How can I get a health insurance plan?
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Asked October 15, 2012
For most people, finding health insurance is a relatively simple process of research and elimination. You should be looking for a company that offers you the kind of coverage you need at a price you can afford, and it will be important to pick a company with a sound financial rating. For others, the list of options has gotten much longer since the passing of some aspects of the Affordable Care Act, making health insurance a possibility that may have been unthought-of just a year or so ago.
If you have recently lost a job with health insurance, you may be eligible for COBRA benefits. That is a law, passed by Congress in 1996, which requires health insurance companies to allow you up to 18 months to find replacement insurance after your employment terminates. COBRA is not a replacement for health insurance, but it is a way to prevent losing any coverage you already have.
Group health insurance is more affordable than private insurance, and does not have the same restrictions on who is eligible for coverage. By January first of 2014, health insurance companies, under the ACA, will be required to accept applications from people who have preexisting conditions such as asthma, diabetes, or even heart disease. Some ideas for places to find group coverage are organization you belong to such as AARP or AAA, as well as through online websites which offer rate comparisons.
Online health insurance quote comparisons are important for another reason. You can use them to get an idea of what your premiums would be, and to find companies that offer the best price for the coverage you need, narrowing down the choices of which companies you should look at a little closer.
Once you have a short list of health insurance companies, use a website such as the A.M. Best Company to check the financial rating of your choices. Look for companies that have an A++ rating, and eliminate any company with a B++ or lower. These ratings indicate the financial stability of the company, and a high rating indicates a stable company that will be there for the long run.
The application process for each company will be different, and you may have to have a medical examination for some types of coverage. In general, group health insurance bypasses medical exams and eliminates concerns for preexisting conditions, but each company will have their own specific procedures.
Answered October 15, 2012 by Anonymous