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Health Insurance

by Karen Maslowski, SewStorm Publishing

Having your own business is great, right, a dream come true? Except when you consider paying for benefits you took for granted when an employer provided them. Health insurance, for instance. If you have to provide your own, it can be scary trying to find coverage, and expensive when you find it.

Finding the right agent may be harder than it sounds, because the agent who wrote your auto and homeowners insurance may not be the right person to advise you on health insurance. Your life insurance agent would be more knowledgeable about the availability of medical insurance for you. Be sure to get at least three quotes from different agents, as some agents are expected to sell with only one company, which may not have the plan (and the price) you need.

Many insurance companies have what they call "one-person groups". These plans are similar to group insurance plans, but your plan is grouped with other small businesses to make a group from which they determine premiums. If you don’t have employees, this may be a more economical way to provide insurance for yourself and your family than with a pricier individual policy. Be prepared, though, to accept the small amount of life insurance that most companies require for this type of plan. Even with that additional cost a small group plan is usually less expensive than an individual policy.

If you do have employees and you arrange for group health insurance coverage, be aware that every full-time employee must have the opportunity to accept coverage. Your insurance agent can give you advice on the current law that governs this, and what constitutes a full-time employee. (The law has changed several times since I sold insurance back in the 1980's!)

Next issue: Types of coverage

SewStorm Publishing 1998

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