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Advantages of Individual Health Insurance Versus Group Health Insurance

By Mark W. Brooks

As employers continue to shift more and more of the cost burden of group health insurance to their employees, personal Virginia health insurance plans have become more attractive in recent years. Group health insurance being paid in full by the employer for your family is a thing of the past at most companies.

Personal health insurance plans for an individual or family are attractive for many reasons:

  • Lower cost: Personal health insurance plans for healthy persons can be less expensive than group insurance contrary to what most people think. Years ago, a large group could naturally get better pricing for insurance than one person or family; however, it has done a complete reversal in recent years. Personal plans are individually underwritten, thereby benefiting those in excellent health. Group insurance, on the other hand, has by law become “guarantee issue” in a lot of states, taking away most underwriting and causing the price to skyrocket for nearly everyone. The cost of a personal health insurance plan in Virginia is a reflection of your individual health condition and the benefits you choose. The cost of a group health insurance plan reflects the overall health conditions of that group and the benefit options selected by someone else.
  • Tailor made: Personal health insurance plans in Virginia for an individual or family can be purchased specifically designed to meet your needs. Don’t want maternity or many of the other government-mandated benefits that group health insurance is laden with? A personal plan may be your answer. You can choose your deductible, co-pay amount if you want one at all, prescription drug benefit, coinsurance percentage and out-of-pocket maximum. These benefits are all pre-selected for you with the employer group “cookie-cutter” plans. Group health insurance plans are designed and purchased to meet the needs of a large group of people. Each person in that group may like a different feature of the group insurance. A personal plan can be tailored to your specific needs and not those of anyone else.
  • Portability: With today’s economy and job losses, portability of health insurance has become an important issue. While COBRA (Consolidate Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act) provides some protection for employees that are laid off, there are still problems. The length and depth of this recession could cause some to find themselves looking of a new career for years. The COBRA option and current government relief effort will not fulfill this need. A personal health insurance plan can move with you from job to job, wherever your career path may lead. Decisions about job changes would no longer be affected by health insurance or pre-existing medical conditions if you had the luxury of taking your plan with you. Personal Virginia health insurance plans provide that luxury. Having a properly structured personal health insurance plan from a reliable insurer allows you, the consumer, to be in control of your health care and employment decisions. Not only do personal plans move with you from job to job, most plans will even follow you should you need to move to another state.


The current trend of this cost shift from employers to employees has necessitated your doing a little work to find the best option for your situation. Ask yourself the following questions:

*Does my employer subsidize part of the “employee only” cost, making it advantageous for me to shop for a personal plan only for my dependents?

*Is there more than one group health insurance plan available to me and my spouse whereby each of us could take advantage of an employer contribution?

*Are there any pre-existing medical conditions for anyone in our family that would prohibit that family member from getting a personal Virginia health insurance plan?

*Does our family need immediate benefits, such as maternity, that may be more attractive under a group insurance plan?


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