When your health insurance is sponsored by your employer, it is easy enough to know which policy to choose because it has typically been selected for you, but when you are unemployed, self-employed, or employed by a company that doesn’t offer this medical benefits, then it is up to you to find your own coverage.
Use the following tips to help you locate the right policy and price to fit your needs:
• Healthcare.gov – this federal government site provides a number of questions that you can answer in order to obtain a list of available individual health insurance plans.
• U.S. Uninsured Help Line – this is a service available online at coverageforall.org or over the phone at (800) 234-1317. It is provided by the Foundation for Health Coverage Education, which is a nonprofit that assists individuals in discovering their insurance options. You will need to answer a few questions about your household income, the number of family members that will need to be covered by the plan, and any pre-existing medical conditions that you or they may have.
• COBRA – if you had been working at a job that offered health insurance but you have recently left it, you can take over this plan through the federal COBRA program and continue your coverage for up to 18 months at your own expense. A preexisting condition cannot cause coverage to be denied through COBRA. If you live in California, you will be able to extend that coverage for an additional 18 months through this program.
• Insurance agents – contact an independent insurance agent. Perhaps you already have one for your homeowners or auto coverage. This individual will be able to help you to find out about your coverage options. If you need to find an agent for the first time, use the website of the National Association of Health Underwriters.