Disclosure: This post is brought to you by UnitedHealthCare. All opinions are 100% my own.
Make Shopping for Health Insurance as easy as ABC and 123!
Health Insurance used to be something everyone dealt with very mildly. Before the Affordable Care Act, (ACA) we, like most families, were completely content with the health insurance offered within our employment. Insurance under employment plans were more cost effective than what we could purchase on our own, so we never looked elsewhere. The hardest questions we faced were “employee only, employee + spouse, or employee + family”, “PPO or HMO”, and “Medical only, medical + dental, and Medical + dental and vision”. Whew, those were tough choices right?
Now, with the Affordable Care Act, insurance is available even outside of employment plans at a rate that is comparable to what you were paying before. The main difference we have noticed is the plans are different. Very different. Last year when we enrolled with the ACA we selected a plan that was not what we needed. We selected our plan solely on cost taking very little else into consideration. The result was being under insured with a high deductible.
This year, we have decided to take a step back and absorb as much information as possible before making a decision. That means we had to learn the ABCs and 123s – and everything thereafter.
A. Learn. It is important for you to learn about what has changed in health care because you may now be eligible for Medicaid. The ACA has raised the Medicaid limits in some states so more families are eligible. Before you begin shopping for Health Insurance, be sure you aren’t eligible for Medicaid instead.
B. Open Enrollment? You mean I can’t just buy health insurance whenever I’m ready? Open enrollment occurs only during a certain time. Know what open enrollment and special enrollment is all about and why it matters to you. Essentially, you need to use the time of open enrollment to get the proper health plan for your family. There are only certain qualifying events that allow you to use a special enrollment period when open enrollment is no longer open.
C. Buy your plan. Find a plan between Nov 15 and Feb 15 to have coverage for 2015. The exchanges, or the marketplace, is a website that allows you to compare plans from a variety of providers. This website will be either the government Healthcare.gov website or your state’s individual marketplace website.
I. Know what you are buying! Health plans are annual and there are only a few ways to switch so you need to know what you are buying BEFORE you pick your plan. Look at deductibles, co-pays, premiums and maximum out-of-pocket as well as the what is covered. Think about your family and what you see doctors for. What prescriptions you and your family have too. Your health insurance costs can be affected by how much coverage, deductibles, and co-pays you take. Watch these short videos for more information:
II. Help!! What does this all mean? All of this health care research can be a lot to take in. Terms such as deductible, premium, co-insurance, EOB and PPO are commonly used when discussing health care. Don’t get discouraged, maybe these short videos can help explain what all of this information actually means:
III. Costs within healthcare? The costs within health care can be daunting. Check your deductible and out-of-pockets on a regular basis to stay ahead. When deciding on a plan, look for value ads provided by the company such as nurse lines, apps, and health club discounts too! Take a few minutes to watch these short videos to learn more about saving: