Many people have never had to shop for health insurance. An employer often provides it. But if you have to buy health insurance on your own, it’s important to understand the process.
Answer some key questions to be a more informed shopper.
What are the current and future health care needs in your household?
Do you think you will use health care services often or just rarely? That answer can help you decide whether to choose a plan that offers basic coverage, or one with broader benefits.
Do you want to keep your current doctors?
Will you want to keep seeing your doctor? That might dictate the type of plan you choose. HMO plans require that you use doctors in the network. So, check to see if your doctor is in the network. Or consider a Preferred Provider Organization plan. It lets you visit almost any doctor.
How much can you afford to pay for health insurance?
Knowing your price range can help narrow the options.
Make sure you understand your costs. You will have a monthly cost for your plan and other expenses, such as an annual deductible or payments for office visits. Plans with higher monthly costs tend to have lower costs for office visits and other services. If you want lower monthly costs, you will pay higher costs for office visits and other services.
What health expenses will the plan cover?
When comparing plans, look to see what expenses are covered. Will the plan pay for physicals, shots and other preventive care? How about prescription drugs or dental care? Some plans cover expenses like these, some do not. Be sure to understand and assess the benefits of each plan you are considering.
If you need the most basic information, explore this first:
Health Insurance Basics: Simple explanations of the medical history review, doctors, prescriptions, dependent coverage and Health Savings Accounts.
If you need help so that you can decide what plan type best fits your needs, try this:
Virtual Benefits Advisor: Let our virtual host David profile your specific needs and help you find the right plan type.
If you want to look at Aetna health insurance plans available in your area one-by-one:
Aetna Health Plan Choices and select your state.
If you want to compare Aetna health insurance plans available in your area side-by-side:
Get a Quote: Just enter your ZIP code and then select a coverage date. Or you can download the PDF from Aetna Health Plan Choices by selecting your state. The download link will appear with the “Aetna Plans in Your Area”.
Once you’ve found plans that interest you, it’s time to get a price quote. You can Get a Quote right now on this website or by calling 1-800-217-2386, Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. EST.
The quote will be an estimate. The real cost is calculated after a review. (See “Step 4” below.)
You may submit an online application form by using Aetna’s secure website. (You cannot apply by phone.)
You’ll need this information for each person on the application:
- Date of birth
- Social Security Number
- Current/past health insurance plans
- Medical history (diagnosis, treatment, dates of service, status)
- Prescription drug information (name, dose, date prescribed)
- Contact information for doctors (primary care and specialists)
Please complete the online application form. If you skip any questions, the review process will stop until we can get the missing information.
With your application, please submit payment for your first month of coverage (this is the amount indicated in your price quote). When you apply online you can use a credit card.
Important note: We will charge your credit card or deposit your check ONLY if your application is approved.
We review your completed application as soon as we get it. This review process is called “medical underwriting”. We may call you to clarify information you’ve provided. The review process takes about 5 to 15 days.
After your application has been processed, one of three things can happen. You may be:
- Approved at the quoted rate (known as the standard premium charge)
- Approved at a higher rate (based on your medical history)
- Declined coverage (based on your medical history)
You’ll be notified by mail about the decision. If approved, coverage will typically start on your chosen effective date.
Important note: Do not cancel your current health insurance until you have been notified of your approval for this new plan.
We will apply the payment you’ve submitted to your first monthly payment. For credit cards, any additional payment that is required (based on the underwriting process) will be charged to the card. If you paid by check, any additional amount will be show up in your next payment.
Compare Aetna health insurance plans and get
a FREE monthly rate quote.