What do you do if your employer doesn't offer health insurance?

You have options and you need to check them out.

Healthcare Costs Continue to Rise - No Health Insurance

With the cost of healthcare rising significantly each year, it's scary if you and your family aren't covered by health insurance. You're taking a financial risk that could prove catastrophic. And, you're missing the benefits of preventive care coverage and coverage for things like required childhood immunizations. But you do have some options.

Let's take Gary as an example. Gary's boss recently announced that the company could no longer afford to provide health insurance and stay in business. Gary was happy he still had a job, but at the same time, he feared what could happen if anyone in his family became sick or injured.

Health Insurance - Protecting Your Family

Here's what Gary can do to protect his family.

He could become a millionaire by winning a poker tournament or the state lottery. That way, he could pay for his medical expenses no matter what happened. However, winning a million dollars probably isn't in the cards for Gary right now.

Gary could also hire a guy, like Bruno here, to visit his boss's home and "make him an offer he can't refuse." Gary might be able to get health insurance for a short period of time, but then he'd have to go to prison.

What Gary should realize is that he doesn't need to be part of a group to get health insurance. He can do it on his own. If he stays calm, does a little bit of research and makes a list of the types of coverage he needs, he'll discover he has quite a few options available to get a very good health plan.

Health Insurance - Options to Get a Good Health Plan

Insurance Agents

First, Gary can go to an insurance company's agent. This could be a friend, a relative, someone he finds in a phone book or that boring insurance guy he sometimes sees at parties. This time, Gary will want to listen to what the insurance guy has to say about health insurance plans.

Insurance Brokers

A second option for Gary is to go to a health insurance broker. Brokers do business with many insurance companies. By having so many options, they can match Gary with the best coverage based on things like Gary's budget, the type of health plan he's looking for, and other factors such as his family situation, lifestyle habits and the kind of job he has. For example, if Gary is an accountant, he will most likely pay less in premiums than, say, if he's a professional rodeo clown.

Insurance Companies

As a third option, Gary can go straight to the source: the insurance company. Most health insurance companies have Web sites through which people like Gary can apply for coverage online. Some health insurance companies' Web sites even feature cute and entertaining little videos about how to get insurance if your employer doesn't offer any. Imagine that.

Anyway, Gary can use these company Web sites to research the best health plan for him and his family, apply for coverage or discount programs online and sometimes even pay online. It's that easy.

Now that Gary has signed up for his own health insurance plan, he can tell his boss exactly where he can go-that's right, to an agent, a broker or an insurance company's Web site-so Gary's boss can get his own insurance. And Gary can get back to work.