, you know it's hard to find an affordable comprehensive plan among the tangle of plans and insurers out there. So here are a few easy steps to help you get that done.
You know it's an awkward time to buy individual healthcare coverage because the Affordable Care Act's ban on insurers basing their coverage and pricing decisions on consumers' preexisting health conditions hasn't taken effect yet. So if you're over 50 or you have even a minor preexisting condition, expect to pay more than the average of about $400 a month for single coverage and $1,100 a month for family coverage. If preexisting health problems get you rejected by health insurers, you may be able to get coverage on preexisting condition insurance plans created by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. You can get more information on the plan at Healthcare.gov.
There are a number of ways to get health insurance quotes. If you already have an insurance agent, they may be able to give you a quote. And insurance websites like Netquote.com allow you to enter your information and receive insurance quotes from multiple insurance agents in your area. And other sites such as Healthcare.gov have databases that allow you to compare a number of providers' insurance plans at once.
Get at least three different quotes and maybe even more. Comparison shopping is key to making sure you get the best health insurance deal available.
Now, you may have to decide what you can live without because finding affordable care on the individual market is really tough. You may be making some sacrifices in the form of higher deductibles, reduced coverage, or tighter restrictions; but as it stands now, things may get easier in 2014. That's when consumers will be able to buy care on regulated state exchanges and possibly receive government subsidies to help cover their costs. If you belong to an alumni or trade association or even a warehouse club, your membership may allow you to buy group health insurance that's a lot cheaper than what's available on the individual market. For additional information on health insurance, visit Bankrate.com.