Individual vs. Group Health Insurance: Get The Facts

Individual health insurance is purchased directly by you from the insurance company. Group health insurance describes the situation whereby the insurance company contracts with a group, usually an employer, and then issues certificates for each member of that group. Purchasing group health insurance can be less expensive because it is similar to buying in bulk. However, if you choose to pursue individual health insurance, you may be able to secure similar or better benefits at a comparable cost.

Select a High-Deductible Plan
If you are mostly healthy and have low cost or no prescriptions, you may be able to foot the majority of your health insurance bills. Individual health insurance plans may offer a high deductible option - a term meaning the minimum you must pay before your insurance begins to contribute. This means you will cover physicians co pays, in-office procedures and most prescription medication. You will be covered, though, if you are involved in an accident that results in abnormally high medical bills.

Join a Risk Pool
Some states have started programs for individuals who do not have access to group health insurance plans. If you have a pre-existing condition that excludes you from finding affordable individual health insurance, a risk pool may be an option. Thirty-five states now have risk pools that may suit your needs. The cost may be higher than with other plans, but most states cap the premium in an effort to make it affordable.


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