Every year there are a few changes to the ACA marketplace. It’s important to stay on top of these changes so you know what to expect from the upcoming open enrollment. To help you stay informed, Jeff Hess, the ACA expert, explains some of the changes that consumers should expect this year.
Shorter Enrollment Period
In the previous years, consumers could shop for health insurance starting November 1st to the end of January. That is no longer the case. This year CMS has shortened the Open Enrollment Period (OEP). Instead of 3 months, people only have 6 weeks to enroll in a new health plan. The enrollment period will last from November 1st through December 15th.
Rate and Plan Changes
Rates are going to go up. It could be 10%, or it could be 25%; we don’t know yet. These changes will become more known once consumers begin receiving their Annual Notice of Change (ANOC) letters in the mail. ANOC letters specify any changes in coverage, costs, or service area that will be effective in January. With that in mind, it is very important to talk to your agent and weigh out your options. Since your health plan changes every year, it’s important to make sure your plan is still the best plan for you.
Premiums vs. Deductible
Decide whats more important: premiums or your out-of-pocket expenses. Do you get sick a lot? Do you go to the doctor frequently? Can you meet your deductible? Do you have a lot of health conditions (minor or major)? It might be best to stay on an ACA plan. For many people, ACA plans are the best option because there’s no underwriting, as ACA covers pre-existing conditions. With ACA plans, consumers can also qualify for tax credits and cost-sharing subsidies. However, know that there are alternatives to ACA health plans, such as fixed indemnity plans and short-term medical plans.
Short-Term Medical Plans
If you’re relatively healthy and you only go to the doctor to get a physical and checkups, you might want to look into a short-term plan. Although short-term plans only have a coverage of 3 months, there is a loophole. Now, some health insurance companies allow consumers to complete four short-term plan applications; this enables consumers to have a full year of coverage. Plus, any medical issues you encounter while on a short-term plan will not be considered pre-existing when you’re auto-renewed into the next coverage term. This health plan alternative, along with supplemental plans, can save you a lot of premium dollars. You need to decide as soon as possible what the best decision for you.
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