Affordable Care Act Open Enrollment for your 2017 individual and family healthcare plan is here! Now is the time to enroll in new health coverage or make changes to your current plan.
The ConnectedHealth Marketplace, brought to you by TaxAct is an online shopping site where you can compare coverage options from the top insurance companies in your area and enroll online.
This platform is truly your one-stop-shop, offering a variety of options and services to help you protect your health and financial security.
Follow these 6 tips to help you find the perfect healthcare plan.
1. Remember the cheapest plan isn’t always the best value.
When looking for health insurance, many people are tempted to choose the plan with the lowest monthly cost (lowest premium).
But when you need to use your insurance, the out-of-pocket cost might be significantly different than you expected.
The real cost of your healthcare plan is outlined in the Annual Cost Summary provided by your insurance provider. Included in the summary are three ways to think about how much your plan will cost over the course of the year:
- The listed minimum cost is the amount you will pay for the plan if you don’t use any health services during the year – it is your monthly premium x 12 months.
- The estimated likely cost is your minimum cost (12 months of your premium) plus the amount you will likely pay for services like doctor’s visits, hospital stays, etc.
- The maximum possible cost is the estimated amount you will pay for the plan and healthcare services if you get very sick or have a serious injury.
While it’s tempting to pick a plan based solely on premium costs, we recommend you consider the total cost (including your share of expenses) so you’ll know what your financial responsibility really is.
2. Take a few minutes to shop around.
If you are enrolled in a healthcare plan from last year, take some time to do a little research.
Is there another plan that is a better value this year? Have your healthcare needs changed in the past year? Did the levels of coverage change?
The right health insurance plan can make a big impact on your wallet. Running a quick search to see what plans are available in your area may save you money.
3. Give yourself plenty of time.
Start shopping well before the deadline to allow yourself enough time to research the plan that’s for you. Consider these details:
- Is your preferred doctor in network?
- Are your prescriptions covered or what will your out-of-pocket cost be?
- Can you afford your estimated likely cost?
- Are you eligible for a subsidy?
Waiting until the last minute can lead to costly errors.
4. Check to see if you are eligible for a subsidy.
Subsidies, or premium tax-credits, can help offset the price of your health coverage.
The subsidy amount you are eligible to receive is based on your anticipated household income for 2017, the size of your family and the cost of health insurance in the area where you live.
Two different subsidies are available through the federal government for individual health insurance plans:
- The Advanced Premium Tax Credit lowers your monthly premium.
- Cost sharing reduction lessens the out-of-pocket costs you pay for health care services you receive during a policy period. This includes your deductible, coinsurance and copays. To be eligible for a cost sharing reduction, you must enroll in a “Silver” plan.
Want to calculate your subsidy eligibility? Click here.
5. Use a lifeline.
Comparing multiple health plans, decoding unfamiliar insurance terminology and analyzing numbers can be confusing for everyone.
Fortunately ConnectedHealth provides resources to help navigate the ConnectedHealth Marketplace and answer any health coverage questions you may have.
You can call licensed agents directly or click to chat on the fly. Additionally, our Resource Center contains the answers to frequently asked questions, definitions of common terms and articles on current insurance topics.
You shouldn’t have to guess when making choices regarding your health coverage, which is why ConnectedHealth offers multiple ways to help you make educated decisions.
6. Be aware of the deadlines!
Here’s a list of the key Open Enrollment dates you need to know:
If you do not enroll by the Jan. 31 deadline, you can’t register until the next open enrollment period begins unless you qualify for a Special Enrollment period.
Visit the ConnectedHealth Marketplace to compare your options.