Right now, millions of Americans are without medical coverage. This situation is leading many to wonder how they can purchase private health insurance for themselves.
Medical debt can be devastating and is a significant contributor to people needing to file for bankruptcy. One hospitalization can cost tens of thousands of dollars or more. If tests or procedures are necessary, the bill can skyrocket. Even outpatient costs can be shockingly high if there is no medical insurance in place.
Lake Region Insurance Agency is proud to serve its neighbors in Greater Minnesota. Our independent brokers are not tied to one company or product to find the right fit for you.
Our health insurance products cover individuals, families, and businesses. Let us assist you in making a sound and informed decision about your health insurance needs. Call today for an insurance review or quote.
Purchase Private Health Insurance on the Marketplace
Private health insurance is medical coverage that does not come through an employer. Job-based insurance only remains while you work for that employer. If your job ends, you are no longer eligible for their group health insurance plans.
To buy your own policy, it is best to work with an independent insurance broker to find the right option. Most people who need private insurance go through the health insurance marketplace. It has information about the available options and how to buy insurance. In Minnesota, the marketplace used to purchase private health insurance is MNSure.
By using the marketplace, also known as the health insurance exchange, you may receive credits to lower your private health insurance premiums. Brokers help find the plan that will cover your needs and give you the full assistance for which you qualify.
Typically, you need to provide documentation of your household’s income. So the exchange may ask for pay stubs and tax returns to verify your eligibility for the marketplace policies.
If you qualify for low-income or free health insurance, you will not purchase coverage from the marketplace. In this case, insurance options will be available through a government-sponsored program such as Medical Assistance or Minnesota Care. The Department of Human Services manages these programs.
Affordable Care Act
All plans offered on the health insurance marketplace meet the Affordable Care Act (ACA) baseline for benefit standards. The ACA is the legislation that provides financial help in the form of tax credits or subsidies when buying insurance.
Individuals and families have to fall within specified income ranges to qualify, and it can be quite confusing to understand all the intricacies. Though you can shop and compare plans yourself, many people prefer to work with an independent broker. This step can bring significant peace of mind.
Open Enrollment Periods for Private Health Insurance
Every year, the health insurance exchange has a designated open enrollment period when you can purchase new coverage. In most states, this period runs from the beginning of November through mid-December, but be sure to check with your broker for specific dates.
You could be eligible for a special enrollment period if you experience a qualifying life event. These events include:
- Job Loss – Even if you leave a job voluntarily, if it causes you to lose insurance, you likely will be eligible for a special enrollment period.
- Finishing College – Many students are on their parent’s medical plan. But once they are no longer in school, they must get their own coverage.
- Divorce – If you had insurance under a spouse’s plan, you might be able to enroll in a new policy outside of open enrollment.
- Moving Towns – Some insurance plans only cover specific areas. If you move outside your insurer’s service area, you should be eligible for special enrollment.
- Family Size Changes – A special enrollment period begins if you have a child, adopt a child, or a child moves out of your household.
Typically, you have 60 days from the qualifying life event to purchase a new plan. Your broker will be able to help with this.
Private Health Insurance Company Options
You also can purchase your medical coverage directly from an insurance company rather than through the exchange. If you don’t qualify for subsidies or don’t want to take advantage of them, this can be a simpler path.
Your independent agent will work with you to determine the right fit. They will look at your preferred doctors and hospitals and any medications you need to cover. Then they show you the options available and help you choose one and enroll.
How To Choose the Right Private Health Insurance Plan
There is a lot to consider when selecting a plan. For most people, they will have the policy for at least a year due to enrollment restrictions. So, you want to find the best option for your needs.
It is helpful to estimate your current healthcare costs before you purchase private health insurance for your family. Having a clear picture of ongoing medications and treatments will guide you as you select a coverage plan.
Using an Insurance Broker
The health insurance world is confusing. Whether you use the marketplace or not, it is challenging for non-experts to know all of the intricacies of different options.
An independent broker will help remove the confusion. They do this all day long and understand all the jargon and terminology. And they can look at all available plans quickly to give you the best information possible.
When working with an agent, be ready to provide the following information:
- Preferred Providers
- Preferred Hospitals or Facilities
- List of Prescription Drug Needs
- List of Ongoing Therapies – physical, speech, occupational, etc.
Your health insurance broker will be able to save you time and money while they search for the perfect product to meet your needs.
Let Us Help You with This Critical Piece
Do not risk financial devastation by going without health insurance. Let the Lake Region Insurance Agency team find the right fit for your circumstances.
Our friendly staff has been caring for our neighbors in Willmar, Cokato, and New London, MN, for years. Stop in or give us a call today to get started on finding your next medical policy.