Individual health care insurance provides coverage for only one individual, or family. In general, individual plans are more expensive than group insurance. You can obtain individual plans directly from a company who offers them. The company with whom you apply will evaluate you from a health standpoint, in terms of how much risk you present to them. Usually, they’ll provide a questionnaire for you to fill out, asking various questions about your current and past health history. They will determine your risk accordingly, from which a premium will be generated.
Things to look for:
Most individual plans fall under managed health care plans. Under this, you can opt for an HMO, PPO, or POS plan.
Your insurer cannot cancel your coverage if you become sick. If you continue to pay your insurance premium, coverage continues.
If available, group insurance is generally a better option, since it is usually more comprehensive and less expensive than individual insurance. However, individual coverage is ultimately better than being uninsured in the event of illness or injury. Although you may think you can do without health insurance, you are taking a major risk if you choose not to get coverage. An unexpected illness or serious injury can put you and your family under financial stress.
In a group insurance situation, the provisions of the policy are negotiated between the insurer and master policy owner (usually an employer or association). With individual insurance, you are directly in control of your policy. You can negotiate to have certain provisions included or excluded, and you can often choose your deductible amount and co-payment percentage. Keep in mind, however, that these things will have an effect on your premiums.