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How to Get Health Insurance If You’re Not In a Group Plan

By Jason Markum

Insurance is a tricky thing. It can be complicated in the best of circumstances and in the worst of circumstances it can be almost indescribably difficult to figure out. The cost of everything in this country is skyrocketing daily it seems. And health care costs in particular are shooting right through the roof and don’t show any signs of coming down anytime soon.

When you factor in the fact that he health insurance bill that was winding through Congress seems to be completely dead as of February 2010, it doesn’t look like there’s going to be any end in sight to the high costs of health care and especially health insurance.

That might not bother you if you have a good job that offers health insurance. These sorts of group plans are less expensive because they cover so many people in your company. What happens if you don’t work for a large company that offers health insurance, or you own your own business, or are some sort of independent contractor of some kind? How do you get health insurance? How can you even afford health insurance?

The fact of the matter is, health insurance is prohibitively expensive for individuals not covered by a group plan. There are some ways around that, and I’m going to discuss them in this article today.

If you have to get health insurance as an individual, or for your family consider an HMO. HMO stands for health maintenance organization. Information on HMOs can be found online as well as through the health Association of America which is located in Washington DC.

If you choose not to use an HMO for your insurance needs, then your next best bet is probably Blue Cross/Blue Shield. In my experience Blue Cross Blue Shield is a fairly decent insurance to use and is available widely throughout the country. For instance if you live in Illinois, you will probably go with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois, and so on.

If you can’t afford either of these two options then you may look into Medicaid. Finding information on Medicaid can be difficult sometimes. The best way I’ve found to get the information you need is simply to contact your local social services agency in the state that you live. They can usually point you in the right direction give you all the information you need and sometimes even help signing you up.

If you are 65 years old or older, parts A and B of Medicare is something you’re gonna want to look into. Again, your local social security office can give you more information and point you in the right direction.

One final suggestion, if you currently work for a company that offers group health insurance and you’re thinking of leaving the company for any number of reasons, contact your plan administrator and ask them about conversion into an individual policy. Sometimes group plans will allow you to convert your plan into an individual policy and sometimes this can be a viable option for many people.

However you go about it, getting insurance is one of the most important aspects of our lives and something you should put considerable effort into solving.

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