YOU ASK:

How much do you pay for individual health insurance?

WE ANSWER:

Well, at the moment, you can expect to pay approximately $300 monthly on a policy with average benefits. This is for an individual plan that has no deductibles but also does not cover maternity benefits. For an insurance plan that has a deductible of $1000, that would cost around $150 to $200 a month.

Actually, premiums are based on several factors so we could not give you a ballpark figure on how much you as an individual can expect to pay for health insurance coverage. Such factors will include your income, your occupation, your employment status, the location of your residency and your age.

One thing's for sure, though. It will be more expensive to get individual health insurance than one from your employer, since you will be paying all of the premiums, in contrast with employer-sponsored plans where the employer foots part of the bill.

The good news is that when the health care reform program is fully implemented, you will have a wider range of choices. There will be a health insurance exchange that will provide a more comprehensive coverage. Health insurance providers will also be there to give you additional choices. Also, premiums will no longer be based on your health condition. That means that the insurance company can't raise your premiums just because you have an existing health problem or if you have made previous claims against your insurance.

However when you consider how much you pay for health insurance, you should look at the other related costs, such as deductibles and co-payments. These are what you will pay out-of-pocket when you make a claim. The insurance will only kick in after the deductible is met and aside from that, the insurance will only pay up to the agreed percentage of coverage.

For instance, you have a coverage with a $1,000 deductible and 20% co-payment. This means that if your claim is worth $3,000, you will shell out money for the first $1,000 then still pay the co-payment of $400, which is 20% of the next $2,000. The insurance will pay the $1,600.

It is important to consider these factors and not just buy insurance based on premiums. If you have high deductibles and co-payments, premiums will be cheaper but then you will also have additional costs when it is time for you to make a claim.

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