Individual California Health Insurance Introduction
A large segment of the so-called "private"
health insurance market is called "Individual and Family" California
health insurance. Of the three segments, (Individual, Group, and
Medicare), it's probably the most dynamic and confusing to people
since on average, people shop for California health insurance every
seven years. Let's take a look at individual health insurance with
the goal being that we want to find the best options while being
armed with insider's guidance to how to navigate this insurance.
Let's begin...so what is individual health insurance?
Individual California health insurance is
insurance that people purchase for themselves under the age of 65.
The age requirement since Medicare generally takes over after age
64. Many people get their insurance through an employer which is
called group health insurance so individual health would be for
people who do not have group health or for whom, group health is not
advantageous which we'll discuss. Who makes us the typical
purchaser of individual health insurance in California?
Most of the shoppers of individual health
insurance are self-employed, retired (under age 65), students, and
those in-between jobs. At first, this might not seem like a large
part of the population but keep in mind that the average size of a
California company is betwen 1-5 employees. We tend to think that
the big corporations of the world drive industry but really, there's
a lot of self-employed construction workers, CPA's, real estate
agents, etc that make up the bulk of Californians. Most of these
people (especially 1099 contract workers) need their own individual
health insurance and the association plans were hit pretty hard by
AB1672 which established guaranteed issue group health insurance.
Many people we speak with are comparing their Cobra option with
individual health plans to see if they can get a better deal (which
they usually can). So how do we get the best rates for individual
health and what's coming with Health Reform?
You can quickly run your instant California
health insurance quote here.
A few key points. For right now, individual health insurance is
medically underwritten (except for children) which means we need to
qualify based on health. The carriers can decline coverage or
increase the rate depending on our health history/status.
Individual health insurance is generally much better priced than
group or Cobra coverage for self-employed or those coming off of
group insurance due to the medical qualification required. We're
lucky in California to have many strong carriers on the individual
market. Anthem Blue Cross, Blue Shield of California, Health Net,
and Aetna all offer many options with HMO's, PPO's, and HSA to
choose from. The networks are pretty extensive and also pretty
similar from carrier but there are differences so it's best to
search our provider directory to make sure you doctor and/or
hospital participates with your plan of choice. When you run your
quote, you'll see dozens of plans to choose from. You can generally
narrow this down pretty quickly to 3-5 plans and we're happy to run
an individual health proposal for you which takes advantage of our
nearly 2 decades in the individual California health market.
Applying for individual health insurance just
requires the online application and will generally take 2-3 weeks to
process. The earliest effective we can choose is 15 days from
submittal of the online app so it's best to start the process in
advance. Payment is required up front with the application for the
1st month of premium (can use credit card) but you have a 10 day
free look window to cancel the policy for a full refund from when
they notify you by mail of your approval. You can cancel individual
California health insurance month to month and there is no long term
contract. There are short term options and "permanent" plans
available. We go through when short term makes sense here. Of
course, we're here to help you in any way so feel free to call or
email us with questions.