Most people obtain health insurance coverage through their employer. This is called group health insurance coverage because as a group, all the employees are pooled together to obtain insurance. This leads to a lower insurance premium because the risk is spread out among the group of members. But you may still be able to benefit from group health insurance even if you do not work. This is because many membership organizations offer group health insurance coverage to their members.
What is a Membership Organization?
A membership organization is a group that is dedicated to providing resources and benefits to persons interested in a specific cause or area. For instance, most of us have heard of the Writers Guild of America. They are a membership organization dedicated to providing resources and benefits to professional writers. Among their many benefits, they provide group health insurance to their members. They do have very strict guidelines for being a member so most people would not be able to obtain membership through them but their organization is just one of many available that provides group health insurance to their members.
So, What is the Best Choice... Employer Health Insurance, Individual Health Insurance, or Group Health Insurance Through A Membership Organization?
If you are looking for a group health insurance plan the best place to look first for health insurance is your employer. The benefits of using your employer is that many employers often pay a percentage of the health insurance premium and there is no health exam needed. But, there are so many people self-employed now that they need to find group health insurance on their own. Their choice is to usually obtain individual health insurance. This is where one goes directly to a health insurance company to obtain health insurance coverage. Most people who are self-employed go this route.
When one chooses individual insurance they often will have to undergo medical exams to be approved and depending on the policy, many pre-existing conditions will not be covered. Also, the premium is costly since you are obtaining it on your own and are paying the premiums in full yourself. Obtaining health insurance through a membership organization may be a better option when your only option is obtaining individual health insurance. Because you will be pooled in with the other members of the organization your premiums may be lower. Also, there may be better support like a group information access number and a employee in the group that specifically handles the organization's health insurance. Depending on the organization, you may still need to take a medical exam and pre-existing conditions may still not be approved, but it really pays to shop around since all group health insurance from membership organizations will vary, some will vary greatly.
How Can I Find Health Insurance Through a Membership Organization?
The first thing for you to do is to think about what membership groups you may already be in. Unions, alumni associations, and various professional organizations such as your local chamber of commerce are the first places to look. Next, do an internet search (preferably Google) for "membership organizations" or try "membership benefits health insurance." Those searches should result in numerous organizations available. Click on the organizations that you are interested in or think you may be eligible to join... for example, if you are not a writer and have never published any type of information you probably will not be able to become a member of a journalist group. Once you find a few that may be a fit for you, look under their benefits section and see if they provide health insurance. Again, after first finding out if you can become a member, always compare health insurance rates since they will vary among the membership organizations. Also don't forget to take into account the cost of being a member. Usually it is an annual fee. Here is a list of a variety of membership organizations that do offer group health insurance to their members: