I think it is a myth that you get a better rate through an association. Before I spent time to research the book, I had bought into another myth: that group insurance from an employer was cheaper (it is the other way around if you don`t have serious medical problems).
I don`t think that there is anything such as discounted coverage in health insurance. There are 4 typical types of coverage: employer-employee, individual policy, association group sold to individuals (not the same as employer group), and small business insurance for your small business. There are also a few fringe types, and any professional (i.e. law) associations that you belong to would tell you which. Each type has it`s own pro`s and con`s, and work well for different situations.
You`ll get a rate that depends on your health status and/or the laws of your state. In states that have community rating you get the same rate regardless of your health status. In states without, your health will determine the rate.
Get quotes from the health insurers licensed in your state. You`ll see that the difference in rate is determined largely by your deductible.
Check out the quality of the insurer by reading news archives. My local library offers web based newspaper and magazine searches that let me look up information in articles about the insurers.
What worked best for me was to find an independent agent that represents a number of companies. You may need more than one agent if the one you find doesn`t represent all of the companies in which you are interested. I`ve got a 12 step process in the book, and I`m working on an article that sums up the 12 step process.
Author, Get a Good Deal on Your Health Insurance Without Getting Ripped-Off