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If you are leaving group health, than you should prepare for some surprises when you shop for your first family health plan on the individual health market. For one thing, many employees are not really aware of how much their company contributes to their premiums, and they are surprised by costs when they have to pay the whole bill themselves! But on the other hand, if those ex-employees have already seen COBRA health plan bills, they may already been made aware of the group health plan costs. If the family is fairly healthy, they may actually be pleasantly surprised by rates. Since insurers can pick and choose who they want to cover, individual rates can be be very affordable for preferred applicants!
Think about your needs, budget, and expectations when you shop for health insurance. Also find out which plans are available where you live. Your choice of health insurance will depend upon what you want, what you can afford, and what you need. But since different states, and even zip codes within states will have their own rates, provider networks, and plan details, your choices may be limited by your local area.
This is why I usually recommend using an online health insurance quote form. You can enter your information one time, and then start your process by finding out which insurers are completive in our area. You may find dozens of plans, or be limited to a couple of choices.
If you live in a big city, you may be very happy with a PPO or HMO network because you can find plenty of plan doctors in your neighborhood. If you live in a small town or rural area, you may have more trouble finding a variety of medical services in your hometown, and you may want more flexibility to make choices. Of course, you may already have a family doctor you want to continue seeing. In that case, you will want to make sure that he or she takes the plan you choose.
If your initial search for your ideal health insurance plan frustrates you because of high premiums, it may be time to adjust your expectations. Some benefits, like doctor copays, are very expensive. If you only visit the doctor a couple of times a year, perhaps getting a network discount without the copay will be affordable enough to make it worth it to accept a plan without that benefit. If you think you can stick to a disciplined savings plan or have access to good credit, thing about dropping the premiums by raising your yearly plan deductible.
But make sure your plan does cover services you do need. For instance, if somebody in your household could get pregnant, many individual plans do not cover normal maternity costs.
I cannot tell you which plan to choose without getting to know your family. So do not be afraid to speak with qualified health insurance agents in your area. A good agent will not try to sell you, but will educate you, so you can make your own best choice!