Health insurance provides you and your family with financial protection and the comfort of knowing that you can readily access health care services when you need them.
Many employers offer subsidized health care options to their employees. These group health care plans are often the most cost-effective way to obtain medical coverage. However, it is important that you review the plan terms and conditions and ensure you understand the extent of the subsidy provided by your employer. Often, the employer subsidy does not extend to the employee’s spouse or dependents. In this situation you need to consider whether it is still cost effective for your spouse and/or children to be a part of your company plan. Even though it may be beneficial for you to be a member of your employer’s group plan, it may be more cost-effective for the other members of your family to obtain their own separate policy.
Individual Health Insurance Plans
Having your own individual health insurance plan has a number of benefits:
You can customize the coverage to meet the specific needs and requirements of your family. You don’t need to accept the “standard” plans offered by your employer, which may include coverage you don’t want (even though you are effectively paying for it), or may not include specific coverage your family needs (for example, maternity coverage).
Your health insurance is portable – you can always keep your policy, even if you lose your job, change jobs, or retire.
Individual health insurance may be more cost-effective, particularly for dependents.
If you are self-employed, health insurance premiums are fully tax deductible.
An individual health insurance plan is essential if you:
Work for a company that does not offer its employees a group plan option.
Are self-employed or start a new business.
Need health insurance coverage for your dependents.
Lose your job.
Retire before your reach age 65.
Family Health Insurance Plans
A family health insurance plan is simply an individual health insurance policy that also includes coverage for one or more family members or dependents. For example, a family health insurance plan may provide coverage for:
You and your spouse (without coverage for children); or
You, your spouse, and your child (ren); or
You and your child (ren) (without coverage for your spouse).
Even if you belong to a group health plan, it is still worthwhile considering a separate family health insurance plan for your spouse and/or children, especially if your employer does not subsidize insurance for your dependents. In addition, a private plan gives you greater flexibility in your choice of coverage and health care providers.