Individuals’ rights within the state of California are important items to consider when one is in need of coverage or between health insurance policies.
When California residents find themselves in need of individual health insurance, they may not know what to do or what options are open to them. For someone whose COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act) benefits are about to run out, this is a scary situation. Individual health insurance can be a tough market, but Californians do have options open to them – they just need to make the choice that best fits their needs.
First, consumers should know that they will likely be subjected to a much more careful examination of their health than is usually the case with group health insurance plans. In some parts of the country, ff you are determined to have a serious condition (or even the propensity to develop a condition) such as, for example, rheumatoid arthritis, you may be rejected by the insurance company, or offered only a policy that excludes coverage for the condition in question. Exclusion riders are not allowed in California. However, another way companies deal with pre-existing conditions is by charging higher premiums.
Also be warned that some insurance companies will attempt to give the impression that you as an individual will be part of a group plan, when in actuality you are participating in what is known as a “group discretionary trust”. This can result in premiums being raised without warning if you become ill. Because it might be difficult to find other coverage with a pre-existing condition, if premiums rise beyond their ability to pay consumers can find themselves in a no-win situation.
So, like anyone in the individual insurance market, California residents need to carefully research any plan they are considering purchasing, and make sure they are doing business with a reputable company that stands behind its products and is up-front about its dealings.