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This Web site contains a compilation of more than a thousand consumer finance  columns written by Tony Novak from the 1980s through 2006, updated and reformatted for maximum usefulness today.  New material was added after 2010.

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Best health plan for self-employed

originally posted: 11/22/2006  reposted: 2/18/2011 This post has not been recently reviewed or revised by the author and may be out of date. If you notice an error or are in doubt, please send a new question by email or ask for an update. Email

Q: I am self-employed and have an Assurant Health plan for myself and my son. We both have exclusions that truly are "estimates" by underwriters versus factual assessments of our health status. The more I think about the exclusions, the more I feel they are discriminatory. For me as a woman to have an exclusion related to reproductive system is discriminatory, especially since I have not had a major illness that would warrant this. I pay Assurant premiums on a quarterly basis. I have barely used any health benefits in the last year, except a few discounts for routine services for my son. I have not gone to a doctor myself due to trying to figure out how to navigate Assurant's medical network options/limits, which separates providers and lab services. I want a one-stop option for health care. I need to get an annual physical and have not proceeded in doing so due to not being clear about what I will have as coverage as a female, even after paying the deductibles out of pocket. It's all very confusing -- and I have a master's degree, so I'm definitely not a dummy! I am planning to investigate other health insurance options in order to switch plans in the near future for these reasons.

A: We agree and that is why none of the health plans listed supported by OnlineAdviser have medical exclusion riders. The best way for a self-employed person to cover health benefits is through a Health Savings Account combined with a high deductible PPO insurance policy. The insurance only comes into play in the event of a catastrophic claim but the PPO provides pricing for all types of medical and procedures as well as prescriptions. After funding the HSA, you the peace of mind of knowing that you have 100% coverage for all health expenses for any provider you may choose, no matter what happens. For routine expenses like an annual physical exam, there is no need to consult your insurance policy for procedures or obtain a referral. Just schedule it with your doctor, pay cash, and if desired, reimburse yourself tax-free for 100% of the cost. You may notice that as a cash-paying patient that the quality of your medical care improves, that you find it easier to make appointments, that your doctor takes more time with you, that you have the opportunity to develop a personal relationship, your doctor is more likely to discuss other options not covered by insurance and that, in general, the quality of your health care improves over the long term. You seem like a person who strives to get more from life through your work and personal efforts, and health care should be no exception. It makes no sense to deny yourself the a complete routine examination just because you cannot determine what is covered by your insurance. As far as recommendations for a specific insurance company, there are few low cost choices in your home state. Try making an online application with Celtic Insurance. This top quality insurance company is known to be picky but if you are not accepted a report is not made to Medical Information Bureau so you have little to lose. As of May 1, 2006 there is no longer an application fee for online applications. A second choice would be the Secure 12x3 STM. This plan can last only for 3 years before it must be replaced by a new insurance but you will probably switch insurance before then anyway.


More resources:

Secure 12x3 STM Celtic Insurance