If you can join a group plan, save yourself the hassle and headache of the individual plan obstacle course. There are many reasons why group plans are a better option that individual health plans.
Unless you are eligible according to federal qualifications, you may be turned down for individual health care coverage due to a pre-existing condition. In group plans, the Guaranteed Issue regulation ensures that no one will be evaluated on their health status or other characteristics as an individual. Once again, this is why group health plans are always the best route to go if you can obtain one.
Also, there are no federal regulations on the imposition of exclusion periods when changing from one individual provider to another individual provider. There are only laws regulating the move from individual to group insurance. This is why group plans are essential if you have a health condition.
If you are self employed or not employed by a group offering benefits, there are associations and organizations that offer group benefits. Some employers are starting to offer group coverage to people outside of the group, considered a group of one.
Even if you are federally eligible, sometimes you may be turned down for individual coverage. The law permits insurance companies to limit your choices in two plans. Unless you meet certain federal qualifications, there are no limits on charges for individual health coverage. You can be charged more for pre-existing health conditions and given higher premiums for this reason or other factors such as age, gender and other characteristics.
This is because of the nondiscrimination factor in group plans. When you purchase a group plan, everyone is evaluated as one. It covers everyone in the group equally. When you are evaluated singly, factors are considered on a basis that cannot be considered in a group plan due to uniformity issues.