Buying health insurance in 2024?
February 18, 2024 1:16 PM   Subscribe

How does one find and purchase decent health insurance coverage on the U.S. open market in 2024?

Hello AxMe, I'm an independent contractor whose last full-time W2 job ended a bit over a year ago. My COBRA coverage will expire in a couple of months, meaning that I'll soon need to engage with our fine country's retail health insurance marketplace. I live in Missouri, if it's relevant, and am a healthy middle-aged male without any chronic health conditions. I'd like decent PPO-style coverage. What's the best way to tackle this? Tips and suggestions? Lay it on me.
posted by killdevil to Health & Fitness (5 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Go to or call them at 1-800-318-2596. Your loss of COBRA coverage counts as a "Loss of Minimum Essential Coverage" and qualifies you to enroll outside of the open enrollment period, in a "special enrollment period". You can take a look at the plans available to you and an estimate of the cost, based on your family size and estimated modified adjusted gross income for the next tax year, at Look at the plans' "Summary of Benefits" or "Plan Brochure" to see the specific copay/co-insurance rates for medical care and pharmaceuticals, and check the site to see if your particular doctors are accepted by a plan you're considering.
posted by Theiform at 1:29 PM on February 18 [10 favorites]

Go to or call them at 1-800-318-2596.

This. is all you need to know. Their customer service people are top-notch, and genuinely eager to find you the coverage that works best for you. Chances are good, too, that you’ll qualify for some level of assistance, making things far more affordable than buying retail.
posted by Thorzdad at 2:36 PM on February 18 [3 favorites]


There will be a lot of plans to choose from; it will be annoying and tedious to look through their costs and benefits and pick one. But the people who designed the site actually did try to make it as easy and transparent as it can be under our current system.

I was in a similar situation a few years ago - needing to purchase my own insurance after years getting it through an employer - and I was pleasantly surprised. Still extremely annoyed, but pleasantly surprised.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 3:09 PM on February 18 [2 favorites]

If you won't get a subsidy from, you should also call your current insurance company and ask them to give you a quote for continuing your coverage with them. It's called a "conversion" from a group plan to an individual plan but they can't reject you or put limits on the plan for pre-existing conditions.
posted by metahawk at 3:56 PM on February 18 [3 favorites]

In Missouri, you go through Some states (like California) have set up their own market and website. Other states (like Missouri) rely on the federal government's site.
posted by Nelson at 7:36 AM on February 19

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