How much does private health insurance cost?

Private health insurance costs vary from one person to the next and from one company to the next. While certain versions of private health insurance, like catastrophic coverage, can cost less than a traditional plan, some private health insurance policies cost much more than others. You can shop around to find affordable coverage that meets your needs. And you may be able to get a cheaper policy if you don’t have a negative health history.

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Rachael Brennan has been working in the insurance industry since 2006 when she began working as a licensed insurance representative for 21st Century Insurance, during which time she earned her Property and Casualty license in all 50 states. After several years she expanded her insurance expertise, earning her license in Health and AD&D insurance as well. She has worked for small health in...

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Written by Rachael Brennan
Licensed Insurance Agent Rachael Brennan

Benjamin Carr was a licensed insurance agent in Georgia and has two years' experience in life, health, property and casualty coverage. He has worked with State Farm and other risk management firms. He is also a strategic writer and editor with a background in branding, marketing, and quality assurance. He has been in military newsrooms — literally on the frontline of journalism.

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Reviewed by Benji Carr
Former Licensed Life Insurance Agent Benji Carr

UPDATED: Feb 28, 2022

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Quick Facts

  • Private health insurance is any health insurance not offered by the state or federal government
  • Options for private health insurance include coverage through your employer, a catastrophic plan, or a short-term plan
  • Your private health insurance rates will be most impacted by your health history and your family’s health history

If you are fairly new to health insurance, you may want to learn more about private health insurance costs.

Health insurance can be expensive regardless of your circumstances, but finding affordable private health insurance plans may seem like a daunting task. While many assume private health insurance quotes are going to be too expensive, it is possible to find cheap private health insurance.

As you begin your search for private health insurance companies that fit your budget, be sure to compare health insurance quotes from multiple companies to find the rates and type of life insurance that best suit your budget.

You can use our free tool above to get started in your search for private health insurance providers today!

What is private health insurance?

The definition of private health insurance is any health insurance policy that is offered by a private company or entity rather than the state or federal government.

While public health insurance includes:

  • Medicare
  • Medicaid
  • The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP),
  • Veteran’s Health Administration (VHA)
  • Other federal or state health plans

Private health insurance covers pretty much anything that is not included in the list above. If you have ever had health insurance through your employer, or if you have purchased health insurance through a university, you have had private health insurance.

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Are there differences between public and private health insurance?

The major difference between public and private health insurance is whether you are eligible.

Most people who qualify for coverage under public health insurance plans do so based on their age and their income. Many people find that they do not qualify for public health insurance based on these factors, so they seek out private health insurance plans instead.

If you find yourself searching for private health insurance, you have a few options to choose from, such as:

  • Enrolling in a health insurance plan through your employer
  • Selecting a private health insurance plan through a licensed agent
  • Choosing a plan from the federal or state marketplace
  • Enrolling in catastrophic coverage
  • Choosing short-term health insurance

While all of the options above are viable, you may find that some of them will not work well with your lifestyle or overall needs.

What is catastrophic coverage?

Some people who consider themselves to be quite healthy choose to enroll in catastrophic plans. These plans help to cover hospital bills after accidents or major medical events but often do not cover routine check-ups with a doctor or simple doctor visits.

With a catastrophic plan, you stand to save a lot of money in monthly premiums, but you could end up paying a lot when it comes to standard medical care.

How long does a short-term private plan last?

Most short-term health insurance policies last anywhere from 30 days to 12 months. You can choose the length of time depending on your needs and how long it might take to get a new plan.

Short-term health insurance is beneficial if you are in between jobs, if you need flexible coverage, or if you cannot afford a standard health insurance policy. Much like catastrophic coverage, short-term health insurance may not cover much when it comes to regular visits to your doctor and may instead only cover emergency services.

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How much does private health insurance cost?

How much your health insurance will cost depends on a number of factors. Some of the factors that impact your health insurance rates with most companies will include:

  • Your age
  • Your past medical history
  • Your job
  • Whether you are a smoker
  • Your BMI
  • Where you live
  • The type of plan you choose

Your health history, and your family’s health history, could have a significant impact on your health insurance rates. If you have had medical issues in the past, you can expect your rates to be higher than average.

The table below shows the different classifications you could fall into when it comes to health insurance coverage.

ClassPersonal HealthFamily History
Preferred Nonsmokers in great health with a minor conditionMinor health conditions in family history
Preferred SelectNonsmokers in great healthNo family history of health conditions
Preferred SmokerSmokers in great healthNo family history of medical conditions
StandardNonsmokers with average healthSome medical problems in family history
Standard PlusNonsmokers in good health with a few minor health conditionsMinor conditions in family history
Standard SmokerSmokers in good healthSome medical conditions in family history
Table RatingPoor health Medical conditions in family history
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If you are considered a preferred policyholder, your health insurance rates are likely to be lower than if you fall into the standard categories.

For individuals who purchase a health insurance policy through an employer, your health status will not impact your health insurance rates much. However, you may notice the cost of insurance increase because of other people’s health history who are enrolled in the same plan through your work.

Just like learning about life insurance terms and conditions, learning about health insurance coverage can be overwhelming. Remember to take your time and ask any questions you have as they come up.

What’s the best way to find private health insurance?

Your best bet when it comes to finding private health insurance is shopping around to find rates that work with your budget. You can search the internet for affordable companies that offer health insurance.

You can also speak with independent insurance agents who may be able to find a great deal on coverage for you. Regardless of the results you get, be sure to shop around and compare quotes before making any final decisions on coverage.

In fact, you can use our free quote tool below to start your search for affordable private health insurance today.

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