Frequently Asked Questions

Individual & Family

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.

When possible, 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.
Individual and family health insurance plans are usually described as either "indemnity" or "managed-care" plans. Put broadly, the major differences concern choice of health care providers, out-of-pocket costs, and how bills are paid.

Typically, indemnity plans offer a broader selection of health care 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 use health care provider networks. Health care 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 you'll have a broader choice of health care providers with an indemnity plan.
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 health care providers have been contracted to provide services to the 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 copayment 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.
Though there are many variations, HMO (Health Maintenance Organization) plans typically give members lower out-of-pocket health care 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 health care 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 health care services than you would through another type of plan. You may not be required to pay a deductible before coverage starts and your copayments could 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 at all for services rendered by non-network providers or for services rendered without a proper referral from your PCP.
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.
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 can see whichever 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 can 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 health care 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.

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. Get more details on HSAs.
A copayment or "copay" 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 copayment for an office visit or brand-name prescription drug, after which the insurance company often pays the remainder of the charges.
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 for certain services.

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.
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 copayments or deductible.

For example, if your health insurance plan has a 20% coinsurance requirement (and does not have any additional copayment or deductible requirements), then a $100 medical bill would cost you $20, and the insurance company would pay the remaining $80.
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.

Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), you normally need to apply for your individual or family health coverage during the Open Enrollment Period (OEP). OEP is a period of time in which you can enroll for health insurance without experiencing a life event that qualifies you for a Special Enrollment Period (see below for more information). For health coverage starting in 2015, the OEP is Nov 15, 2014 through Feb 15, 2015.

The specific date your 2015 coverage starts depends on when you submit your application. In general, if you apply between the 1st and 15th of the month, your start date is the 1st of the next month. If you apply after the 15th of the month, your start date is usually the 1st of the month after the next. Your exact start date depends on your particular insurance company and the plan you choose. To speed up the process, it’s a good idea to e-sign your application.

Do be aware that after 2015 OEP ends (Feb 15, 2015), you can sign up for 2015 health coverage during a Special Enrollment Period (SEP), if you qualify. You qualify for an SEP if you experience certain life events, such as marriage, birth or adoption of a child, or a change in employment.

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 may apply for each child separately.
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:
    • 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, letting 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 a fast 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. 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.
 
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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, 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.
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.
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.
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.
    • Call us:  Our licensed insurance agents and knowledgeable representatives are ready to help you. Just call 877-731-9560, Monday - Friday, 5AM - 9PM PT, and Saturday - Sunday, 7AM - 4PM PT.
    • Please note that insurance plan benefits and rates can be discussed only by phone with one of our licensed health insurance agents.
 

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