Finding Affordable Health Insurance in California
May 4, 2006
California – “The Golden State” – has held a certain mystique ever since the Gold Rush. The mild climate, beautiful landscape and a pervasive can-do attitude make this one of the best places to live on the planet. Perhaps that?s why entrepreneurs, adventurers, artist and free-thinkers from all over the world have decided to call California home. All residents of California are protected by a variety of state and local laws that make it difficult for insurance companies to totally refuse to write you a policy. The problem is, at what cost? Like anywhere else in the United States, it can be tough to find affordable health insurance here.
The good news is that there are lots of companies that do business here, and they compete fiercely. You can find plans and premiums in every color of the rainbow. The bad news is that the plethora of choices can make it difficult to make “apples-to-apples” comparisons between plans, much less choose the type of plan that might be best for your family or business.
One option is to contact carriers directly, and have one of their agents explain their various policies and pricing options. You can discuss your exact requirements and decide on the plans that best suit you. The problem with this approach is that you have to contact each insurance carrier separately, and on your own. which can extremely time-consuming.
Another option is to contact an insurance broker. Brokers typically represent several carriers at once, and after interviewing you they can cut through the confusion and just present you with plans that make the most sense for you. The downside of this is that sometimes it’s hard to discover the options that the brokers aren’t showing you. Brokers may be especially incented to sell you on one policy over another, because they get a bigger commission from that particular carrier. So it’s hard to tell if the broker really has your best interests at heart.
Requesting insurance quotes online also speeds up the whole process. You fill in a short online form with relevant details, choose a few options and a quote suited to your needs is displayed. Then it’s easy to make some changes to the options and see how that might affect your premium pricing. Even after you’re fairly sure of the type of plan, coverage and carrier you want, it’s still a good idea to go through a broker for the final purchase. They know the business inside and out, and can alert you to special deals that you might not have access to online.