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"I definitely cannot afford health insurance right now. I'd rather take my chances and use the money for other priorities like rent, car, gas, whatever. If I have to see a doctor, I'll pay out of pocket or charge it and pay later. But, if I had to go to the hospital I don't know how it would be paid for."

Recent High School or College Graduate

Permanent Individual Insurance

Individual policies are usually more expensive than student or short-term plans and can be more expensive than COBRA or university extensions. However, they are good options if you have a pre-existing condition or if you plan to work as a freelancer or entrepreneur.

Unlike temporary insurance, permanent insurance plans accept so-called HIPPA forms, which under federal law limit exclusions for pre-existing conditions by new plans purchased within 63 days of when an old plan expires. Students must have been on their old plan for at least 1 year to request a HIPPA form.

The availability of health insurance plans that sell policies directly to individuals varies across Alabama counties. Visit the Alabama Health Plans for a list of authorized health plans in Alabama.

Remember that if you are self-employed, there are tax savings benefits for having health insurance. Visit I Am Self Employed for more information.

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