I recently left my job to work on starting up a small software company.
While I was employed, I paid about $70 a month for health insurance. I'm on COBRA now, which costs $560/month.
Do I have any other options for more affordable coverage? My biggest concern is being covered in the event that something serious, expensive and unexpected happens; paying a little more for doctor's visits is not as big of a concern for me.
How have other people dealt with this?
You can also try working with an insurance broker. He/she will shop for quotes from different insurance providers. The broker can also help answer questions about the type of coverage you should have. If nothing else, the insurance broker can help answer your questions and give you comparable health insurance quotes.
Do you have a family is one main question? That can change prices significantly.
I have a personal plan through a local health insurance provider and pay about $210 a month. So you might check out local plans.
You are always going to have a problem with health insurance being more expensive outside of a company providing it since they take the brunt of the cost.
You might also check out HSA accounts.
If you are young and don't have any health problems consider catastrophic coverage with a high deductible. You will pay out of pocket for minor things but will be protected in case of an emergency.
Personally, I use a high-deductible HSA plan which has tax advantages. If you go this route I would suggest that you put the difference in premiums into into the HSA account until fully funded.
I live in Canada and where I live, we get our health care for free. About 3 years ago, I had a pulmonary embolism that nearly killed me. While I was covered health care wise for the doctors and hospital stay, I wasn't prepared for the medication I needed to treat me conditions and complications ($220/wk), nor was I prepared for the 8 months off before I could return to the consulting work I was doing before.
This time around, I have stuffed away 8 months of emergency funding. This is on top of the money I need for the start up I'm on now. Built in to my top off are decision points; do I continue or exit, and part of that decision is whether I can afford to risk dipping into that emergency fund to continue my work.
So besides health care, which I realize you have to pay for in the US, make sure you have adequate funding for everything else ... loss of income, income potential and all of the drug costs assuming your health care plan doesn't cover them.
I'd also consider long term disability insurance. You're assuming you'll recover from whatever afflicts you, but what if it doesn't; then what?