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How do I Choose the Best Individual Health Insurance Plans?

Article Details
  • Written By: B. Miller
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 25 January 2020
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2020
    Conjecture Corporation
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To choose the best individual health insurance plans, you will want to consider how much you can afford to spend every month, how much you could afford to spend if something catastrophic were to happen, and any special issues you may have that might affect coverage. You may need to choose individual health insurance plans if you are self-employed, or if you have lost group coverage for any reason, and it is important to shop around in order to find the best deal. Consider such factors as the monthly premium, deductible amounts, maximum out-of-pocket benefits, lifetime coverage limits, and wellness visits or preventative care, among others.

Though some individual health insurance plans may no longer be able to deny you for health benefits, preexisting conditions can still have a significant impact on monthly premiums, which is why it is important to shop around. Otherwise, the monthly premium and the deductible, which is the amount that must be paid out of pocket before benefits kick in, are some of the most important considerations when choosing between individual health insurance plans. Choose one with a monthly premium that can be factored into your budget.

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The monthly premium you pay for individual health insurance plans is based on what the plan covers; if you are in fairly good health and only go to the doctor a few times per year, you can choose a fairly basic plan. If your health is poor, you visit the doctor frequently, or you plan to get pregnant in the future, you will need to choose a more expensive plan. Determine if preventative visits are covered, such as yearly exams, vaccinations, or mammograms, just to name a few. If you are willing to pay a bit more out of pocket for your doctor's visits or other types of treatment, such as psychological care, you will be able to pay a lower monthly premium.

The deductible is another consideration. A high deductible means a lower monthly premium, but be sure you'll actually be able to pay it if something were to happen. Many insurance plans feature a maximum out of pocket amount as well, which can be very helpful if something major occurs, as even just a brief period in the hospital can be staggeringly expensive. Some plans also feature lifetime limits, which is the amount the plan will pay out over one's lifetime with the plan; these are usually very high and most people never meet them, but it is still something to consider.

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