Private insurance differs from group plans because they do not have to accept all applicants at the same rate. Your eligibility and how much you pay are determined by your age, weight, smoking status and health history so a medical exam may be required. Also, private insurance plans are less likely to cover a pre-existing condition – an illness you had prior to buying the insurance. That means the plan can deny you coverage for an illness such as asthma, diabetes or cancer or increase your premium. In general, private health insurance offers higher premiums and fewer benefits plus higher copayments and deductibles. The insurance may have a low maximum limit or cap on what it will pay.