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Individual Health Insurance For Dummies Question & Answers

2013 July 23
by Sarah Fields

Jenny asks…

what is the cheapest health insurance company?

I am a single mom and I’d be paying for myself and my son. I don’t want to go through my health insurance at work because I don’t want to work there for a long amount of time. So I need long term health insurance for the both of us, but I don’t want to have to pay over $250 a month. Any suggestions?

Sarah Fields answers:

There’s no single “cheapest” plan or insurer. In most states there are many insurers offering many plans, and what you really want to find is the one best matched for your medical needs and budget. What you find, and end up paying, is also going to depend on where you live, since each state has its own health insurance market. Work with a licensed agent online or off to see what’s available in your area. You can get free quotes, compare plans, and potentially apply for coverage online.

Depending on where you live, your age, and your health, you may not be able to find much in the price range you quoted. But look into it.

Before you decline your employer-sponsored coverage (which isn’t something I’d recommend, generally), please note that the coverage you tend to get through an employer is going to be richer than the coverage you can afford on your own. Plus, employer-based health insurance isn’t going to decline you if you have any pre-existing medical conditions, etc. It’s also worth noting that if and when you do leave your employer, you may be able to continue your employer-based coverage (through COBRA, which can be pricey) or apply for individual or family coverage on your own.

If you decide you do want to decline your employer plan and buy coverage on your own, check out the “Individual Health Insurance For Dummies” book we recently published, for some tips and advice. We’re giving it away for free, in print or electronic form. You can get a copy here:

http://guide.ehealthinsurance.com/

Best wishes.

James asks…

How much does it cost for health insurance?

I am looking for medical insurance and was wonder about how much it costs, when you have to pay for it on your own?

Sarah Fields answers:

The answer depends a lot of where you live, your age, your gender, and whether or not you have any pre-existing medical conditions. To give you a broad answer, however, the average monthly cost of individually-purchased health insurance in the US last year was $183 for single-person coverage, $414 for a family. That’s according to a survey of over 300,000 plans purchased through eHealthInsurance.com with coverage in effect as of February 2011.

If you’re trying to shop on your own, I’d recommend that you work with a licensed agent either online or in your area. It doesn’t cost anything extra and an agent can help you get a better idea of the options available. Find an agent that represents multiple insurers to get the biggest picture possible.

If you’re new to shopping for coverage on your own and want some tips and help to get you started, check out the online health insurance buyer’s guide we published, here:

http://www.ehealthinsurance.com/individual-health-insurance/resources/buyers-guide

To go a bit more in-depth, you can also get a free copy of the book we recently published, “Individual Health Insurance For Dummies,” here:

http://guide.ehealthinsurance.com/

Daniel asks…

I wanted to buy health insurance for my mom via the internet- any tips or things not to do?

She is about 45 years old. Never had a history of any bad medical accidents. I decided that it would be wise to buy insurance just in case a major accident occurred.

She works for herself as an independent contractor.

It would be great to know what websites you guys use.

Sarah Fields answers:

You can’t technically “buy it for” your mom, but you can help her buy it – and you could pay the premiums for her if you wanted. I’d recommend that you work with a licensed agent either in your area or online. It doesn’t cost anything extra to work with an agent and it can help you get a better view of your options. Some online agents (like eHealthInsurance, where I work) allow you to compare plans side by side and read customer reviews.

If you’re new to buying health insurance on your own and want some basic definitions and tips, take a look at the health insurance buyer’s guide we published online:

http://www.ehealthinsurance.com/individual-health-insurance/resources/buyers-guide

If you want to go a little more in-depth, you can also request a free copy of the book we recently published, “Individual Health Insurance For Dummies,” which is available here:

http://guide.ehealthinsurance.com/

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