Schwab MoneyWise ®
Schwab MoneyWise®

Individual Health Insurance

Going it alone

Our Two Cents

Note that a gap in health insurance could result in a fine and/or reduce your overall tax return. If you are between jobs or know that your current position is ending soon, take steps to set up a plan in advance to ensure continuous coverage.

Thanks to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), all Americans now have access to comprehensive health insurance. Even if you don't have coverage through your employer or another group, you can shop for a policy through your state’s or the federal health insurance Marketplace. The ACA requires that every plan cover, at a minimum:

  • Ambulatory patient services
  • Emergency services
  • Hospitalization
  • Maternity and newborn care
  • Mental health and substance use disorder services, including behavioral health treatment
  • Prescription drugs
  • Rehabilitative services and devices
  • Laboratory services
  • Preventive and wellness services and chronic disease management
  • Pediatric services, including oral and vision care

As you shop for a plan, you can also be assured that you can't be denied coverage because of a pre-existing condition.

Choosing a plan

Take some time to review your choices. If you are buying an individual plan, healthcare.gov provides a good overview of your choices.

When you're comparing costs, look beyond the premium. It's also important to compare annual deductibles (the amount you pay before insurance begins), co-payments (a fixed amount you pay for a service), co-insurance (the percentage of covered costs you're responsible for after you meet the deductible), and out-of-pocket maximums (the most you'll have to pay before insurance pays 100 percent).

Keep learning

Read about other forms of insurance and how to avoid the pitfalls of purchasing plans you don’t need.


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