It’s that time of year again for those who get their health insurance through the Covered California insurance exchange or directly from the insurance carrier, to renew and or make changes to their current health plan for 2018. Navigating the open enrollment period can be quite daunting to some customers. It’s important to get accurate information about the changes coming to the health insurance plans in 2018 and if making a switch is a good option.
Luckily, there are a number of ways you can get help choosing your new plan. One of the more accessible methods of choosing a plan is to go through a health insurance broker. This is a great option because brokers do not cost the client any money, they have a wide knowledge of the qualifying plans currently available on the market, and they also understand how to help you access any health insurance subsidies you are entitled to under the Affordable Care Act.
Step 1: Understanding Your Needs
Whether you use the exchange website or not, your first step is to weigh your options and needs. This involves a few different decisions about your coverage, including:
- Coinsurance and cost-sharing needs
- Maximum premium expenses
- The use of any subsidies you receive
- What covered services are necessary
It’s also important to provide information about your income to a broker or to the exchange during this phase, because if you are buying individual insurance the subsidies will be income-contingent.
Step 2: Reviewing Plan Choices
Once you understand what you can afford to pay and what you need to have covered, it’s easier to reduce the available plans to a selection that fit your situation. For most people, there are still a couple coverage tiers to choose between at this phase, because the cost-sharing options differ enough to make it worthwhile. At this phase, it’s important to be able to ask specific questions about your exact health insurance needs, because sometimes the coverage options leave you with a trade-off between covered services.
Step 3: Completing a Purchase
If you shop on an exchange website, the purchase process will involve signing up for your plan on site and then contacting the company about payment options if there are none directly linked through the exchange. On the other hand, if you shop with a broker, the enrollment and purchase are often streamlined.
Moving Forward With Your 2018 Insurance Purchase
If you are looking for more assistance with your 2018 insurance purchase, or if you want to requalify for your current plan, consider how much easier the process could be if you worked with a broker. Also remember to follow Sackett Insurance Services on Facebook, Google+, and LinkedIn for more information about the 2018 health insurance open enrollment period.