Are There Any Health Insurance Options for Me?
The need to purchase a health insurance plan of your own tends to make you one of the unwanted children of the medical insurance marketplace…The employees of smaller firms unable or unwilling to offer health benefits, the self-employed, those of us who are lingering between jobs, the recently divorced or widowed, young adults moving off of their parents’s health plans or early retirees — all need to buy an individual or family policy and are entering into a peril-fraught marketplace where good advice and reasonable prices are scarce.
Nationally there are not too many health carriers interested in offering their products to individuals such as those described above, and their reasons for that are fairly straightforward. With employer paid plans, the premiums of the healthier tend to cover the claims of the ill. But, with individual health plans, there are no alternate revenue streams and as a direct result, many health insurers claim that even a high premium won’t cover their costs if you fall ill or have an accident.
Many carriers try to avoid writing individual health policies. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t good deals to be found, but just as with any other marketplace, effective comparison shopping will be essential.
What options do I have in Illinois?
If you live in Illinois you are fortunate because there are a wide variety of carriers offering individual policies to the self employed and uninsured. Aetna, Assurant, BCBSIL, Celtic, Golden Rule, and Humana all offer solid choices for the individual, or self employed consumer. Look carefully at the ratings of the company, be sure they have an “A-” rating or higher. Having a B+ carrier or lower doesn’t mean the health plan or company is in trouble, but it could mean they are a prime takeover target whose plans may be discontinued in the future which could leave you in the lurch.
Companies can’t terminate you, but they can terminate themselves, and that can you leave you uninsured. The collapse of Conseco Health left many people with pre ex out in the cold only a few years ago, make sure your provider is going to around for the long haul.
What to Look Out for When Getting and Staying Insured
Coverage for Pre-Existing Illnesses: The majority of individual policies must be medically underwritten. What that means is providers will take a closer than average look at your medical records, turning you down if you have a condition posing too much risk. 12 months restrictions for pre ex are standard for carriers in Illinois.
It’s not odd that most insurers would deny coverage to anyone with a serious condition, but if you are faced with the sort of provider who also turns down applicants suffering from ailments as minor as ear infections, you may want to look elsewhere.
If you can’t get coverage the Chips plan sponsored by the State of Illinois and administered currently by BCBSIL is a good option.