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Alabama Individual Health Insurance

Having health insurance can obviously save you a great deal of money. But to maximize the amount you can potentially save, you must compare health insurance benefits and rates. If you don't get group health insurance through your employer, then you should look into purchasing Alabama individual health insurance from a private insurer. If you are considering this route, you may have a lot of questions about the laws in Alabama regarding private policies. The information below will seek to help you learn more about private insurance policies, the Alabama laws surrounding them, and any rights that you may have.

Eligibility: How Are Applicants Evaluated?

First, there are no restrictions on medical underwriting in Alabama when it comes to the evaluation of applicants for individual policies. Most insurers will evaluate you based on your health status and age, but they can use rating factors such as your lifestyle habits, the expected medicare costs, etc. based on which they can either approve or deny your health insurance request. The Alabama state law does not require guaranteed issued coverage for any kind of health insurance plan. However, to comply with HIPPA Group-to-Individual Portability Coverage regulations, residents are offered guaranteed coverage into the Alabama Health Insurance Plan (AHIP), the state's high-risk health insurance, for individuals who haven't been able to obtain private insurance after leaving a group health plan.

Alabama Guaranteed Benefits & Pre-Existing Conditions

Although Alabama does not require insurers to carry standardized policies, they do have to cover certain benefits, namely after-birth hospital stays and mammograms. When it comes to pre-existing conditions, insurers are allowed a 60-month look-back period, wherein they can review your medical history for any signs of a pre-existing condition. They are also allowed a 12-month exclusionary period, where they can exclude any possible pre-existing conditions from your health care plan.

In Alabama, there is also mental health parity, implying that the mental health conditions are required to have the same coverage limits as physical conditions. Pregnancy can be considered a pre-existing condition and the insurance company has the right to restrict coverage for a specific period. However, the insurer does not permit the use of genetics as a pre-existing condition for the fetus.

Premiums: How Much Will It Cost?

In Alabama, getting an insurance policy can be a bit difficult since the state laws give companies the authority to accept or deny coverage to you. However, when it comes to premiums, the insurer does not have to abide by any laws when determining a policy rate. Premiums are usually based on your age, health, lifestyle habits, your location of residence and the coverage option you choose. There are also no restrictions on individual health insurance rates or any limits on how much an insurer can charge for a health insurance policy, but competition with other insurers usually keeps them at a reasonable cost. Your insurer retains the right to increase your premiums at any point of time. Once you obtain health insurance, your insurer can not cancel your policy in case that you become ill. Most health insurance is guaranteed renewable, that is your insurer can't deny you the chance to renew your policy. In addition, individual health policies do not have to give credit for your prior coverage, unlike group health plans.

For individuals who are unable to find health insurance because of a pre-existing condition, Alabama has a "High Risk Pool" called the Alabama Health Insurance Plan for those who have lost their group health plan and have been unable to obtain private health insurance due to medical conditions.

Purchasing a suitable health insurance can never be simple, especially if you don't have any clue about it. Therefore, it becomes important to keep the above points in mind when looking for health insurance in Alabama. You need to get acquainted with all the relevant details regarding health insurance as well as consult with a qualified broker or agent to maximize the benefits of a proper health plan.

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