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High deductibles, premiums, and co-pays. Riders exclude coverage for preexisting conditions. Visit www.eHealthinsurance.com to compare policies from different companies. The National Association of Health Underwriters Web site lists agents (firstname.lastname@example.org). Georgetown University Health Policy Institute offers state-by-state information on consumer protections in the individual insurance market (www.healthinsuranceinfo.net).
Comprehensive temporary insurance (30 to 365 days, depending on state law) for catastrophic costs. Affordable premiums, but preexisting health conditions and preventive care aren’t covered. May use your own doctors and hospital. Be sure to calculate the out-of-pocket costs of such a policy.
Small Business or Association Plan
Lower premium option offered to members. Association must serve purpose other than insurance. Not required to offer same premium rate to all, and rates can rise rapidly. Not subject to state regulations mandating coverage for specific diseases or conditions. For more information, visit the National Association for the Self-Employed Web site at www.nase.org.
High-Deductible Plan with Health Savings Account
Lower premiums. Annual out-of-pocket expenses can’t exceed $5,500 for an individual, or $11,000 for a family. Federal minimum family deductible of $2,200, but $5,000-$10,000 deductibles are common. Deposits to an interest-bearing savings account are deductible; withdrawals are tax-free. Funds roll over annually. Preexisting conditions may apply. Some accounts have fees or service charges. Visit http://personalinsure.about.com/od/health.
State High-Risk Insurance Pool
29 states insure persons who are denied coverage, are charged much higher premiums, or are offered coverage with an elimination rider. According to Commonwealth Fund, average premium is $3,083, with deductibles ranging from $1,000 to $10,000. Many set lifetime and annual benefit caps. See Georgetown University’s Web site (listed above) or call your state insurance office to find out if your state offers a pool