Sunday, November 28, 2010

Shopping for Health Insurance When You Are Self-Employed

The group health insurance rates at my day job increased 33% this year, after rising just over 30% last year. I have a family of three, and the new health insurance rates are now 11% of my salary, which in my opinion, is too high (while I won’t disclose my actual salary, I will state that I earn a fair amount). The new health insurance rates made me think about getting individual health insurance for my family.

Group vs. individual health insurance? Before we go further, it is important to understand the difference between individual health insurance and group health insurance. Basically, group health insurance plans guarantee all members of the group coverage, regardless of their health risk. Because coverage is guaranteed with group plans, they can be more expensive for relatively healthy individuals than an individual plan, which is priced based on your specific health history. In my case, my family and I are healthy, so it is a good idea to investigate individual health insurance options.
Determine your health insurance needs to find the best plan

When comparing health insurance plans, it’s important to make sure you are not only comparing apples to apples, but also getting the best plan for your needs. Make sure you get the best health insurance plan for your needs, whether that is an HMO plan, PPO plan, high deductible health insurance plan with a health savings account, hybrid, or other. [More on health insurance options].
Finding and purchasing health insurance while self-employed

One of the biggest concerns among the self employed individuals is health insurance costs, which can be expensive. Some self-employed individuals may be eligible for a group health insurance plan if they meet certain criteria, or they may be eligible for other health benefits, such as COBRA benefits. For example, if you are leaving a traditional job to become self-employed, you may be eligible for COBRA. If you are not leaving a job that offers health insurance, then ignore the tip regarding COBRA coverage.

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