Understanding Private Insurance PremiumsPrivate insurance is an approach to financial protection from potential financial loss. It’s a form of effective risk management, most often used to offset the downside risk of an unpredictable or uncertain future event. A private insurance policy may be used for many things, but one of the most common uses is in the area of investment. Here are some things to think about before you decide whether or not to invest in private insurance. There are many private insurers that provide health coverage to employees. An example is United Healthcare, which provides Medicare supplement and Medicare Part D benefits to millions of Americans through private insurers. The other “private insurers” that come to mind are Aetna, Humana, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Delta, Assurant Health, Celtic, nationwide Group, Unicare, and Blue Cross/Blue Shield of California. All of these provide medical insurance to their respective employee bases. But what kinds of insurances can an individual purchase? There are many different types of policies available, with different rules regarding age, gender, and whether or not the policy can be taken out by a child or teen. Some policies are “guaranteed renewable,” meaning that the insured will always receive the coverage he or she is purchasing. Others vary, and there is generally a different open enrollment period each year. Most people choose to purchase insurance during the open enrollment period because this is when premiums are lower. Private insurance is typically purchased by either an individual or group. Employers who offer insurance typically include it as part of their benefits, which allows their employees to purchase coverage on their own. Certain circumstances, however, typically do not permit an individual to purchase coverage through an employer, and these include: being a single parent without another spouse, being 65 years of age or older, and being a member of a Medicare Advantage Plan. Self-employed individuals have a number of options for receiving health insurance. A common choice is to join a partner’s or family’s health insurance plan. If you are self-employed, you can purchase your own policy or select options within a family plan. Some self-employed individuals also have health savings accounts, which allow them to deposit money into a special interest bearing account that grows according to a predetermined schedule, which allows them to take advantage of tax-free growth benefits and accumulate a higher income level within the account. Self-employed individuals also have the option of purchasing a high-deductible health plan. Health insurance plans with a high deductible are popular because they require very low monthly premiums but allow the holder to take care of expenses out-of-pocket. Self-employed individuals have two options: a high-deductible HMO health plan, and a preferred provider network, or PPO health insurance plans. Each has their own pros and cons, so you should discuss both with an insurance professional. High-deductible insurance plans typically have lower monthly premiums, but offer more coverage than lower-deductible plans. In order to find the best coverage for your situation, you should consider the type of insurance you currently have. Once you know which plan you are comfortable with, it is time to start shopping around for a rate. Most insurance companies offer free estimates, which will allow you to shop several different companies side-by-side until you find the right fit for your needs. Private insurance costs vary from one insurance provider to the next. In order to get the most for your money, it is important that you choose a high-deductible plan with the lowest premium. When shopping around, be sure to check with your current insurance company if they offer a discount on your premium when purchasing insurance through them. Also, if you are ineligible for group insurance through your employer, it may be necessary to enroll in COBRA or other bypass programs, which may lower the cost-sharing you pay for private insurance.