Get answers to common questions.
- What is individual and family health insurance?
Individual and family health insurance is a type of health insurance coverage that is made available to individuals and families, rather than to employer groups or organizations. Given the option, most people would prefer to have their employer provide group health insurance coverage. But, if this is not an option for you, it is still important for you to seek coverage. You may be pleasantly surprised with the variety and affordability of the individual and family health insurance options available.Close
- What kinds of individual and family insurance plans are available?
Individual and family health insurance plans are usually described as either "indemnity" or "managed-care" plans. Put broadly, the major differences concern choice of healthcare providers, out-of-pocket costs and how bills are paid. Typically, indemnity plans offer a broader selection of healthcare providers than managed care plans. Indemnity plans pay their share of the costs for covered services only after they receive a bill (which means that you may have to pay up front and then obtain reimbursement from your health insurance company). There are several different types of managed-care health insurance plans. These include HMO, PPO, and POS plans. Managed-care plans typically make use of healthcare provider networks. Healthcare providers within a network agree to perform services for managed-care plan patients at pre-negotiated rates and will usually submit the claim to the insurance company for you. In general, you'll have less paperwork and lower out-of-pocket costs with a managed care health insurance plan and a broader choice of healthcare providers with an indemnity plan.Close
- How does a PPO plan work?
As a member of a PPO (Preferred Provider Organization) plan, you'll be encouraged to use the insurance company's network of preferred doctors and hospitals. These healthcare providers have been contracted to provide services to the health insurance plan's members at a discounted rate. You typically won't be required to pick a primary care physician but will be able to see doctors and specialists within the network at your own discretion. You will probably have an annual deductible to pay before the insurance company starts covering your medical bills. You may also have a co-payment for certain services or be required to cover a certain percentage of the total charges for your medical bills. With a PPO plan, services rendered by an out-of-network physician are typically covered at a lower percentage than services rendered by a network physician.Close
- How does an HMO plan work?
Though there are many variations, HMO (Health Maintenance Organizations) plans typically enable members to have lower out-of-pocket healthcare expenses but also offer less flexibility in the choice of physicians or hospital than other health insurance plans. As a member of an HMO, you'll be required to choose a primary care physician (PCP). Your PCP will take care of most of your healthcare needs. Before you can see a specialist, you'll need to obtain a referral from your PCP. With an HMO you'll likely have coverage for a broader range of preventive healthcare services than you would through another type of plan. You may not be required to pay a deductible before coverage starts and your co-payments will likely be minimal. With an HMO plan, you typically won't have to submit any of your own claims to the insurance company. However, keep in mind that you'll likely have no coverage whatsoever for services rendered by non-network providers or for services rendered without a proper referral from your PCP.Close
- How does a POS plan work?
A POS (Point of Service) plan combines some of the features offered by HMO and PPO plans. As with an HMO, members of a POS plan may be required to choose a primary care physician (PCP) from the plan's network of providers. Services rendered by your PCP may or may not be subject to a deductible. Also, like HMOs, POS plans typically offer coverage for preventive care visits. Typically, however, you will receive a higher level of coverage for services rendered or referred by your PCP. Services rendered by a non-network provider may be subject to a deductible and will likely be covered at a lower level. If services are rendered outside of the network, you'll likely have to pay up-front and submit a claim to the insurance company yourself. Please note this information may vary by insurance company.Close
- How does an Indemnity plan work?
A traditional Indemnity plan offers a great deal of freedom in choosing which doctors and hospitals to use, but will probably involve higher out-of-pocket costs and more paperwork. Under an Indemnity plan, you may see whatever doctors or specialists you like, with no referrals required. Though you may choose to get the majority of your basic care from a single doctor, your insurance company will not require you to choose a primary care physician. However, this kind of freedom will cost you. You'll likely be required to pay an annual deductible before the insurance company begins to pay on your claims. Once your deductible has been met, the insurance company will typically pay your claims at a set percentage of the "usual, customary and reasonable (UCR) rate" for the service. The UCR rate is the amount that healthcare providers in your area typically charge for any given service. An Indemnity plan may also require that you pay up front for services and then submit a claim to the insurance company for reimbursement.Close
- How does an HSA work?
Legislation establishing Health Savings Accounts (or "HSAs") took effect on January 1, 2004. HSAs and HSA-compatible health insurance plans are becoming more and more popular. Here are the basics:
- An HSA is a tax-favored savings account that may be used in conjunction with an HSA-compatible high deductible health insurance plan to pay for qualifying medical expenses.
- Choosing an HSA-compatible health insurance plan may help you save money. Typically, the monthly premium on an HSA-compatible high deductible plan is less expensive than the monthly premium for a lower-deductible health insurance plan.
- Contributions to an HSA may be made pre-tax, up to certain annual limits.
- Funds in the HSA may be invested at your discretion. Unused funds remain in the account and accrue interest year-to-year, tax-free.
Not all high-deductible plans are eligible for use in conjunction with an HSA. For more details on HSAs, click here. Close
- What is a co-payment?
A "co-payment" or "co-pay" is a specific charge that your health insurance plan may require that you pay for a specific medical service or supply. For example, your health insurance plan may require a $15 co-payment for an office visit or brand-name prescription drug, after which the insurance company often pays the remainder of the charges.Close
- What is a deductible?
A "deductible" is a specific dollar amount that your health insurance company may require that you pay out-of-pocket each year before your health insurance plan begins to make payments for claims. Not all health insurance plans require a deductible. As a general rule (though there are many exceptions), HMO plans typically do not require a deductible, while most Indemnity and PPO plans do.Close
- What is coinsurance?
Coinsurance is the term used by health insurance companies to refer to the amount that you are required to pay for a medical claim, apart from any co-payments or deductible. For example, if your health insurance plan has a 20% coinsurance requirement (and does not have any additional co-payment or deductible requirements), then a $100 medical bill would cost you $20, and the insurance company would pay the remaining $80.Close
- What is the difference between in-network and out-of-network providers?
An in-network provider is one contracted with the health insurance company to provide services to plan members for specific pre-negotiated rates. An out-of-network provider is one not contracted with the health insurance plan. Typically, if you visit a physician or other provider within the network, the amount you will be responsible for paying will be less than if you go to an out-of-network provider. Though there are some exceptions, in many cases, the insurance company will either pay less or not pay anything for services you receive from out-of-network providers. As a general rule, PPO, POS, and HMO plans make use of provider networks. Indemnity plans typically do not.Close
- What's the best health insurance plan for me?
Choosing between different health insurance plans isn't always easy. There is no one "best" plan for everyone. The best match for you and your family may be different than the best match for someone else. In order to help you answer this question, here are a few things to consider: 1) Are you going to need long-term coverage or just something for the short-term?If you're between jobs for 1-6 months, you may want to look into our short-term coverage options. Alternatively, if you have no prospects of receiving group health insurance coverage through an employer, you may value the stability and increased benefits offered through an individual and family health insurance plan which will provide longer term coverage. 2) Are you looking for basic coverage or more comprehensive coverage?Some insurance plans offer basic coverage (i.e., primarily inpatient hospitalization and outpatient surgery coverage) to cover you in case of a major accident or illness. These insurance plans typically have a lower monthly premium than plans with more comprehensive coverage, and may be appropriate for people who intend to use their insurance primarily in the event of a serious accident or illness. Other insurance plans, in addition to offering coverage in case of a major accident or illness, offer more comprehensive coverage which MAY include benefits such as: preventative care, physician services, prescription drug benefits and routine office visits. These insurance plans typically have a higher monthly premium than plans that only offer basic coverage, and may be appropriate for people who intend to use their insurance on a regular basis. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) requires that all plans must provide coverage for certain preventive benefits, immunizations, and screenings*, without cost sharing requirements for plan/policy years beginning on or after September 23, 2010. This rule does not apply to grandfathered plans.
*As recommended by the US Preventive Services Task Force, the CDC, and the Health Resource and Services Administration (HRSA). 3) Would you rather pay for your services before you use them or when you use them?Typically, the higher the monthly premium that you pay, the less you will pay per doctor's visit in co-payments and deductibles. If you choose a health insurance plan with a low monthly premium, you're likely to have a higher co-payment or deductible. If you don't anticipate making frequent use of your health insurance coverage, a higher-deductible plan with a lower monthly premium may suit you best. 4) How important to you is easy access to specialists?Health insurance plans that require you to coordinate your care through a primary care physician typically require that you obtain a referral before seeing a specialist. Thus, if you prefer easier access to specialists, you may wish to consider a different type of plan. 5) Do you have a specific doctor or hospital that you would like to visit for healthcare?Some insurance plans utilize provider networks. Pay special attention to the network of doctors or facilities that each health insurance plan utilizes. You'll want to make sure that your favorite doctor or hospital is included on the list for the health insurance plan you choose. Also note that networks utilized by health insurance plans can change, so there is no guarantee that your doctor will always be contracted with your chosen health insurance plan. 6) What is the most you could pay out in case of a serious illness or injury?Health insurance plans typically place limits on how much a member is required to pay out of pocket per year for his or her healthcare. This limit is often referred to as an out-of-pocket maximum. Once you've contributed this maximum amount toward your healthcare, the health insurance company typically covers all other costs for the remainder of the benefit year. In 2014, PPACA will limit out of pocket expenses for essential health benefits* for low income individuals. If you're concerned about what may happen to you in case of a serious illness or injury, you may wish to pay special attention to the out-of-pocket maximums for the health insurance plans you're considering. Close * Essential health benefits will be determined by the Secretary of Health and Human Services.
- When does my coverage start?
The specific date your new health coverage starts depends on your particular insurance company, the plan you choose, and when and how you apply. In general, if you apply between the 1st and 15th of the current month, your start date is the 1st of the next month. If you apply after the 15th of the current month, your start date is usually the 1st of the month after the next. To speed up the process, it's a good idea to e-sign your application and make your payment as soon as possible. Be aware that during the yearly Open Enrollment Period, it may take longer for the insurance company to process your health-care application. But, as long as you submit your application before the deadline and make your initial premium payment, the insurance company will typically honor your requested coverage start date.Close
- How can I insure just my child?
When getting quotes for your child(ren) only, enter the child's gender and birth date in the "Applicant" or first row. Additional children should be entered below in the "Child" rows, but not the "Spouse" row. However, many health insurance companies require one policy per child. So if you have more than one child, try entering just one child to see a larger selection of plans and prices. You are free to apply for each child separately.Close
- Why should I shop with you rather than buying an insurance plan elsewhere?
By combining the localized knowledge of a neighborhood agent with the broad experience and comprehensive understanding of a leading online health insurance source, we are able to offer our customers:Close
- Broad Selection. Because we are a health insurance agency and not a health insurance company, we can offer plans from multiple insurance companies in your area. We offer a broad selection of health insurance companies and plans, which allows you find the plan that best fits your needs. In fact, eHealthInsurance is the leading online source of health insurance for individuals, families and small businesses.
- Best Prices. Health insurance premiums are filed with and regulated by your state's Department of Insurance. Whether you buy from eHealthInsurance, your local agent, or directly from the health insurance company, you'll pay the same monthly premium for the same plan.
- Fast Processing. eHealthInsurance offers the fastest way to apply for health insurance because many of the plans offered on our website can be submitted and signed electronically, eliminating the need to manually print and mail applications. This reduces average processing time significantly.
- Excellent Customer Care. We believe that you'll enjoy the best customer experience available in the health insurance industry. The licensed health insurance agents and knowledgeable representatives that staff our customer care center will help you make the most of your money with professional, unbiased advice.
- How do you protect my private information?
- When I buy an insurance plan, how do I make payments?
In most cases, when you complete your application you'll provide a credit card number or a check written to the health insurance company for the first premium payment. Typically, your credit card will not be charged nor will your check be cashed until you are approved for coverage. If you are not approved for coverage, or if you cancel your application, your card will not be charged and any check payment you made will be returned or refunded. Once you've been approved for coverage, your ongoing premium payments are paid to your health insurance company typically on a monthly or quarterly basis. Insurance companies typically offer several payment options including monthly billings to be paid by check or credit card, automatic bank drafts or automated credit card charges. Please note that credit card billing of premiums is optional and you can obtain coverage without using that method of payment.Close
- If I apply for an insurance plan, am I obligated to buy?
No. You are under no obligation to buy a health insurance plan when using our site. After submitting your application you may cancel it at any time during the enrollment process. When you submit an application you will typically include your credit card number, bank account information, or a check for the initial premium payment. Most insurance companies will not charge your card, debit your account, or deposit your check until you are approved. If you are charged and you cancel your application prior to being enrolled, the insurance company will issue a refund. A few insurance companies may charge an application fee. You will be notified in the application if the plan you chose requires an application fee. Please note that these fees are non-refundable.Close
- Do you offer the best prices?
Health insurance premiums are filed with and regulated by your state's Department of Insurance. Whether you buy from eHealthInsurance, your local agent, or directly from the health insurance company, you'll pay the same monthly premium for the same plan. This means that you can enjoy the advantages and convenience of shopping and purchasing your health insurance plan through eHealthInsurance and rest assured that you're getting the best available price.Close
- Can I contact someone if I need help?
Yes. We believe in providing you with top-quality customer service. Our customer care center is staffed with licensed health insurance agents and knowledgeable representatives, ready to assist you.Close
- Call UsOur licensed insurance agents and knowledgeable representatives are ready to help you. Just call 877-731-9560 Mon - Fri, 5AM-9PM PST. Sat - Sun, 7AM - 4PM PST.
- Email UsClick here to send us an email. One of our knowledgeable customer care representatives will reply to you soon. Please note that our licensed health insurance agents can discuss insurance plan benefits and rates only by phone.
- Chat Online with UsClick here for a real-time, online chat session with one of our knowledgeable customer care representatives. Our chat option is available , excluding holidays. Please note that insurance plan benefits and rates can be discussed only by phone with one of our licensed health insurance agents.
- Can I use my plan without my insurance card?
You can typically use your health plan after the insurance company approves your application and issues you a policy number, starting from the coverage start date. Many doctors' offices will accept your policy number for billing purposes before you receive your card. If you don't have a policy number yet but your coverage is active, you may need to pay the bill at the time of service, then file a claim with your insurance company for reimbursement after you receive your policy number or insurance card.Close
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