Now that you know when to apply for health insurance, you should explore your options for how to buy your own health insurance. Outside of getting health insurance through an employer, these options include the Health Insurance Marketplace, a licensed agent or broker, directly from an insurance company, and an online health insurance brokerage.
Health Insurance Marketplace
If you’re looking to qualify for financial assistance, one option is to use the government online shopping tool, Health Insurance Marketplace (also called the health insurance exchange). There, you’re able shop and compare health plans and apply online.
Licensed agent or broker
If you’d like help, you may want to contact a local licensed agent or broker. They are trained professionals who consult with you, helping to determine your health care needs and then matching plans that best meet your needs and budget. Depending on the health plans they represent, these agents also have additional information on some of the special perks and savings available.
Directly from a health insurance company
If you have certain health insurance companies you are interested in buying a plan from, you can always shop their plans directly, either by calling them or exploring their websites. This will give you more insight into the plans offered by specific insurers, since the Marketplace doesn’t include every single health plan out there. Most insurers have tools that allow you to compare all their plans.
However, this will only give you insight into the plans offered by that specific company. If you wish to compare across insurers, you can visit the website of each one that interests you.
Online health insurance brokerage
Often called private exchanges or private enrollment websites, these online brokerages can help you compare health plans and even offer to find the best available plan for you. These sites will not show you all plans available and instead prioritize showing plans that will earn them a commission, so be aware that they will not offer you a full look into your options.