Even though states are implementing a new way to get health insurance this fall, most people aren’t getting the news they need about this big change. It’s true that more of health care reform will be implemented next year, but where you get your health insurance may be changing less than you think.
Health insurance policies already have to comply with certain federal standards even before they are offered through state exchanges. The policies you can buy to cover you in 2014 will be available as of October 1 this year. Some insurance companies will be offering policies through state exchanges, but companies can also sell through the same markets they used before health care reform.
You May Not Need New Coverage Next Year
You may be able to keep a plan you bought before health care reform became law, too. That depends on whether your plan maintains a grandfathered status. Only plans that were effective prior to the date the healthcare reform law was signed – March 23, 2010 – are considered grandfathered. If you have a grandfathered plan, you are not required to have one of the new “metal” plans.
Since the older plans don’t have the same requirements as new plans, premiums on grandfathered plans may remain lower than the cost of new plans. Since millions of people with major health problems are expecting to sign up for coverage in 2014, the claims experience on the new plans is expected to be much higher, also leading to higher rates.
So for most people, it is looking like the best thing may be to keep the grandfathered plan that you currently have. People with plans that have exclusions on some pre-existing condition may find it worthwhile to consider changing plans. Also, some very old plans have had large rate increases, so in some cases one of the new plans might be a better value.
Whether you decide to keep an old plan or purchase a new one depends on which one covers the health care you need at the lowest cost. Before you make that choice, be sure to talk to us about what policies are available through all of the markets. Even if you prefer a plan that’s not offered by your state’s exchange, we can help you with the tax credit to make it more affordable. That’s based on your modified adjusted gross income and we’ll be happy to help you figure that out, too.