Purchasing health insurance is not easy. Collectively, American health insurance companies offer thousands of different policies through hundreds of intermediaries. While many health insurance consumers' choices are circumscribed by the whims of their employers' group health insurance providers, individuals who must purchase health insurance on the open market are liable to face a dizzying array of choices. Many consumers welcome this wide-open market. Others find themselves overwhelmed by the process of finding an affordable health insurance plan. In many cases, the sheer cost of single-coverage health insurance is the principal driver of these feelings of frustration.
If you're looking for affordable health insurance, you'll need to take an honest look at your demographic profile and medical history. Young, healthy people need to pay far less for health insurance than their older counterparts. However, it should be noted that many health insurance companies offer less-than-ideal coverage for their younger customers. Some of the plans that health insurers market to young adults lack full coverage for basic preventive services. Worse, these plans' co-pays and coinsurance costs can be staggering. Their hospital-visit deductibles can also be extreme: Some plans don't start paying for medical care until the policyholder has incurred more than $10,000 in medical expenses. Although some of these plans can cost as little as $40 to $50 per month, they may not be very useful.
If you're young and want a more comprehensive health insurance plan, you'll probably have to pay more than $100 per month for a single-coverage policy. If you want to reduce or even eliminate your deductible, you may have to pay $150 or $200 per month for your policy. In most parts of the country, this monthly outlay will provide you with a generous safety net that requires you to make minimal out-of-pocket payments.
On the other hand, group health insurance holds out the possibility of cost-sharing for older or unhealthy policyholders. If you're looking to save money on your health insurance costs, talk to your employer about joining its group health insurance plan. Alternatively, you can find a "group" through your insurance company. Most non-employer group plans are comprised of collections of demographically-similar individuals who wish to take advantage of cost-reducing economies of scale. If you want to provide coverage for your spouse and children, you'll find these group health insurance plans to be especially useful. However, you should be prepared to spend more than $500 per month for your family's coverage.