Tips For Getting Low Cost Health Insurance
Let’s face the facts, bad things happen and usually unexpectedly. Regardless of your age and how healthy you think you are, accidents and sudden illness can happen to anyone. Various studies show that medical debt is one of the leading causes of financial chaos and turns out to be one of the main reasons people file for bankruptcy.
With statistics like this, it may surprise you that 18 million people ages 18-34 don’t have health insurance. Why so high? Well, people in this age category are finishing school, or between jobs, or new to their jobs and don’t yet quality for heath benefits, or work for small companies that don’t offer health benefits. These people could purchase their own insurance, but it can be expensive especially for someone just graduating or in a new job.
The question many ask is: How can you afford not to get health insurance?? Making the choice to not have life insurance is a serious gamble. By choosing to not pay that $200 or so per month for health insurance, you are betting that you won’t be faced with $20,000 or $30,000 hospital bills if you have to end up in the hospital for a few days.
Considering getting insurance? Here’s a few tips and some info that might help:
Who says you can’t afford it?
A quick visit to Blue Cross/Blue shield showed sample premiums of $77 – $185 monthly for a healthy 25-year old man. The policy included a $1,000 deductible and prescription drug benefits. A healthy 25-year old female, $112-$275.
A few years back getting affordable individual health insurance was hard, but times have changed. Individual health insurance is in higher demand, and more companies are offering individual insurance which is increasing competition and lowering rates.
Even if you currently have employer offered benefits, I’d recommend you shop around as you may be able to find a better deal. This is particularly true for smaller companies that can’t get as good of deals as the large corporations.
COBRA – What they don’t like to tell you
COBRA allows people who have corporate health insurance to purchase coverage for a limited time after they quit their job or are layed off.
Great right? Well, there’s a catch…COBRA is expensive. You will pay the whole premium, both what you and your company paid together before. This can be a serious increase in cost for you depending on how much your company paid for.
Here’s what they don’t like to tell you though. Most people think they have to sign-up for CORBA immediately after leaving their company. Well, you don’t have to. You have 60-days to elect COBRA coverage and then another 45-days following the 60 days to actually buy it. That basically gives you 105 days without having to pay for any insurance. If you are fortunate enough to not get sick or not need to see a doctor, you won’t have to pay anything.
Here is what you need to do: Sign up for CORBA 60 days after leaving your job. If you need to use your health insurance in the next 45 days you pay for coverage. Don’t worry, claims are retroactive to the 1st day you were not longer covered at work, typically the day after you leave.
Like everything else, yes you can buy it online
Like purchasing anything else, you can use the major search engines to find online health insurance companies and deals. A site called eHealthInsurance though will make your job easier. The online company is similar to Expedia.com or Travelocity.com for health insurance. It currently represents over 166 carriers and has thousands of different plans.
Is it safe to purchase from no-name carriers?
Shopping online you can find some really good insurance deals. The problem is, may of the lower cost rates are most likely from carriers you’ve never heard of. These carriers can frequently be 1/2 the cost of the major name carriers. Now, if you’re like me you asking: What’s the catch? You need to be cautious, but it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t buy it. You just need to look into the details and do your research.
The first thing you should do if you are hesitant about a carrier is call your state’s department of insurance to make sure they are licensed in your state and that there aren’t any problems.
As with any business, call the Better Business Bureau look at their company report. You can also look up their A.M. Best rating. Insurance experts say they should have a grade of A- or better before considering them.