Here we are again, another open enrollment and HealthTN.com is here with a quick “how-to” for all of you first-timers shopping for health insurance in the HealthCare.gov Marketplace.
Consumers browsing HealthCare.gov for health insurance in this year’s open-enrollment period will immediately notice a couple of items: a quicker window-shopping experience and many more high-deductible health plan options.
Prospective insurance shoppers enter their ZIP code and household information before they are shuffled to a page that shows all the health plan options and prices in their area. A new feature allows people to guess how much medical care they will use throughout the year. The government also made pop-up boxes to explain what benefits are mandatory in all plans, and what the different insurance terms mean.
Clicking on specific plans shows more details about the monthly premium, deductible, out-of-pocket maximum, copayments, and coinsurance amounts. HealthCare.gov also includes separate links to the plan’s provider directory and summary of benefits.
HealthCare.gov has some broken links, including embedded links that go to insurance companies’ websites. But the site overall loads quickly and has not yet crashed, a far cry from the first open enrollment that started in 2013.
However, some consumers may feel inundated by data searching HealthCare.gov on their own, which is why many brokers and navigators help people through the process. You still have a lot of information being thrown at you, so why not reach out to us and let us assist you in learning what you need? We are just a phone call away at (615) 541-4257. It can, after all, be a bit overwhelming.
Most enrollees on the federal exchange have chosen bronze or silver plans due to their relatively lower premiums. The popularity of those plans appears to have carried over into the 2016 season. But a majority of the options have high deductibles in which people could potentially be on the hook for large medical expenses before insurance kicks in.
Studies have shown that when it comes to health insurance, the monthly price dictates what many people will do. The ACA’s premium subsidies also make the upfront coverage more affordable for millions of people. But since many ACA plans compete on lower premiums, those plans usually have higher out-of-pocket obligations to balance out the risk.
Open enrollment ends January 31, 2016. People must enroll in an exchange plan by December 15 for coverage to start January 1. Healthcare.gov had predicted slow growth in the upcoming sign-up period, and much will depend on whether consumers would rather buy insurance or pay a steeper tax penalty. For next year, adults without health insurance through their jobs or elsewhere have to pay $695 per person or 2.5% of annual household income, whichever is higher. The maximum penalty for a family is $2,085.
No matter what choice you make, do your research and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Sure, it’s your money, but more importantly, it’s your health!