It is open enrollment time again – time to take stock of your health insurance situation, sign up for new plans or move to more suitable plans. This year the period has been shortened to forty-five days, starting from November 1st ending on December 15th. The plans you choose now will become active from January 1st,2018. This is the time to compare and choose wisely as insurance companies offer you their best deals.
Over the last year there has been a lot of uncertainty regarding the Affordable Care Act followed by a lot of speculation. The new administration’s efforts to do away with the health law has not been successful as yet, but it has not deterred the administration to stop trying. Every now and then executive orders and revised regulations regarding health insurance and health care have made the insurance companies jittery. The greatest impact of this is the rising of premiums for 2018 plans.
How to Choose the Best Plans for Yourself
Finding the right plan at the right price can be a hard task – but can be done and has to be done.
Assess your medical needs and match it with plan benefits
Your choice of plan will be determined by your needs – how often or to what extent you need medical care. Of course, you cannot predict exactly how many times you will fall sick but you can make a rough estimate depending on your present health conditions. Accordingly, you can choose a plan with low premiums high-deductibles or high premiums low deductibles. Also calculate all the out-of-pocket expenses of the plan.
Know the different types and categories of available plans
Four broad categories of plans are available –platinum, gold, silver and bronze. Platinum and gold plans are most expensive and bronze are the cheapest. Silver plans are in the middle balancing costs and benefits. Then there are HMO or PPO type plans. HMO plan members are strictly limited to their network of providers while PPO allows more flexibility. Hence PPO plans are more expensive.
Find out the trends and numbers this year
Silver seems to be the most balanced plan for most but that does not mean it is true always. This year, the high demand for silver plans has pushed up the premiums. So, it is possible you can get a lower-level gold plan with better benefits as against a silver plan with good benefits by paying just a little more. Also find out the special discounts or deals given by the companies.
Get the correct information and act fast
There is not too much time left for the open enrollment period to be over. If you miss it, you will have other opportunities but they are more time consuming. Some states may have different time frames for open enrollment – you should be aware of those regarding your state. Get all the relevant information from government websites related to health insurance. Find out how much subsidy can you claim for health insurance, this will reduce your premiums and you can afford to buy a more expensive plan with better benefits.
The law for paying penalty for not having health insurance is still active, so, you need to seriously consider getting health insurance if not for any other reason. Open enrollment period is the best time to do that.