Need to buy health insurance in California? Below you’ll find a comprehensive guide to answer all your questions. Before you buy a health insurance policy, be sure to read the information and tips below.
You may be able to buy health insurance throughout the year. However, many health insurance programs require you to enroll during an annual open enrollment period unless you qualify for a special enrollment period. You can also contact a health insurance agent for help.
As of 2017, 93 percent of Californians had health insurance. People in California get their insurance in various ways, including the Marketplace, government programs, employer-based coverage and other private plans.
When shopping for health insurance, Californians have several insurance companies to choose from. Here are a few of the insurance companies offering health plans through Insurance Line One. Your agent can help you see which carriers offer quotes in California.
Buying insurance generally involves completing an application and paying a premium. The details will depend on where you are buying insurance. These are the most common ways people enroll.
Approximately half of the population gets their health insurance through a job. Many employers pay a portion of the costs, which can make this an affordable option. However, not everyone has access to employer-sponsored health insurance.
Under the ACA, large employers must provide full-time employees with affordable health insurance that provides minimum essential coverage. Employers that do not meet this requirement will have to pay a fine. However, people who are not employed full time and people who work for small employers may not have access to employer-sponsored health insurance. If you fall into this group, you have several options for health insurance.
If you are losing your employer-sponsored coverage, you may qualify for COBRA continuation coverage. In California, federal COBRA and Cal-COBRA laws require employers with two or more employees to offer COBRA continuation coverage for 36 months. The downside is that employers can charge beneficiaries 102 percent of premium costs, which includes a 2 percent administrative fee. This means that COBRA insurance can be much more expensive than insurance provided through active employment.
Some people turn to Covered California, the state’s ACA Marketplace Exchange, to purchase insurance. Depending on your financial situation, you may qualify for financial assistance or enrollment in Medi-Cal.
You can also purchase private insurance outside of the Marketplace using a private insurance company like Insurance Line One. An insurance agent can help you find a plan that meets your needs.
Many people need coverage for an entire family.
If you qualify for Medicare based on your age, you will not be able to enroll family members in your plan, although your family members can purchase Medicare coverage separately if they also qualify for coverage. For example, if both you and your spouse are at least 65 years old and qualify for Medicare, you can both enroll. If your spouse is younger than 65, your spouse will not be able to enroll, even if you are eligible.
Other types of health insurance – including employer-sponsored coverage, Marketplace coverage and other private plans – typically provide options for spouse and dependent coverage. This means that you can enroll your spouse and your children in your plan, although you can expect to pay more for family coverage than you would for individual coverage.
In addition to securing coverage for your spouse and children, you may need to find coverage for your parents.
If your parents qualify for Medicare, they can purchase Medicare coverage. Depending on where they live, they will likely have multiple Medicare Advantage and prescription drug plans to choose from.
If your parents do not qualify for Medicare, you may be able to enroll them in your health plan. In order to do this, you will need to establish that your parents qualify as your dependents.
The ACA includes protections for people with pre-existing conditions. Starting January 1, 2014, plans cannot deny coverage or charge more based on pre-existing conditions, although some older plans were grandfathered in and are exempt from this law.
The ACA protections for pre-existing conditions apply to health insurance plans that provide minimum essential coverage. Supplemental plans may have restrictions on pre-existing conditions. Additionally, other types of insurance products may deny coverage or charge more because of pre-existing conditions. This includes life, disability, long-term care and critical illness insurance. Short-term health insurance plans, which are no longer allowed in California, may also place restrictions on pre-existing conditions.
When you apply for health insurance coverage, you will need to provide information about yourself and, if you are applying for family coverage, your family.
Once your application is approved, you will need to pay your premium. Most plans have a monthly premium, so you will need to keep paying your premium bill in order to maintain coverage.
Your insurer will send you a member ID card. You will use this card when you see your doctor, go to the hospital or buy prescription drugs. Keep your member ID card safe. To prevent medical identity fraud, you should be careful about who sees it.
Read over your plan details to make sure you understand how your coverage works.
You may have several health plans to choose from. Although comparing plans can be overwhelming, it’s important to know how plans differ so you can select the plan that is most suitable for your needs. Here are some key policy features to consider:
Health insurance plans can leave many out-of-pocket costs, including deductibles, copays and out-of-network charges. If you experience cancer, heart disease or another critical illness, these costs can add up quickly. At the same time, you may be dealing with lost wages if you have to take time off work to deal with your illness. The resulting financial strain can complicate your recovery.
Critical illness insurance can protect you against the coverage gaps left by health insurance. Consider purchasing a critical illness insurance policy to supplement your health insurance plan.
Take the first step. Get a health insurance quote from an Insurance Line One agent now.
Think Positive, Think Insurance Line ONE
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