What is an Individual Health Insurance Policy?
If your employer doesn’t offer group health insurance, you can still buy an individual health insurance policy to cover yourself and your immediate family. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, over 18 million Americans rely upon individual and family medical plans in the United States. If you need coverage for yourself, a spouse, and/or children, take a moment to learn how individual health insurance works.
How Do You Buy Individual Health Insurance?
Private health insurers offer individual medical plans to the public. If you earn a modest income, the Affordable Care Act, or ACA, may subsidize premiums for qualified plans.Typically, families with an income below 400 percent of the federal poverty level and without access to group plans can qualify for various subsidies. Even without a subsidy or an ACA plan, you might deduct premiums from your taxes.
Your best option for an individual or family plan will depend on where you live, your budget, anticipated health needs, and your preferences. With either ACA or non-ACA health insurance plans, you can still have an agent help you select the right policy for your needs. Here at Insurance Hub, our experienced agents are standing by to help with either ACA-Marketplace or non-ACA health insurance plans.
What Kinds of Individual Health Insurance Plans Can You Buy?
To get started, you should understand the basics of these common kinds of major medical plans:
- Preferred provider organizations: Usually called PPOs, a preferred provider organization plan uses a network of medical providers to help control costs. You can still access services outside the network but will usually have to pay more. You won’t need to pick a primary care doctor or obtain a referral to see specialists. Many people find that PPOs give them a good mix of flexibility and savings.
- Health maintenance organizations: Often referred to as HMOs, a health maintenance organization also uses a provider network. The HMO will only cover out-of-network services for emergencies or other rare circumstances. You may also need to choose a primary care doctor and get referrals to see specialists. Even though the rules appear strict, HMOs have grown increasingly popular because they usually do a good job of controlling costs.
- Point-of-Service: Insurance companies developed the POS as a sort of hybrid between PPOs and HMOs. For instance, you could need to designate a primary care provider and obtain referrals; however, you can still get covered services outside the network but will probably need to pay more.
- Exclusive provider organization: Insurers also developed EPOs as another hybrid between PPOs and HMOs. With an EPO, you don’t need to choose a primary care provider or obtain referrals. At the same time, it may not cover non-emergency visits to non-network providers.
You can also opt for a high-deductible health plan, or HDHP. With these, you choose a qualified medical plan with a higher deductible. You also set up a health savings account that lets you deduct contributions up to IRS-allowed maximums. You can use the savings account to pay out-of-pocket costs, and sometimes, you can use this money for things that major medical plans won’t cover, like routine dental care.
An HDHP gives you a chance to earn an extra tax deduction. In general, plans with higher deductibles will also cost less than plans with higher ones.
How to Find the Best Health Insurance for You and Your Family
Before making such an important decision as choosing the best health insurance, get help from our experienced agents. They will help you sort through available options to find the one that best suits your needs, budgets, and preferences. Schedule your free consultation right away!