How to Compare Health Insurance for the Self-Employed

When you work for someone else, you may be offered health insurance coverage through that employer. When you strike out on your own, you must find your own health insurance, and maybe coverage for family members. The cost of an individual health insurance policy can vary quite a bit. Consider a number of factors when shopping for the protection you need.

1. Consider the type of insurance you need. Decide whether you require individual or family coverage. Decide what you need from a policy. If coverage for routine doctor visits is important, choose a comprehensive health insurance policy. If you feel the main purpose of insurance is to protect you during a catastrophic illness, a high-deductible plan may present the best value.

2. Visit your bank representative. Ask about opening a health savings account. The cost of a health savings account, or HSA, may be deductible on your tax return. This deduction can potentially save you a lot of money. Use the funds deposited to the HSA to pay for health care expenses not covered by your insurance plan.

3. Consult the website of the National Association of Health Underwriters. This organization provides a large amount of information on individual health insurance plans. You will also find a list of brokers in your area. Access the website by pointing your browser to

4. Contact several insurance brokers in your area. Explain your health insurance needs. The more information the broker has, the more likely she will be able to help you find the right policy.

5. Compare the insurance premiums carefully. Take into account each policy’s benefits, the deductible levels and the maximum out-of-pocket costs. If a low premium is your paramount concern, and you need the policy for catastrophic coverage, a high-deductible plan is probably for you. If you are uncomfortable with high-out-of pocket expenses, the better coverage of a comprehensive plan may be worth the extra cost.

6. Narrow your choices down to a list of four or five firms. Contact each company for a list of local providers to see if your current doctor participates in the plan. If you do need to change doctors, contact providers in your area. Ask the physicians if they are accepting new patients.

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