Purchasing health insurance in California is no easy task. Not only do you need to have a firm understanding of health insurance in general, but it's also important to do your homework regarding the rules, regulations, laws, and rights that are specific to the Golden State before seeking out a California health insurance quote. If you're looking to purchase California health insurance, here is a quick hitting list of stats, facts, and information to help your search get off on the right foot.
The State of Health Insurance in the State of California
For starters, let's begin with a quick overview of the state of health care in California. According to the United States Census, 19% of California's population, or roughly 29,682,000 people, do not have health insurance. Of those who do, approximately 60% obtain their insurance through an employer or other group health care plan, close to 9% rely on individual market insurance, and 13% turn to Medicaid, Medicare or other public programs (according to the Kaiser Family Foundation). Figure job turnover and the fact that employers aren't required to provide health insurance in California into that equation, and there are quite a few folks in the Golden State on the hunt for quality, affordable California health care coverage at any given time.
Average Costs for a California Health Insurance Quote
How much should the average Californian expect to pay out for health care coverage over the course of an average year? According to the KFF, the average Californian spends about $4,500 per year on health care expenses, though that will vary depending on your individual situation. For example, studies by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the AHIP show that California health insurance premiums for a single resident participating in an employee sponsored group health care plan average $4,280 per year (with employee contributions running $741), while an individual health plan for a single Californian averages $2,565 per annum. Families, on the other hand, pay substantially higher premiums in the Golden State: an average of $12,254 for group coverage (with out-of-pocket expenses of $3,398), and $5,884 for individual market insurance coverage.
Your California Health Insurance Quote Options: Managed vs. Individual Care
Anytime you talk health insurance, it's important to make a distinction between managed and individual health care. Understanding the difference between the two is even more important in California, since the two types of health care are managed by separate regulating agencies, and are governed by separate laws and regulations. Here's the skinny:
- Managed Health Care --The term "managed health care" in California usually refers to Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs), though it can include some Preferred Provider Organizations (PPOs). Regulated by the Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC), HMOs deliver low cost, comprehensive health care by strictly managing health care and restricting services to a network of participating health care professionals. If you have the option of participating in a managed group health care plan, do it. From a financial standpoint, these plans are tough to beat - especially in California. Furthermore, they are backed by the 1999 California Patient Bill of Rights, which guarantees a number of additional coverages such as mental health parity, cancer screening, contraception, and hospice care, and expands patient rights in the areas of underwriting, approved procedures, maintaining coverage, and seeking compensation from insurance providers.
- Individual Market Health Care --The other option available to Californians searching for health care coverage is individual market health care. Regulated by the California Department of Insurance (CDI), individual market health care plans can be purchased independently by California residents who cannot otherwise procure health insurance through an employer, trade or professional association, or other group health provider. California's laws governing individual market health care aren't as comprehensive or consumer oriented as those pertaining to managed health care, however, making it important for consumers investing in individual market health insurance to take advantage of every resource available to them in order to obtain the best coverage possible at the most favorable rates.
Finding a California Health Insurance Quote
Where should a Californian turn when in need of health insurance? Both the California Department of Insurance and the Department of Managed Health Care are excellent state-run resources for learning more about different health care plans, your options, and which California laws and regulations apply to you. When it comes right down to it, however, there are few resources more valuable than seeking out the advice of a handful of insurance industry experts at the click of a mouse. Using a free online quote service like NetQuote.com is an easy way to solicit California insurance quotes and advice from a number of providers, so that you can compare coverages, plans, rates, and insurance carriers on the way to finding the best possible health insurance for you and yours.