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Finding Your Own Health Insurance Coverage

Aug 17, 2007
If you've ever taken the huge leap of leaving that secure 9 to 5 job for the self employed route, you probably know how it feels to have to go looking for your own health insurance plan.

To be sure, most of us at one time or another have worked for a company simply because we wanted the security that their benefit packages provide. Health insurance would be one of the most vital parts of all of this.

Yet with corporate downsizing and layoffs, staying with a company simply for the insurance isn't as secure any more. So if your in position to have to find insurance for yourself here's a few bits of advice that might be of help.

First off, don't be stupid and go without. Some years ago I found myself between jobs and between coverage. I got hurt simply playing a pick-up game of basketball and needed surgery. Unfortunately I had no other option. I couldn't work if I didn't get the damage repaired and I didn't have insurance to cover the cost so I ended up putting it all on a credit card. It took me years to pay the debt off. In particular, if you have a family, you can't afford to go without some form of insurance.

Often right after leaving a company you can still have access to insurance through a company's COBRA option. The company is lawfully required to give you access to the plan. You'll have to pay the monthly premiums of course with no additional assistance from the company, but you may find it more affordable than an individual plan. COBRA plans should be looked at as a short term solution to your insurance situation.

If your self employed, you may want to look at group insurance plans from organizations like the NASE. The National Association of the Self Employed can provide you with more information and you may find some of their rates to be very competitive.

A number of trade organizations and associations may also have benefit plans that could provide you with coverage. If you belong to a trade organization don't hesitate to contact them to see what might be available.

It's also important to compare individual or family plans from a number of companies. Be sure that things such as the stated deductible and coverage guidelines are comparable when looking at the cost. Eventually we found a good plan for my wife and I that is fairly affordable for what we have in coverage.

At one point, I was denied coverage by an insurance company and my wife was leaving her company position to work in her own business. One thing I learned at this time was that many states will provide some type of insurance coverage for you if you have been turned down at some point. The rates are a bit higher than you might have to pay with a standard policy but at least you have coverage. So don't rule out a state funded program if your having trouble getting insurance.

Regardless of what company you go with, remember that's it's very important to maintain health insurance coverage for yourself or your family. You'll never know when you may need it in a time of crisis.
About the Author
Mark Washburn is a freelance writer with experience on health insurance and insurance services.
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