What to Look for in an individual Health Insurance Policy

By Compuquotes Team on March 28th, 2008

Health Insurance

Most Americans have access to employer healthcare. For those who don't, individual healthcare policies are available. However, they're typically more difficult to obtain, and they're also more expensive. If you don't quality for employer-based healthcare, obtaining individual health insurance is definitely worth the time and money spent, however.

  • Where to Look for Individual Health Insurance?

Locating a health insurance agent will require a bit more effort than locating a life or property agent. Most people obtain health insurance through their employer, and individual agents are more scarce for this reason. A good way to start is to check with your state's insurance department for a list of independent insurance agents.

  • Features to Look For

Make sure you know what to look for when you're buying an individual policy, and make sure your policy has the following important items.

  • Non-cancelable Guaranteed Renewal:

This means your insurance company cannot cancel your policy, provided that you continue to pay your premiums, and do not commit any fraudulent acts in relation to your policy (such as claiming for expenses you didn't incur). This prevents your insurance company from canceling your policy if you become ill (believe it or not, this can and does happen in cases where the policy is cancelable).

  • Recession Period:

Look for a policy with a ten day recession period. This means that once you buy a health insurance policy, you have ten days to examine the terms and conditions and decide whether or not you really want it. If you change you mind, you can cancel the policy for a full refund of your premium as long as it's within the ten day period.

  • Look for Clearly-Defined Terms and Conditions:

Health insurance policies vary significantly in terms of the level of coverage you can obtain, and since you're not tied to a particular type of employer health plan, you have a vastly increased range of options to choose from. This means it's extremely important that you understand the terms and conditions of your policy. Before you sign anything make sure you know what your policy covers, what it doesn't cover, and the date on which your coverage starts.

  • Choose the Right Policy for your Needs

Finally, be sure to choose the policy that suits your healthcare needs and your lifestyle. If you don't visit the doctor regularly and you're generally in good health, for example, your insurance needs will be very different from someone who is often ill and visits their doctor frequently. Similarly, if you have a family that includes young children, you'll likely need coverage that benefits families who make frequent doctor's visits.

Remember that your policy is going to be more expensive simply because it's an individual policy, too. There are choices you can make to bring the cost of your premiums down-such as selecting a plan with a higher deductible-but remember that each choice you make will have consequences if you need to make a claim in the future.

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