Individual Health Insurance – Coverage for Those without an Employer Based Plan

Individual health insurance is coverage for those who do not qualify for an employer-sponsored health insurance plan. Health insurance coverage is no longer required, but it’s important to have health insurance to cover your annual exams, prescriptions, emergencies, and more. Enter your ZIP code below to get cheap quotes for individual health insurance plans from local companies near you.

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Natasha McLachlan is a writer who currently lives in Southern California. She is an alumna of California College of the Arts, where she obtained her B.A. in Writing and Literature. Her current work revolves around insurance guides and informational articles. She truly enjoys helping others learn more about everyday, practical matters through her work.

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Laura Walker graduated college with a BS in Criminal Justice with a minor in Political Science. She married her husband and began working in the family insurance business in 2005. She became a licensed agent and wrote P&C business focusing on personal lines insurance for 10 years. Laura serviced existing business and wrote new business. She now uses her insurance background to help educate...

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Reviewed by Laura Walker
Former Licensed Agent

UPDATED: Jul 16, 2021

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After the Affordable Care Act passed into law, the possibilities for people without employer-sponsored health insurance began to open up. To get a better idea of what is available and who can qualify, here are a
few common questions about individual health insurance.

Am I required to have insurance?

You are not required to have health insurance yet. Former President Trump withdrew the Affordable Care Act’s requirement for healthcare coverage. Those without insurance are no longer required to pay more on their taxes, but you will end up paying more at the doctor’s office or hospital without a policy.

I have a “pre-existing condition.” Can I get insurance now?

Yes, the Affordable Care Act makes it illegal for health insurance companies to reject applicants due to pre-existing conditions.

Can my insurance be canceled because I made a mistake on the application?

As of September 23, 2010, insurance companies are no longer allowed to cancel a person’s health insurance because of administrative or unintentional errors on their insurance applications.

You can still be dropped for falsifying information, but not for making an “honest mistake.”

Can I get free health insurance?

The only free health insurance plan is Medicaid, and qualification for that coverage is determined by the laws that govern health insurance in your state. You may be eligible for tax subsidies if you are not able to pay for coverage on your own.

To qualify for those, you will have to meet certain criteria, but the basic idea is that you can get assistance if you make less than 400% of the national poverty level income.

How long can my child be covered on my insurance?

Beginning in September of 2010, you can continue to include your child, or add them back onto your health insurance coverage until they are 26 years old. There is no requirement for the child to be enrolled in school, a limiting factor that most insurance companies have used up until the new law went into effect.

Will my individual health insurance have lifetime coverage limits?

Another benefit of the law that went into effect in 2010 is that insurance companies are no longer able to impose lifetime limits on any type of essential health care. Keep in mind that this law only applies to essential services, or those that could adversely affect your health if you do not get them.

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