Over the last few weeks, there has been a lot of talk about health care. What remains constant and true is that it is important to continue to protect the health and financial future of you and your family. Broken bones, disease and other chronic conditions can happen at any time. Most are treatable and in some cases preventable if you have access to care and health insurance. Make sure you are covered for 2017!
January 31 is the last day to enroll for coverage unless you have a qualifying Life Change Event. If you were not eligible to auto renew because your 2016 plan was not available, there is still time to shop for a new plan.
Time to Shop for a New Plan
If your insurance company did not offer the same plan and/or your household income or size has changed, we recommend that you use our Quick Cost & Plan Finder tool to browse your options for the best plan to meet your current health and financial needs. With this tool, you can check which plans include your preferred doctors, medications and hospitals/facilities. You can also get an idea of your total out-of-pocket costs. Note: If you select a plan that doesn’t include your preferred doctor or hospital “in-network,” it could cost you more to use them. Did your premiums go up? You may have some options to save money.
Did your income change?
If you received a tax credit last year and your income has changed, you should get a new tax credit estimate before browsing new plans. Use the Quick Cost & Plan Finder tool to get a sense of your savings prior to browsing plans. If you did not receive financial assistance last year, check to see if you now qualify.
Coloradans may be eligible for financial assistance depending on their income and household size. In 2016, our customer saved an average of $294 per month on monthly health insurance costs.
If your premiums went up from last year, there are steps you can take to lower your costs.
- See if you’re eligible to save! Use our Quick Cost and Plan Finder tool before you shop to see if you could be saving. The good news is that if you’re eligible for financial assistance, when the rates go up, so does the financial assistance, in many cases lowering the premium you pay each month. On average, customers who receive financial assistance will see their net monthly premium go down 11 percent if they stay with their current plan. Those who move to another plan can save even more.
- Not eligible for financial assistance? There are still ways to reduce your costs. Consider switching to the lowest-cost plan in your current metal tier. That alone can reduce the amount of your increase, on average, by close to half.
Either way, there is an opportunity to reduce monthly premiums by shopping around and comparing plans but the premium amount should not be your only consideration. You should factor in out-of-pocket costs such as co-pays, deductibles and prescriptions, as those will affect what they pay for care through the course of the year. You may pay less each month, but owe more when you need care. Our expert Brokers can help evaluate benefits that meet your health and financial needs.
Avoid the Penalty
Make sure you are covered in 2017 to avoid a fine. The penalty for not having health insurance in 2017 will be $695 per person or 2.5% of your household income, whichever is greater.
After You Enroll
Once you’re covered, your insurance company will send you an invoice for your first month’s premium. Make sure to pay that on time each month to keep your coverage. Timing of invoicing and the receipt of membership materials vary by company, but here is what to expect.
Make the most out of your comprehensive coverage by understanding the benefits included in your plan. Our Health Insurance Basics Guide offers helpful suggestions, including how to choose an in-network doctor and what to do in an emergency. And don’t forget to take advantage of the free health screenings that come standard with your health insurance plan. It is also important to understand your coverage before you need it. It can save you both time and money!
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