What if You Don’t Get Group Health Insurance Through your Work?
Although most individuals who are employed get their group health insurance through their place of employment, that is not the case for everyone. Some people only work part-time, or perhaps they work for a small business that is not required to offer group health insurance to their employees. Another possible scenario is those individuals who are self-employed. Approximately 65% of Georgia’s residents get their benefits through their employer sponsored group health insurance. That means that 35% still has to figure out a way to get health insurance.
There are a few other options if you want to get group health insurance. There are some organizations that offer group health insurance plans, such as fraternities, or non-profit organizations. This is often difficult to find, however. Sometimes, you may also be able to enroll in your spouse’s group health insurance plan, if he or she receives benefits through work. There are some big advantages to group health insurance that make some individuals try to obtain it, rather than purchasing an individual or family health insurance plan through the private insurance market. The main advantage is that if you qualify to enroll in a group health insurance plan, you cannot be denied coverage because of a pre-existing medical problem, or poor current health. This can be a huge problem for someone who, for example, was successfully treated for cancer in the past and is currently in remission. Or for someone who has diabetes or asthma. These types of medical conditions will not preclude an individual from enrolling in a group health insurance plan, but they may lead to a denial or higher premiums, if they were to apply for an individual health insurance policy.
However, maybe getting group health insurance is not an option for you. You will then have to purchase an individual or family health insurance policy for yourself and your family members from the private health insurance market. There are advantages to this option too. The main one is that individual or family health insurance plans are more inexpensive than group health insurance plans. The reason for this is that group health insurance plans have to accept any qualified person, regardless of their health. Therefore, the outgoing expenses are higher for group health insurance plans. For an individual policy, the health insurance provider can deny the applications of anyone they consider to be high risk. Therefore, they can keep costs down, which translates into lower premiums for all members of an individual health insurance plan. In other words, if you compare the same policy side by side, with the only difference whether it is offered as an individual or a group health insurance plan, the individual policy should have a lower premium.
When filling out applications for individual health insurance policies, you will have to complete a brief questionnaire about your health, and the health of your family. A similar application process is required for group health insurance policies. That part of the process is similar regardless of the type of plan. The other similarity is that you will find the same big national health insurance carriers offer both kinds of plans. So if you have had a group health insurance plan with Coventry or Cigna in the past, you may still contact those companies to find an individual or family health insurance plan. Therefore, your network of preferred physicians may stay the same. Of course, many different health insurance companies contract with the same physicians, so just because you have to switch carriers does not necessarily mean that you will have to switch physicians.
Regardless of whether you have a group health insurance plan, or an individual plan, be sure that you and your family are covered.