Health insurance comes in two basic categories. There is group health insurance, and there is individual health insurance. Which one is right for you? In order to find the answer to that question, you need to know the differences between these two categories of insurance.
What is individual health insurance? This is health insurance that you purchase directly from an insurance company. It can be used to cover just you, or to cover you and your family. The word “individual” simply refers to the fact that you are buying this insurance yourself, and not through an employer provided plan.
If you are self employed, or are working for an employer who does not offer you health insurance benefits, you might need to purchase individual health insurance. It is generally more costly than the group insurance that an employer will provide.
To apply for individual health insurance, you will be required to fill out a detailed questionnaire about your health, and the health of each family member you want the insurance to cover. All of you may be required to undergo a medical examination. From this information, the insurance company will assess how much of a risk you are to cover. If the risk is too high, they might decide to turn you down.
What is group health insurance? It is insurance that is offered to a group of people who all work for the same employer, or organization. It will cover employees, as well as the family members of the employees. Group insurance often is more flexible about what it will cover than individual health insurance will be. It also tends to cost less. This is because the insurance company is able to spread out the cost of covering someone who has a lot of expensive medical needs over the amount of money it charges to all of the people who have the group insurance.
To apply for group health insurance, you usually need to be employed by a large company, corporation, or organization. You must meet the qualifications that your employer has decided upon before you will become eligible to have the insurance. In general, this means you must be employed full time, (or for a specific number of hours per week), and you have to have been an employee of this company for a certain amount of time (for example, six months, or a year). Group insurance will not turn someone down because of pre-existing medical conditions, or because they are seen as a high risk.