how to buy health insurance

Coinsurance is pegged at 30 percent or more in this plan for virtually every costly service, so in addition to your premium and deductible, you’ll be responsible for nearly one-third of every medical cost you accrue, from brand-name drugs to ER care.
But you can’t plan your illnesses, so how can you know how much insurance you might need? The ever-rising cost of healthcare, moreover, has driven insurers and employers to shift much more of the burden to policyholders through higher deductibles and coinsurance and slapping copays onto more services.
Best Health Insurance Plans helps you spot these tripwires in advance by in some cases giving higher ratings to plans that clearly describe their cost sharing.
The out-of-pocket limit also doesn’t include coinsurance on prescriptions, physician visits, hospital stays, or any other medical expense.

Aetna Health Plans for Individuals, Families and the Self-Employed are underwritten by Aetna Life Insurance Company (Aetna).
Important note: Do not cancel your current health insurance until you have been notified of your approval for this new plan.
With your application, please submit payment for your first month of coverage (this is the amount indicated in your price quote).
Health benefits and health insurance plans contain exclusions and limitations.
In some states, individuals may qualify as a business group of one and may be eligible for guaranteed issue, small group health plans.
Important note: We will charge your credit card or deposit your check ONLY if your application is approved.
But if you have to buy health insurance on your own, it’s important to understand the process.
Before making a final decision to purchase a policy, closely review the full plan explanation, sometimes called the certificate of coverage or the evidence of coverage, and seek help from the Web brokerage’s agents or other experts if you don’t understand it.
In many cases, you can also redirect the flow of commissions tied to your plan to your new agent by informing the health insurer that you want to designate a new agent of record.
Check with your state regulator that an agent has a valid license and a clean record, and make sure health insurance isn’t a sideline or a new specialty.
First, make sure you’re actually buying insurance, not some other product such as a discount card – one key way to tell is by checking with your state regulator that the company selling the product is considered a legitimate insurer.
If you are going to buy your own insurance, start your research with Web sites that explain the basics, such as, sponsored by the Georgetown University Health Policy Institute, and, from the nonprofit National Health Program.
They will help you understand the concepts and language of health insurance, which aren’t always easy to grasp, and should give you some sense of the questions to ask about any plan.
Then you can noodle around on Web-based brokerages that sell health insurance, including,, and You can get estimates based on limited anonymous information.
The Blue Cross and Blue Shield System consists of 37 independently operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield member companies, a Federal Employee Program® and an Association, which serves the collective needs of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans.
The BlueCross BlueShield Association is an association of independent, locally operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans.
Media Center › See the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association’s news updates, press releases and media resources.
Let’s take a look at how ObamaCare affects buying health care plans, different ways to buy health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, how to understand terms like deductibles, out-of-pocket maximums, HMOs, and HSAs and how to choose the plan that has the right benefits, networks, costs and coverage for you and your family.
Even though all plans come with new essential health benefits only the specific preventive services are included with no out-of-pocket costs before you meet your deductible! The better your plan, the cheaper it will be to take full advantage of your health insurance policy and your doctor network.
You can compare and buy different types of "Qualified Health Plans" on your State’s health insurance marketplace or purchase a traditional private insurance plan outside of the marketplace either directly through the insurer or a broker.
Shoppers can also use the health insurance marketplace to compare health plan benefits, networks, costs and coverage from competing providers.
When looking at health plans you will be comparing networks of providers—doctors, hospitals, laboratories, imaging centers, and pharmacies that have signed contracts with the insurance company agreeing to provide their services to plan members at a specific price.
Using your State’s Health Insurance Marketplace to buy and compare health plans: Most Americans can use their State’s health insurance marketplace to buy and compare health plans.
• Make sure to do your research before you buy your health insurance for 2014, although most plans will count as "minimum essential coverage" and thus will exempt you from the individual mandate there are types insurance that don’t count including limited coverage for dental and vision only.
This applies to all plans sold through your State’s health insurance marketplace.
If you don’t qualify for cost-assistance and want someone to help you compare and understand plans then a broker could be the best option for buying health insurance.
• There are three ways to buy health insurance in 2014 1) Your State’s Health Insurance Marketplace 2) A Broker 3) Direct from a provider.
Learn more about the types of plans sold on the health insurance marketplace.
This is true for health care plans purchased on or off of the health insurance marketplace.
Click on the image at right for tips on choosing a health insurance plan.
Click on the image at right for our tips on maximizing your health insurance plan.
Click on the image at right for a quick lesson in understanding health insurance.
Click on the image at right for rankings of health insurance plans nationwide.
And use our health insurance rankings to look for the plan that is right for you based on where you live, your circumstances, and the kind of coverage you think you need.
One in five Americans are now enrolled in Medicaid, the government’s health insurance program for low-income people, as well as many people who are disabled or live in nursing homes.
Which health insurance plan is right for you depends on many factors, most notably your age,  whether you are employed, and whether your employer offers you insurance or you have to buy on your own.
Your health insurance options vary depending on whether you have a job, have to buy insurance your own, are 25 or younger, or have a pre-existing medical condition, like a history of asthma or heart disease.
Choosing a health insurance plan that’s right for you starts with understanding how insurance works.
Medicare offers comprehensive health insurance coverage to people 65 and older.
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Compare prices from the web's best health insurance carriers.
State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company offers various types of affordable family health insurance, so you can choose the plan that best suits your personal situation.
Supplements primary health insurance coverage by providing you with a pre-determined benefit amount for those extra, unbudgeted expenses that arise.
Primary medical insurance coverage, designed for people who don’t have this type of coverage through their employer or another group.
Completion of an application for a State Farm insurance policy will require contact with a State Farm agent/insurance producer.
© Copyright, State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company, 2014.
Another factor you will want to consider in your health insurance comparison is the plan’s coinsurance–the amount your carrier expects you to pay toward your medical expenses-typically this is 20-30% for in-network providers.
Perhaps the most basic number to consider before buying health insurance, your premium is the amount you must pay each month for your policy.
For instance, if you get a health insurance plan with a higher deductible policy, your premium will be lower, but you will have to pay more money out of pocket before your insurance kicks in.
Buying health insurance will always involve some amount of out of pocket maximum.
After you get health insurance, your plan will pay out a certain amount over your lifetime.
Some plans do not include prescription drug benefits-you’ll want to keep this in mind while you make your health insurance comparison.
Highmark can help you learn more about cost savings, “metal level” plans, essential health benefits and other aspects of health care terminology.
Highmark offers many plan options for individuals and families looking for affordable coverage, without compromising on quality or access to the doctors and health service providers that matter most.
Buying health insurance online in Delaware (DE), Pennsylvania (PA), and West Virginia (WV) is quick and easy, and we have resources to help you weigh cost, coverage, and network considerations.
The dollar amount you must pay each benefit period (usually a year) for your health care expenses before your plan begins to pay.
Our Tax Savings Estimator tool will even help you find out if you might qualify for lower premium costs before you visit the government’s Health Insurance Marketplace.
This website contains links to third-party websites and resources, including without limitation, the Health Insurance Marketplace website (collectively, “Linked Sites”).
A fixed, upfront dollar amount (for example, $25) that you pay each time you receive certain health care services.
Our provider networks give members superior quality care close to home and on the road – including cancer care, rehabilitation services, behavioral health, emergency care, women’s health and children’s care.
As the costs of health care continue to rise, having coverage will help protect you against costly bills if you get sick or injured.
The specific period of time during which charges for covered services must be incurred in order to be eligible for payment by the health plan.
For example, if you have a $500 deductible, that’s the amount you will pay before your provider will pay for service under your health coverage plan.
The amount can vary based on the type of health care service you receive, such as filling a prescription drug, seeing your doctor or visiting a specialist.
A Primary Care Provider (PCP) is the medical professional who provides a patient’s care and helps them access a range of health services.
Doctors, hospitals, clinics, labs, and other providers that a health insurer has contracted with to provide health care services to its members.
Further, any information regarding any health plan will be subject to the terms of its particular health plan benefit agreement and some health plans may not be available in every state.
The dollar amount you pay for your health insurance or plan.
Shoppers who opt to buy insurance without using the exchanges still need to compare plans carefully to make sure they’re getting the right coverage for their needs and that the network includes doctors with whom you have an ongoing relationship.
“People who aren’t eligible for subsidies are increasingly turning to options other than to purchase plans,” says Jennifer Kowalski, a vice president with Avalere Health, a research and consulting firm.
Consumers who make too much money (about $46,000 for one person or $94,000 for a family of four) to qualify for federal insurance subsidies have always had the option of purchasing off-exchange plans.
“The exchanges are not the be all and end all of buying health insurance,” says Dave Mordo, vice president of education, compliance and Medicare operations for New Jersey-based broker Walsh Benefits.
Open enrollment runs through March 31, but consumers need to purchase insurance by December 15 in order for coverage to kick in by the first of the year.
Many carriers sell the same plans both on and off of the exchanges, but other insurers offer plans with slightly different pricing and coverage than those sold on the exchanges.
Consumers who want to use a subsidy to buy insurance must purchase a plan that’s offered online.
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Lisa Lettenmaier owns Healthsource Northwest, an insurance agency near Tigard.  She believes young people who currently don’t have health insurance aren’t signing up for it through Cover Oregon, or even directly with insurance companies, for three reasons: many who are younger than 26 are staying on, or being added to, their parents’ insurance plans; many don’t see the cost benefit of paying a monthly fee for a plan when they’re healthy, and already living paycheck-to-paycheck; and many young people don’t qualify for a tax credit, which would reduce their monthly premiums.
People looking for health insurance in 2015 have two options: Buying plans through the state’s health insurance exchange or “off” the exchange.
On the other hand, some plans sold outside the exchange are likely to have broader networks of health care providers.
The health law and creation of exchanges intended to allow people to comparison-shop for health plans led some people to think that the role of insurance brokers was diminishing.
She suggested that people who want those types of services might want to consider plans that offer coverage for providers that aren’t in their network.
But brokers and consumer advocates said the changes associated with the health law and the complicated nature of picking insurance plans have reinforced the need for their help.
The exchange, called Access Health CT, offers individual insurance policies sold by Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, ConnectiCare, HealthyCT and UnitedHealthcare.
Different plans have their own list of drugs that will be covered, known as formularies, so people should make sure the plans they’re considering cover any medications they take, experts say.
As part of the health reform law, the federal government requires all health insurers to make information about their plans available in a standardized, plain-language summary of benefits and coverage form, known an SBC.
Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield and ConnectiCare have different networks for their exchange plans and their plans sold off the exchange.
Plans offered on the exchange are also available to people who want to buy them outside the exchange.
People can buy those “off-exchange” plans through a broker or through an insurance company directly.