2019 Open Enrollment is almost here and many clients and friends are getting notices that their plans are changing or their premiums are increasing. On November 1st, 2018 we'll be able to get a view of the universe of health options we'll have for 2019. While many clients will stay with their current plan, they will certainly see an increase in premiums and also in their deductibles or out of pocket maximums again. The annual bump in costs and reductions in benefits are now the norm for most people and we are constantly scouring the landscape for new options.
Affordable Care Act
We're right on the cusp of the 2016 Open Enrollment Period that begins November 1st and we've received hundreds of calls from clients that found shocking news from Blue Cross, Humana, and even United Health stating that their plans are being terminated and they are being moved to an HMO plan! While many of us are in disbelief, the truth is that all carriers in the Houston market and many other Texas markets won't have an available PPO plan offered by the major carriers. In the vacuum left by these terminating PPO plans we'll need to examine the HMO network plan design. While this process can be hard to understand, don't worry, we're here to assist you through this search.
In a world where you are told that procrastination is terrible and there are bad life consequences for missing deadlines, CMS, our government health administrator, has decreed that folks that waited past the deadline to purchase health insurance for 2015 will get one more shot at signing up!
Technical difficulties plagued the healthcare.gov signup process over the last few days of Open Enrollment. As a result of these problems, CMS, the government body that oversees the Affordable Care Act, has extended the Open Enrollment deadline to February 22nd. Remember, if you don't obtain coverage that begins 3/1/15, you cannot purchase health insurance this year unless you qualify for the Special Election period (have a baby, get a divorce, or have some other qualifying life change event). If you miss out on this last chance, you'll be locked out and won't be able to purchase an ACA plan in 2015. Make sure to grab this last opportunity to buy coverage.
The healthcare system is now at a breaking point. The ACA or Affordable Care Act is proving it is now created a situation that is unaffordable. Clients have been pushed into situations where they must make tough decisions as they are now unwilling or unable to make premium payments for plans they feel are too expensive or simply lack enough benefits for the cost. Many clients express what we've discussed for some time now that premiums are more than double what they used to pay and their deductibles are twice as high as well. Finally, because the expense is so high, many are trapped in plans that offer no benefits other than catastrophic coverage at a very high price. The truth is these clients are frustrated and searching for alternatives to their real financial problems. In the last month, Texas Health Design has had conversations about Short Term Health Insurance with more frequency and it is important to describe the benefits, limitations, and potential nasty pitfalls of this approach.
We've hit January and the time has come for many of us to turn our attention to a subject we often dread, taxes. This tax season many of us will face new filing requirements or even receive new forms in order to remain in good standing with the government. In this post we'll quickly summarize the items you'll need to look and that you'll encounter as we head toward April 15th.
I had several clients and new friends call frantically on the January 1st as they realized that their time to elect a new health plan to replace their terminated Blue Cross plan had passed. While they had almost 45 days to get these tasks completed, it isn't much of a secret that we all wish we could put off dealing with a health insurance search forever. Unfortunately, we now have a new addition to the proverbial saying, "We can't put off death and taxes", we can now make it, "We can't put off death, taxes, or enrollment in an Affordable Care Act plan". If you missed the January first deadline there is still hope.
It seems as though the days are flying by and the Open Enrollment Period is slipping by quickly. Insurance shoppers that desire to have coverage that is effective on January 1st of 2015 only have about 19 days left to obtain their coverage. Yes, if you miss the 12/15/14 deadline you'll still be able to buy coverage for the 2015 calendar year, but your coverage will start at the beginning of February! There is a significant price for procrastination in this new health insurance shopping environment, so don't put off this important decision.
Top 5 Questions About Health Insurance in 2015
I have received 5 or 6 questions consistently over the last month and I felt like they deserved to be highlighted as an article in our Texas Health Insurance Blog. Let's dive in and we'll review these common questions and ensure we've documented the answers. Remember, these are our opinions and each client and shopper's situation is different. Make sure to call us at 713-422-2935 and we'll help you discern the best approach for your unique set of circumstances.
Confusion Reigns NPN #7644850
The Affordable Care Act continues to be a source of confusion and consternation for many of our clients and readers. Many of the questions we are receiving are centered on financial assistance and the need for clarification from shoppers if they qualify for government help in paying for the high price of health insurance.