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Pros: Many employers offer multiple, high-quality health plans to choose from. Often these plans offer excellent comprehensive medical coverage. Also, your contribution is taken directly from your paycheck for minimum hassle and maximum benefits.
Cons: You have to actually get a job first. Even when you do, look closely – you may be without coverage for your first 3 to 6 months.
6) Short-term health insurance Some insurance companies sell short-term coverage that allows you to be covered anywhere from 1 to 12 months. Short –term health insurance usually does not cover any previous medical conditions so read fine print. Short-term insurance has a “daily option” which allows you to select exact amount of days you want to be covered so you will not be charged for two whole months if you only need 45 of medical coverage. This might be a great solution for someone who needs temporary coverage until his or her work medical plan kicks in. Warning: Usually there are no refunds or changes once a short-term policy is in force and you must pay whole amount in full if you go for daily option. Before you go with short-term coverage, compare it with an individual coverage plan (#7 below). Sometimes individual coverage is less expensive, more comprehensive and easy to cancel. Remember short-term insurance is not renewable.
Pros: Designed for people who are in-between coverage.
Cons: Can be expensive and coverage is limited and non renewable.
7) Individual Coverage Individual health insurance coverage comes in all shapes and sizes. In California, big name companies such as Blue Cross, Health Net, Pacificare, and Kaiser all offer individual medical insurance. Individual coverage runs gambit as far as cost and comes in two main categories HMOs and PPOs. Your price is based on your age, type of coverage, and where you live. One thing is for sure: They prefer to insure healthy people. Those with pre-existing medical conditions rarely receive lowest rate. On positive note, much has changed since prehistoric days of monumental insurance paperwork and snail mail. Forms that used to take 20 days to fill out and file, can often be completed in about 20 minutes online with e-signatures. To get a quote and see examples of health insurance premiums for you age visit http://www.medicoverage.com/individual.htm .
Pros: Pick plan that works for your needs and budget. Easy to sign up for online
Cons: A comprehensive plan with prescriptions, no charge doctor visits and no deductible can get pricey. Also those with many previous medical conditions are often bumped up to more expensive policies.
8) COBRA While sounding like a bad heavy metal band, COBRA actually stands for Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act. COBRA was designed so that individuals who leave their jobs (read: fired) can still purchase same insurance policy that they had with their previous employer. If you were already covered under your parent’s policy and have recently graduated, you may qualify for COBRA. You must notify your parents plan administrator within 60 days of termination of your coverage (usually graduation from college) and tell them you would like to “elect” Cobra. Cobra coverage can be very expensive, but there are typically no restrictions for pre-existing conditions and coverage can be discontinued after permanent insurance is found. You will be able to use cobra for at least 18 months.
Pros: Coverage will be exactly what you are used to, as it is simply a paid continuation of your previous plan.
Cons: Usually expensive. If more than 60 days have passed since your coverage under your parents’ plan ended, you’ve missed boat.
Eric Scheinbaum has worked in the consumer health insurance industry since 1999. Eric is currently the CEO of http://www.medicoverage.com , a website dedicated to helping individuals select and purchase California health insurance.