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What are my options for buying health insurance for myself or my family?


The best way to get health insurance is through your employer as part of a "group health insurance" plan. You'll often have broader benefits than if you were to buy a plan yourself on the open market.

Another option is to buy an "individual" health plan. Despite its name, an individual health plan can cover your whole family. Individual health plans will be priced based on your medical history and can exclude pre-existing conditions from coverage. Read tips for buying individual health coverage.

See if your state's insurance department has a health insurance shopper's brochure that lists health plans and comparative costs. Also, if your state mandates "guaranteed issue" plans, you'll be able to buy an individual health plan no matter what your medical conditions are. The Kaiser Family Foundation tracks which states mandate guaranteed issue health plans.

Last updated: Dec. 7, 2009
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Penny Gusner Consumer Analyst
Penny Gusner has been working in the insurance business for more than 10 years. She researches your questions, from the routine to the bizarre, with equal enthusiasm. Read More

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