People in the United States that are part of a private medical insurance plan typically get access to the plan through their employee benefits. Many employers in the United States offer at least two to three medical coverage options that employees can choose when they join a company and once again each year as part of that company’s open enrollment period for benefits selection for the next year.
For those Americans that do not have access to health insurance through an employer or that do not qualify for government provided health coverage plans like Medicaid or Medicare, medical coverage is a choice between options offered through individual medical insurance plans. Until recently, purchasing individual medical insurance was not as advantageous as getting it through an employer. The primary reason that employer-based options have been better in general is that with these plans, there is no insurance underwriting for the individual. In other words, when you sign up upon joining a company or during your company’s open enrollment period, you are in the plan – you are not required to have a health check and there are no restrictions of coverage based on prior medical problems.
Until recently, your preexisting medical conditions and history could make it harder or near impossible to get coverage from the private medical insurance market. However, with the recent passage of “The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act”, this is changing. Starting now, children cannot be denied coverage from a private medical insurer because of a medical condition and state’s are opening high risk insurance pools for adults that cannot get private medical insurance on the individual market because of their medical conditions. In 2014, no individual can be turned away from purchasing an individual medical insurance plan because of a medical condition and there will be controls on the premiums these people are charged in attempt to keep this coverage affordable.
In summary, recent health care legislation in the United States is making it so purchasing individual medical insurance is closer to the same advantages that people who have access to health insurance through their jobs have always had. If you need to purchase medical insurance on the individual market, pay close attention to the changes that are being phased in with the recent health care reform, and understand how to use these new laws to your advantage when searching for the best private medical insurance options for you and your family.