How To Buy Individual Health Insurance Plans in California
Medical bills are the most common cause of bankruptcy in the USA. It’s vital to have an insurance plan which fits your needs so that you can relax, safe in the knowledge that you won’t become another insolvency statistic.
The volume of health insurance options can feel overwhelming. That’s why we’ve done the hard work for you. Read on to find out how we can help you choose the plan that’s right for you.
Individual Health Insurance Plans in California and Obamacare
The Affordable Care Act (ACA), known as Obamacare, set out to ensure that as many people as possible could get medical insurance coverage.
Some plans may not meet the ACA minimum essential benefits conditions. If yours is one of these then you should consider switching your plan. Those in California enjoy living in a state which has extended what’s known as the open enrollment period.
That’s a specific time within the year when you can sign up for health insurance or change your plan. Another benefit is that a provider cannot refuse a person a plan on the basis of a pre-existing condition.
Open enrollment is your opportunity to:
- Buy health insurance for the first time
- Switch to a different insurance plan
- Alter your health insurance plan type
Health Insurance Plans at Other Times of The Year
It’s possible to join a plan when the enrollment period has ended if you have a life event that qualifies. These include:
- moving off your parents’ plan due to your age
- relocating to a new ZIP code
- losing health coverage at work
- having a baby or adopting a child.
Reasons For Purchasing Individual Health Insurance
Here are some of the common groups of Americans who need individual health insurance plans in California:
- Those who are self-employed
- Those whose employer does not provide group plans
- Those who have a group plan that does not cover a spouse or dependents
- Those whose health plan premiums are too high
- Those enrolled in a health plan but whose benefit needs have changed
Types of Health Plans
The structure and health insurance options in California vary. Under the ACA, health plans must provide a level of minimum essential coverage.
Most plans will need you to pay a percentage of the final cost of any treatment. The higher the percentage you pay, the cheaper your plan is likely to be. Providers may use
‘metallic tiers’ (bronze, silver, gold, and platinum) to distinguish levels of coverage.
Before you buy individual health insurance, you should consider your health care needs and budget. You’ll then be able to compare what’s on offer to find the right fit for you. Here are some key points to consider.
- The plan’s structure and cost
- The providers which have links to the plan
- Which treatments the plan covers and which it does not cover
- The size of any deductibles which you will have to pay
Even if you are looking for a plan that will cover you and your domestic partner, it is still worth comparing separate health insurance options. In some instances, this can save you money.
Some plans may offer comprehensive coverage. This could include:
- Coverage for any pre-existing conditions
- All medically necessary tests and treatments related to COVID-19
- A range of preventative care options such as vaccines and cancer screenings
Other Key Issues to Consider
When you buy an individual health insurance plan, your age and where you live will also play a part in assessing your monthly premiums.
You should also check the size of a network provider and whether your plan entitles you to see any provider within the network. Find out if your current doctor is in the network.
Some plans may require you to get pre-approval for certain services. If your job means that you travel a lot, look into what sort of care you might be able to get when you’re away from home.
If you have a favorite provider or hospital, you should find out if you can carry on using these under your new plan.
Renewing Your Individual Medical Plan
Signing up to renew your plan automatically is not usually a good idea. This is because plans are constantly changing. You don’t want to miss a new and more appropriate plan.
It’s wise to do some research every year so that you’re sure you have a plan that best suits your medical needs and budget. Time spent comparison shopping could save you more of your hard-earned cash and get you a better plan.
If you automatically renew, you might also create problems if your income changes.
Let’s say you get a pay increase. That could mean any subsidies would disappear. If you start making less money, you could miss out on financial help during the year.
We’ll Help You Get a Plan That’s Right for You
Purchasing individual health insurance will be one of the most important decisions you’re likely to make. We understand the complexities of health insurance options and we are right there to guide you.
Visit us here and to compare the best individual health insurance plans in California.