I don't play the lottery because I think of it as voluntary taxation. I read that you have a one in 16 million chance of winning the lottery and I believe it. Actually, since I sometimes don't even see the glass as half full, (sometimes I can't even find the glass,) I think my chances are much less.
What does the lottery have to do with buying individual health insurance? Everything; I've been self-employed for many years and since I've been buying individual health insurance on my own instead of receiving it through an employer, I find it not unlike what I would assume it's like playing the lottery.
Here are five things to consider when buying individual health insurance:
If You Have a Family, Apply as Individuals
An insurance company may reject your entire family if they don't want to cover one person in your family. It will be difficult to cover that one person, but you may wish to get policies for everyone in the family on an individual basis, making it easier to insure everyone and less costly in total.
Be Careful With Insurance Policy Details
If you're fairly healthy and don't see the doctor that often, you might want to get a policy that's high-deductible and no co-pay. What this means is that you'll be paying out of pocket until you reach that high deductible, which can be as high as $5,000 per year, and you'll be paying the full fee when you see the doctor instead of the $40 co-pay. That fee should be discounted by your insurance company, so it won't be the full $150.00 or so to see the family doctor. That means if you only go once a year, it could cost you around 80% of the full fee, but that's all you'll pay for saving substantially on the premium. Generally, these policies are easier to get.
Use An Independent Insurance Broker
An agent employed by a single carrier will be representing products only from their company. Buying from an independent insurance broker is like shopping around. They'll find the best policy that fits your needs at the best rate. They'll be able to honestly explain the difference in policies; salespeople at individual companies may not give you the best advice when it comes to comparing their policy with another company's policy.
Join A Group Plan
Are there any professional organizations you belong to? If so, they may have a group plan; even the faith-based organization you belong to may have a group plan for their members. If not, your clergyman may be able to help. Can you join your spouse's policy at work? If you run a small business, in some states, all it takes is having two employees (which includes yourself) in order to qualify for a group plan.
Be Careful When Filling Out Your Medical History
This is the hardest thing for me. I like to talk. Simply answer the question. No more. That's it. Now, don't leave anything out, as that can invalidate your policy.
What are some of the obstacles you've encountered when purchasing an individual insurance policy? Please let me hear from you in the comments below.