On November 15 insurance enrollment begins – an important date you don’t want to miss since you can only sign up for a health plan or change plans during this time. You must be eligible for a special enrollment period to sign up any other time of the year. But how does insurance enrollment affect you?
Did You Sign up for a Health Plan Last Year?
If the answer is yes, you have several choices during this year’s insurance enrollment:
- Allow your plan to auto-renew. Although this may be the easiest path to take, you risk higher premiums – as much as 50 to 100 percent higher and risk losing valuable premium subsidies. Learn more about the risks of auto-renewing your plan by reading my blog, Why Allowing Your Health Plan to Auto-Renew in 2015 Could Cost You Money.
- Keep your current plan but have your Advisor recalculate your premium subsidy.
- Choose a new insurance plan (applications must be submitted by December 15 for a January 1 policy effective date).
New policies take effect as follows:
What if I Have a Grandfathered Health Plan or Grandmothered Health Plan?
Your best option is typically to keep your grandfathered plan or grandmothered plan, especially when you are happy with the coverage, premiums and choice of physicians and you know you won’t qualify for premium assistance to lower your monthly premium. It’s likely your current plan is less expensive and has a larger doctor network.
There are several reasons, however, that you might consider switching to a new health insurance plan:
- If you make less than 400 percent of the federal poverty level, you qualify for a subsidy which can lower the premium on a new plan quite a bit.
- If there are exclusions, pre-existing conditions or policy restrictions on your current plan, you can sign up for a guaranteed-issue health plan.
- If your health plan premiums have increased, a new health plan could provide lower rates.
- If your current plan is scheduled to terminate, you MUST choose a new health plan soon.To avoid any lapse in coverage, you’ll need to submit an application for a new plan by December 15 for a policy effective date of January 1, 2015. All grandmothered Humana plans in Colorado as well as some Aetna and Cigna plans in various states are terminating as of December 31.
Again, premium subsidies are available for those making upwards of $100,000. Many individuals don’t even realize they qualify for subsidies to help lower their monthly premium. For example, one of very own HSA for America Advisors helped a family last year cut their premium from $1,295.86 a month to a net $49.86 after premium assistance!
It’s time you contact your HSA for America Advisor to look at your options and see how you can reduce your monthly premiums! Do you have any questions about subsidies? What are your questions about insurance enrollment?
Wiley Long is President of HSA for America, and a passionate advocate for consumer-based solutions that will improve price transparency and lower health insurance and medical costs for people purchasing individual and family health insurance plans.