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How Do You Get Health Insurance Coverage?

Learn general guidelines on how to get health insurance, whether you get it from your employer, the Marketplace, Medicare, Medicaid or as a supplement.

Step 1: Determine your needs.

Start by looking at you and your family’s health insurance needs. Allow for typical expenditures that you typically spend on medical expenses each year, medications and your budget. Once you have some idea of the average amount you spend on health care, you can move on to the next step.

Step 2: Learn about your options.

Go through all of your options for health insurance and determine which type works best for you, whether you choose an HMO, PPO, EPO or POS. If you’re eligible for Medicare, learn about your options there as well. (You must be 65 or older to qualify for Medicare.)

Step 3: Get a quote.

You may want to get right down to it and talk with a licensed insurance agent as you begin shopping for coverage. You can also shop for insurance online. You can also shop around among your employer’s plans.

You can use a combination of strategies when you don’t have an employer option.

Step 4: Choose a plan.

Once you’ve determined which plan meets your needs and found the best plan for you, you must enroll. Visit an online enrollment page or fill out the paperwork necessary to enroll in the right plan for you. Follow the step-by-step instructions or contact an agent for help.

Take note of the Open Enrollment Period, the part of the year when people can enroll in a health insurance plan. You can enroll in Marketplace health coverage through August 15, 2021, due to COVID-19, but job-based plans may have different Open Enrollment Periods. You want to check with your employer on the details.

You may also qualify for a Special Enrollment Period, which means you can enroll any time if you encounter certain life events: marriage, having a baby, a move or losing other health coverage.

You can apply and enroll in Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) at any time during the year.

Get the Right Health Insurance for You

Understanding your health insurance coverage options goes a long way to understanding the right health insurance option for you and your family.

Still not sure which option works best for you? Ask an expert — an insurance agent or another individual can help you understand your options.


This material is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as financial, legal, or tax advice. You should consult your own financial, legal, and tax advisors before engaging in any transaction. Information, including hypothetical projections of finances, may not take into account taxes, commissions, or other factors which may significantly affect potential outcomes. This material should not be considered an offer or recommendation to buy or sell a security. While information and sources are believed to be accurate, UNest does not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of any information or source provided herein and is under no obligation to update this information.