Monday, February 2, 2009

How to buy your own health coverage

Posted By Lauren Cappelli

As companies cut expenses and more entrepreneurs strike out on their own, the individual health insurance market is growing.

"There's been a precipitous drop in the number of businesses offering coverage," says Sam Gibbs, the senior vice president of eHealthInsurance, an online insurance broker. (Compare policies and get quotes on MSN Money.)

These days, the same people who traded company pension plans for self-managed 401(k)s are being asked to take on one more chore that used to be handled by human resources: shopping, selecting and purchasing health coverage. And it can be daunting.

Plowing through the process Rob Snow put it off for more than a year. When he left a successful online company at age 39 to start Snow Portfolio Management in Bethesda, Md., he took advantage of COBRA, or the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, which allowed him to remain on his old company's group plan as long as he paid the premiums. But that privilege extends only for 18 months. And he was nearing the end of it. (For more, see "Know your COBRA rights.")

So, one weekend, Snow sat down at his computer and searched for "health insurance" -- and got a million hits. "I probably spent an entire day scrolling through those," he says. "I got worn out. I probably didn't do anything for three weeks."

But Snow eventually went back to the computer and zeroed in on a few sites that allowed him to get quotes or compare policies.

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1 comment:

  1. Nowadays its not very difficult to get quotes over internet. There are number of sites that allows to simply fill out a form of their preferences after which at one time quotes of almost 5 companies are mailed to the requester. I have also purchased a policy from a well trusted site.