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The ABC's Of Obtaining Health Insurance

Apr 26, 2008
Many people are often concerned about obtaining health insurance. They are confused about their options or about how to obtain the best health insurance for them or their family. There are several ways to obtain health insurance, though, and some of them are not always obvious, but can be quite easy in the end.

Health insurance is commonly obtained through an employer. Nearly all employers these days offer some sort of "group" health insurance plan for employees. The term "group" simply denotes that there is a large group of people on the plan, which decreases the cost of the monthly premium for all members. These plans can cover yourself, your spouse, and your family, depending on the specific policy. Covering more than just yourself obviously increases your monthly premium, but the ability to cover your family inexpensively is a huge benefit. To obtain group health insurance through your employer, you should contact your human resources department or whoever is in charge of benefits in your company. You should be able to buy into the group health insurance plan at any time during your employment.

If you leave an employer who offers group health insurance without first finding other coverage, you can also use the COBRA law with your previous employer's health insurance coverage. COBRA is a government act that allows you to continue coverage under your previous employer, though at a more expensive rate. If you had coverage for your entire family, COBRA will allow you to continue this full coverage for a certain period of time.

There are several million people in the United States who are unable to participate in any group health insurance plans, however. Health insurance companies do offer individual plans for those who do not have coverage through their employer, are self-employed, or are ineligible for government health insurance assistance, such as Medicare or Medicaid. Individual health insurance plans are more often than not very expensive in relation to group health insurance plans.

These plans can also cover family members and spouses for additional costs. Finding individual health plans is not difficult. Almost all health insurance companies offer individual plans; you can now search online for individual health insurance plans. Some Web sites even allow you to compare pricing and details of plans offered in your area, much like shopping for car insurance.

There is also federal health assistance available depending on certain criteria. If you are over the age of 65 or if you have a disability or specific condition (detailed by the government), you are eligible for Medicare. Medicaid is another government health insurance program that is based on income. Overall, it is simply important to be covered, no matter how you go about doing it. Research your options of coverage and speak with a professional to find out more about the health insurance options available to you.
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