Many consumers who buy their own health insurance face a big decision right now. Should you renew your existing plan, or switch to a new one?
It’s an especially important decision for consumers whose insurance company is giving them the option to stay in a “pre-ACA plan” – one that falls below minimum standards under the Affordable Care Act – for another year.
Here are our tips for consumers, and a checklist to help you make the decision that’s right for you:
1. SHOP AROUND! Now that insurance companies can no longer deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions, you can safely shop around. In addition to looking at your existing health insurer’s plans, check out the new health insurance marketplace for Wisconsin consumers, The Health Insurance Marketplace. Plans range from catastrophic plans with high deductibles to plans with fuller coverage. Check out your options at www.healthcare.gov or by calling (800)318-2596 or TTY: (855) 889-4325.
2. Find out if you can pay less, or get more for your money. You might qualify for financial help that could lower your premium or out-of-pocket costs. Go to www.healthcare.gov or call (800)318-2596 or TTY: (855) 889-4325 to apply.
3. Get help comparing your options and applying. In addition to insurance agents and brokers, specially trained people such as navigators, application assisters and certified application counselors are available to help at no cost to you. You can find people in your area at LocalHelp.healthcare.gov.
4. Understand what you’re getting into. Before renewing your plan or picking a different one, make sure you understand the costs, what’s covered and what’s excluded, and what providers are included in the plan’s network. Download our report for a helpful checklist.
5. Know you have until March 31 to sign up for coverage in the new marketplace. Even if you renew your current individual plan now, you can still switch to a plan in your state’s health insurance marketplace as long as you do so by the end of March of 2014.
Download the full our report above, which also includes checklist to help you navigate your choices before you make a decision.