Health insurance is a necessary precaution. State laws regarding healthcare and health insurance vary greatly, so to gain a better understanding of your unique rights in your state, be sure to do your research. Some states have such low populations that policies like HMO that were designed to save the buyer upfront money, can sometimes cost as much as PPO policies.
The other variant in states surrounds it’s “pre-existing conditions” law. Some states can reject people based poor lifestyle choices or pre-existing diseases. There is both an upside, and a downside to laws like this. The upside, is that rates are usually much lower for people across the board because healthy people aren’t subjected to paying for the poor health of other clients. The downside, people who need coverage, are often rejected, leaving them helpless.
To grasp a greater understanding of your state’s laws, and make sure you understand policies, it’s smart to consult an insurance agent. Insurance agents are schooled in law, know what are reputable companies, and are able to assist you in finding a policy that is right for you, and possibly your family.
Although you may be tempted to get quotes online, if you do have any sort of medical condition, take prescription of any sort, or plan on getting pregnant or starting a new health regimen, I suggest you stick with a broker. Policies are often hundreds of pages long, and online descriptions are usually relegated to highlight only few subjects. You may opt into a policy only to realize that your specific needs aren’t covered.
Another idea is to consult your chamber of commerce. If your state has a lot of self employed individuals, there may be a pre-existing plan that you can buy into. Most states also offer competitive plans for small groups and businesses. If you and your neighbor have similar jobs, you can consider incorporating and filing jointly for healthcare. Be aware, you will be required to file tax papers, and have proof of a 25 hour work week. Look at the legalities of this option.
If you are denied coverage, check with your state’s insurance pool. Some states offer high risk coverage, but be aware that the prices are often very expensive. The last option is to consider joining COBRA. If you have left a job that had given you coverage, and that business has over 20 employees, they are required by law to offer you same coverage options for up to 18 months – you will however be responsible for what was their half of the monthly payment in addition to 2% administrative costs. This is an expensive option.
Health insurance can be a headache. By enlisting the help of a professional, they will be able to explain your state’s laws and regulations, find you coverage that is necessary for your specific needs, and will discuss fine print details with you.