How to Obtain Individual Health Insurance

If you are self-employed, you can begin by looking for an “individual” health insurance policy – that is, one that covers only you and/or your dependents (as opposed to a “group” policy, which covers your employees).
Be warned: Individual health insurance can be expensive, especially with the ACA becoming law. Since insurance companies can no longer take medical history into account in approving a policy or setting premiums, healthy and not-so-healthy people pay similar rates. This, in theory, tends to drive premium rates up somewhat for the healthy and lowers those of the less healthy so all can end up paying similar rates.
Generally, you can find individual health policies in one of two ways:
  1. Call an independent agent or broker who specializes in health insurance. You may want to ask your colleagues, peers, and friends to recommend someone.
  2. Search online for your state’s health insurance exchange, which was created expressly in accordance with the ACA. If your state doesn’t have a health exchange, visit the federal government’s site and click on “Get Coverage.”
NOTE: Some lower-income individuals may qualify for premium subsidies or cost-sharing subsidies. If you are one of them, you can only receive these subsidies through a state or federal health insurance exchange.

Game Plan

Before you take the step of choosing and applying for individual health insurance, you may want to arm yourself with the necessary knowledge to make a wise choice for you and/or your family. One helpful site is
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