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There are two main ways to get health insurance coverage: individually or through a group. Many people receive health insurance through their employer or a spouse or parent's employer, which is known as group health insurance. It is called group health insurance because the employer contracts with the insurer to provide a standardized menu of coverage to a large group of people.
Employer-sponsored health insurance benefits, the premiums of which are almost always paid in large part by the employer, are one of the most valuable employment benefits offered today given the increasing cost of health care. People who are not covered by a group plan can purchase individual medical insurance from an insurance broker. For a list of brokers and companies approved to offer health insurance in your state, call your state's insurance commission or visit your state's insurance Web site.