Personal Finance

Your Health, Your Wealth: All About Insurance

With job losses mounting and companies slashing benefits in the face of recession, fewer of us are going to have the benefit of employer-sponsored health insurance. In all probability, many working Americans are going to have to come to grips with the idea of buying their own insurance in the months ahead.

But consider the alternative: medical bills are the single largest cause of bankruptcy in this country. If you don’t have insurance, you need to get it, Carmen said. If you do have it, you still need to make sure your policy provides the right benefits at the right price.

Kim Holland, Insurance Commissioner for the state of Oklahoma and board member of the , stressed to Carmen that there is no standard insurance plan for everyone – it all depends on location. Holland suggests starting with your employer to find the right plan, but you can also find a list of local insurance organizations by visiting the . All state insurance programs maintain a list of licensed agents by their types of coverage and by their standing, she added.

If you’re younger and just starting out in the workforce, recognize that you don’t want to wait until you need health insurance to buy it, Holland said, because that’s when a pre-existing condition could mean you don’t get what you need (or do get it but at a higher cost). And always pay your premiums on time. Insurance companies can cancel your plan if you're late and it is often difficult to get reinstated.

Got insurance questions of your own? Head to our Forumswhere Kim Holland has been answering your questions. If you aren’t registered, you can do so here. It’s free and it only takes a minute.