Many people get sticker shock when they look at the cost of their health insurance. But many are going it alone to save big bucks.
Nearly 20 million people across the country choose individual health plans. 60-thousand of them in Texas have signed up with Aetna, one of the nation's largest health insurers.
"A lot of people are either self insured or perhaps they can't afford the coverage that their employer sponsors" said Anne Rote with Aetna Insurance. "It may be less expensive to purchase individual coverage for the dependent, for a child for instance".
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That's because companies heavily subsidize employees' health insurance, but not always for their dependents.
"I've had some clients, a spouse and two children could cost as much as $900 a month, where in the private market you're looking at 2 or 3 hundred dollars a month" says Amanda Wray with Tailor Made Insurance in Dallas.
Independent insurance brokers like Wray help their clients navigate all the options.
"In the private market, you're more likely to be able to tailor and customize individual plans so you can get them in line with your needs and your budget," Wray notes.
Buying individual policies for his wife and two children saves Tom Daspit's family more than three hundred dollars a month.
"Obviously the difference is pretty significant. and honestly without that cost difference I probably wouldn't be able to afford to have them covered" said Daspit, who lives in Euless.
You can find lots of independent health insurance brokers online.
Aetna Insurance and the Financial Planning Association offer a free online guide called "Navigating Your Health Benefits For Dummies". Click here for information on that guide.