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So you are pursuing Indeed looking for a job.  “Salary with benefits” you see in just about every listing.  Of course, full-time employment and health insurance go hand in hand, it’s a given.  But what if you want to strike out on your own…what’s it like shopping for personal health insurance?  The answer: much better than it used to be.

Individual Health Insurance Pre-2010: The Dark Ages

The year is 2000.  You’re a 30-year-old financial planner who has established a book of business and are ready to make the leap to self-employment.  Getting all of your ducks in a row, you know you have to get health insurance for you and your wife who is expecting your first child.  Major healthcare reform isn’t on anyone’s radar yet, you have to navigate it on your own.  How bad can it be?

Bad.

There were a few companies in Maryland that offered health insurance but it was all an afterthought.  It was an afterthought for the solo shopper who may have never had to look for it on their own and an afterthought for the insurers.  Large insurers were focused on the group market with a large insurer in Maryland owning 95% of the market share at one point.  They just didn’t put any effort into the individual side.  Plans were underwritten, meaning that they screened for illnesses that were preclusive to those that had them.  If you had a serious medical condition you were diverted to the more costly high-risk pool.  Fortunately for Marylanders, it was a state law that everyone had access to this but it wasn’t the case in the majority of states.  In most of the U.S, you could be denied health insurance completely if you were sick.  Take prescriptions?  Medications weren’t covered by many plans at all until the mid-oughts when they were then given a paltry maximum of $500 a year.  That could be one month’s worth of meds for some people.  It was all an afterthought indeed.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and After: Now That’s More Like It

The PPACA of 2010 set forth many major components of healthcare reform.  In addition to subsidies that were established to make individual health insurance available to every U.S citizen, it also developed the foundation of what all health plans would look like.  The infrastructure of all of the health plans was created so that they were uniform nationwide.  Certain elements like preventative care, prescriptions, and maternity care were finally put in place.  Also, benefit maxes and pre-existing condition limitations were eliminated, in sharp contrast to the older and inadequate plans of the past.  Healthcare was suddenly easily attainable for entrepreneurs and those who were simply not employed full-time with company subsidized insurance.  The new norm was vastly different than the pre-PPACA period.

Call To Action and Beyond

We at JB Medicare and Health think that it’s impossible to be an insurance broker without evaluating not only the business side of healthcare but the holistic picture as well.  Because of our experience, we can look at modern trends and procedures from a historical perspective.  We remember what it was like before the PPACA and how it’s been after.  We stay abreast of all healthcare matters and are able to get good plans for any Marylander.  We are not political but rely on data and facts to be a premier, comprehensive agency and will continue to do so for decades to come.  Let us find the perfect plan for you, the independent American worker.

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