Where do I start with purchasing individual health insurance?
June 12, 2012 6:32 AM Subscribe
Where do I start with purchasing individual health insurance? I lose my current coverage on July 31, and I've been avoiding dealing with this for as long as possible. Right now, I feel a bit overwhelmed, and don't know what information to trust or where to start.
posted by anonymous to health & fitness (11 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
So - how do I do this? What should I expect? Do I apply to a bunch of companies and see what premiums they quote me? Any I should avoid? Is there some reputable central clearinghouse for policies? What do I need to look out for? What information do I need to gather before applying?
I'd even be willing to pay somebody familiar with Texas policies and regulations to help with this, but that just shifts the problem from dealing with insurance companies to finding somebody I trust to be informed and honest ...
I'm sorry if the following is TMI ... I'm posting anonymously for obvious reasons and wanted to cover everything.
* I'm taking a leave of absence from grad school. I'll be bouncing around for the next year or two, until I either go back to school or settle down with a full-time job with benefits.
* I have a job lined up in Texas from August through March, but I have idea where I'll end up after that. I can use my dad's address as a permanent residence in Texas, if need be, but the plan has to cover doctors wherever I end up.
* As soon as I start my short-term job in Texas I'll have to undergo a pretty intensive physical ... so I feel like I need to get insurance now that I'd be happy to keep for years, just in case something turns up. If the premiums aren't ruinous, I may even keep it once I'm back in a more stable situation, because having health insurance tied to my school or job makes me feel trapped.
* I'm not eligible for COBRA, and the "conversion plan" I am eligible for is rather expensive. If I have to, I'll find a way to pay it, but ... it'd hurt a lot. I make too much to qualify for any income-based assistance, but not enough for $600/month to be easy.
Details about my health:
* I've had health insurance my whole life.
* 26, F. Normal blood pressure & cholesterol.
* I'm currently obese. It's been a stressful term, but I could probably lose 10 pounds by the end of July to get my BMI back in the overweight range if it'll make a difference. Worth stressing about?
* I have a heart murmur. About 6-7 years ago I got it checked out, and it's entirely benign.
* I saw a shrink for ~ 6 sessions last year because I was really struggling to get my work done. No meds.
* I was treated for acne a bit over a year ago, and am happy with the results. However, I still use a prescription face wash. It's not available over the counter, and would cost me ~$800/year out-of-pocket.
* I've had various appointments for sports-type injuries, but nothing major. (Well, the doctor freaked out about a potential head injury and ordered MRI and CAT scans, when I went in for a sore neck ... that's by far the worst)