Where can I find the cheapest health insurance? Consumer Q&A
What does a cheap health insurance plan look like? The question is more complicated than it might seem at first. The true “cost”of a health insurance plan is about more than the monthly price tag.
Think about cars, for example. Car A, with a $15,000 price tag, might look cheaper than Car B, with a $25,000 price tag. But we all know there’s more to the true cost of a car than what’s on the price tag. You also need to consider the gas mileage and the car’s reliability, among other things. Over the long term, it’s possible that Car B actually saves you money, though it may cost more up front.
Health insurance sometimes works the same way.
Last week on Yahoo Answers we took a question from a woman facing this sort of choice. Her personal situation was a little complicated. She was offered health insurance through her job but didn’t want to take it because she didn’t intend to stay with the company long. Insead, she wanted to buy her own coverage and get the cheapest health insurance plan she could find.
The eHealthInsurance reply was voted Best Answer:
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:
Image by Flickr user DorkyMum