28 Jun 2017

Major Alternatives For COBRA Insurance Coverage

Major Alternatives For COBRA Insurance Coverage

Thinking about quitting your job? Do you sense your company is about to downsize and you might be on the chopping block? Either way, unemployment can be a stressful time for many Americans as they try to navigate through the uncertainty, but it’s important to remain calm and create a game plan for the future.

One of your top concerns has to be health insurance because many Americans lose their coverage once they depart from the organization. There is another option called COBRA, which stands for the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act and is meant to extend your health coverage while you’re unemployed. COBRA insurance coverage is flawed though because it’s usually quite pricey, costing upwards of $500 per month per individual in certain cases. This means COBRA is not an option for many Americans, so here are a few alternatives if you find yourself unemployed.

Purchase A Plan

Through the Affordable Care Act, you can shop around for a new health insurance plan. Under normal circumstances, most Americans have to wait for the open enrollment period. The enrollment period for 2018 starts on November 1, 2017, and ends on December 15, 2017. If you’ve lost your job, you may qualify for a special enrollment, which means you’ll have to explain your situation and wait for approval. Once you get approved, you will be able to purchase a health plan.

Utilize Your Spouse’s Plan

This is a great option if your spouse is employed and their company offers health insurance. In many instances, joining your spouse’s plan can save a lot of money in the long-run while you’re unemployed. It’s important to always check with your spouse first and calculate the cost of the monthly premium increase. Your partner’s coverage might differ from your old plan as well, so it’s best to read the fine print and fully understand the new conditions and benefits.

Medicaid

If you’ve lost your job and have had to sell some property, you may be eligible for Medicaid. This provides health coverage to low-income individuals who would otherwise be uninsured. Medicaid is controlled by each state but is federally regulated, meaning coverage and eligibility varies depending on where you live. You can always find out more information at HealthCare.gov to see if this is a viable option.

Trade Unions or Alumni Associations

A lot of individuals often overlook this option, but it’s always best to do a bit of research and make a few phone calls to see if this is available. Many college alumni associations do offer health insurance plans, meaning you can join their plan by simply paying a monthly premium. Several trade unions also provide the same coverage, meaning you can purchase insurance through your specific union. Several other options for different professions exist, so it’s always best to reach out to the union and ask a few questions.

If you’re facing the prospects of being unemployed in the near future, consider these options instead of immediately reaching for the COBRA option, as it can be quite costly and take a chunk out of your wallet. For more information regarding the complex health insurance landscape in America, count on HealthQuoteInfo to give you the latest information and the best advice in the industry.

26 Jun 2017

Health Insurance Premiums increased 105% Under Obamacare

Health Insurance Premiums increased 105% Under Obamacare

A new report released last month by the Department of Health and Human Services detailed how insurance premiums have increased under the Affordable Care Act. Between the years 2013 and 2017, premiums for individual plans increased by 105 percent. When analyzing the report, this increase applies to 39 states that were using HealthCare.gov during this five-year period. The report does not provide any specifics regarding this increase, but rather just presents the figures. By glancing at these figures, it immediately reads as if the Affordable Care Act resulted in making insurance premiums more costly for Americans. Here are a few things you should know surrounding this report.

Premiums

A premium refers to the monthly cost owed to your insurance company. The average monthly premium in 2013 was $232 for individual plans. As of 2017, the average premium costs approximately $476, which means there’s been an astronomical increase of $244, or 105 percent.

The Affordable Care Act

This is often referred to as Obamacare and was conceived by former President Barack Obama and his administration. The act was signed in 2010 and aimed at making health insurance more affordable and accessible to the American people. Before the Affordable Care Act, insurance companies could reject applicants based on age and medical history, meaning these individuals were unable to purchase basic health insurance.

Industry Consolidation

According to a report by the Brookings Institution, higher premiums are caused by industry consolidation. What does this mean exactly? It means frequent mergers and acquisitions within this sector, resulting in less competition and ultimately fewer options for Americans. It’s also very difficult for new insurance companies to enter the market due to heavy regulations and the possibility of being quickly acquired by another large company.

Exclusionary Policies

As previously mentioned, Obamacare ended the exclusionary practices of the large insurance companies, meaning they had to insure elderly individuals and those with complex medical histories. So these individuals were finally able to purchase medical insurance. Therefore, this played a small part in driving up the average cost of insurance premiums. It’s also important to note that Obamacare forced insurance companies to cover a broader spectrum of issues. This means millions of Americans now have access to maternity care, mental health counseling, and substance abuse programs.

The Trump Administration

Donald Trump has been a strong opponent of the Affordable Care Act. One of his campaign promises was to completely dismantle Obamacare once he entered the Oval Office. This has created a great deal of uncertainty in the health insurance realm, and when there’s a level of uncertainty, prices tend to increase over time. There’s also the question regarding whether the federal government will continue to subsidize Medicaid, a program for impoverished Americans who earn approximately less than $16,000 a year (depending on your state). According to HealthCare.com, if the government stopped subsidizing this program, it would lead to insurance premiums increasing by nearly 20 percent.

Overall, the Department of Health and Human Services issued a superficial report that provides the numbers, but does not provide any context. While we cannot ignore the report, it does demonstrate how health insurance is still a growing concern amongst Americans, and it’s a continuous challenge to purchase affordable health care. For more up-to-date information regarding this subject, you can always consult HealthQuoteInfo.

06 Jun 2017

Health Insurance Rates in Connecticut Expected to Rise in 2018

Connecticut health insurance rates are at risk of rising for 2018. Insurance companies have sent off their proposals to the State Department of Insurance, which would see group plans increase between 8% and 31% and individual plans raised between 15% and 31%. Insurers justify these increases to the rise in health care services being provided. These increases, along with the possibility of the Republic Healthcare Bill, place certain patients at risk of losing health care coverage. Furthermore, cuts and scale backs would see a decrease in access and quality care.

Read more here.

01 Jun 2017

Buying Health Insurance Outside of Open Enrollment

Open enrollment is a period that typically occurs once a year when individuals can purchase health insurance, or make modifications to their existing plan. The period applies to government-subsidized health coverage plans and those in the private sector.

 

Every year, many people miss this window of opportunity and are left in a state of panic. Even if you’ve missed the deadlines, there are several options that exist, meaning you won’t be left uninsured. Here are 10 things to consider when buying health care insurance outside of open enrollment.

 

  • Short-Term Insurance

You can always purchase short-term insurance at any time during the year. The only drawback is the coverage typically ends after three months, meaning you’ll be uninsured for the remainder of the year. Short-term packages are offered in every state except New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Vermont. You also can’t purchase short-term insurance and experience a qualifying life event (QLF), which includes getting married, divorced or having a child.

 

  • Special Enrollment Period

If you experienced a qualifying life event (such as loosing your medical coverage, having a child, or getting married) during the open enrollment period, you’re qualified to apply for the special enrollment period. You need to visit HealthCare.gov where you’ll be prompted to answer a series of questions and provide personal information. Once your application is approved, you will be able to purchase medical insurance for the entire year.

 

  • Medicaid

For individuals and families who can’t afford to pay for health care and live below the poverty line, they can register for Medicaid. Each state controls their own Medicaid program under federal regulations, and each has different requirements for eligibility.

 

  • Children’s Health Insurance Program

The Children’s Health Insurance Program (also known as CHIP) is similar to Medicaid but applies solely to children and teens under the age of 19. CHIP can be really crucial if your child has serious medical issues and requires a wide range of prescription drugs. Coverage also varies depending on your state.

 

  • Native Americans

Native Americans can register for health coverage year-round and do not have to wait for the open enrollment period. 94 percent of American Indians/Native Alaskans are enrolled in Medicaid programs in their respective states, while the other six percent typically purchase their insurance, according to HealthInsurance.org.

 

  • Know The Dates For 2018

The open enrollment period for 2018 begins on November 1, 2017 and ends on December 15, 2017. Marking these dates down and creating a plan of action is crucial if you want to register and remain properly informed.

 

  • Make An Appeal

If you tried to register for health coverage but were rejected, you can write an appeal letter explaining the situation and why you should be eligible for insurance. You can find the request form and address on HealthCare.gov.

 

  • Cheaper Is Not Always Better

If you’re purchasing short-term insurance, don’t automatically choose the cheapest option. Make sure to read the fine print and find out if there are any exemptions and take 24 hours to fully read through the literature.

 

  • Hardship Exemption

If you’ve endured a hardship, you may not be required to purchase health insurance outside of the open enrollment period. Examples of hardships include filing for bankruptcy, being evicted, incarcerated or a victim of domestic violence. For a full list of these examples, you can find them at HealthCare.gov.

 

  • Consult A Broker

Sometimes it can be worth it to talk to an expert who can offer insight and advice that you might not find on your own. Insurance brokers know the laws and regulations of the state and can create a plan with you.

 

Whether you’ve missed the open enrollment period, or you’re trying to prepare for 2018, it’s always important to remain informed and up-to-date regarding the complexities of health insurance. For more trustworthy information, consult HealthQuoteInfo.

03 May 2017

Buying Health Insurance for a Baby or New Born

Buying Health Insurance for a Baby or New Born

When it comes to being a new parent, the last thing on your mind is health insurance. You are making sure that your baby is healthy and ready to go home with you when the time is right. As a new parent, life can be overwhelming for a period of time. Finding the right insurance for your new born is essential for their health and your peace of mind.

So many things happen in the beginning of a baby’s life- they need certain immunizations, checks for their eyes and ears, and regular check-ups to make sure they are growing and developing in the ways they should be.

Check your existing health insurance

If you have a comprehensive health insurance plan, your new born will be covered under your health insurance plan for 30 days. Having a baby is a qualifying health insurance event, which gives you a month to officially register your child under your existing health insurance plan or switch to a new policy.

If you want to add your new born to your health insurance policy, you can call your health insurance agent and ask them about adding your child to your policy. Make sure to ask about how much this will cost, and you’ll likely need to have your kid’s birth certificate and social security number ready. Insurance companies will retroactively cover care that your child may have received before you purchased their health insurance within the first 30 days.

Secondly, you might find that switching health insurance plans is your best option. Since you have 30 days to compare other health insurance options, take a look at what other options are for your family. If you have insurance through your employer, talk to HR to see how adding in a new person on your insurance could affect your rates.

Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)

The Federal Children’s Health Insurance Program, or CHIP, is a low-cost health insurance option for families who don’t qualify for Medicaid. Every State offers CHIP, which also covers women who are pregnant.

In order to see if your child qualifies for CHIP, you can fill out an application on the Health Insurance Marketplace. You can do this anytime during the 30 days you have when your baby is born, as this is your special qualifying period. Your individual State can then contact you about the health care options you have for CHIP.

CHIP covers routine check-ups, prescriptions, immunizations, emergency services, doctor visits, dental and vision, inpatient/outpatient care, and lab and x-ray services.

CHIP covers routine doctor and dental visits. You may have to pay co-pays for other health care services under this program. Depending on what State you live in, you may have to pay a monthly premium. No matter what, you’ll never have to pay more than 5% of your family’s yearly income.

Health insurance for your baby

When it comes to getting health insurance for your new baby, there are many options you can take. Whether you use your existing health insurance, insurance from your employer, or Federal programs like CHIP, your child will be able to have comprehensive insurance for their childhoods.

03 May 2017

Options for Health Insurance After Losing Your Job

Options for Health Insurance After Losing Your Job

Losing your job can be incredibly stressful. If you’ve lost your job recently, you may be focused on finding a new one or what you will do with your newfound free time. One important thing to think about is your options for health insurance if you lose your job.

There are typically two main kinds of health insurance you can take advantage of if you lose your job. You can buy health insurance through the Health Insurance Marketplace, or you can extend your employer’s insurance using COBRA coverage.

The Health Insurance Marketplace

The Health Insurance Marketplace is the federal health insurance marketplace set up by the Affordable Care Act. This marketplace allows you to see affordable federal and state options for health insurance.

Although there is an open enrollment period for the health insurance marketplace, losing your job counts under the special enrollment period. This means you can apply for health insurance whenever you need to during the year. This also qualifies if you leave your job or otherwise forfeit the insurance your employer had for you.

Your new health insurance coverage may not start immediately, but it will start the first day of the month after you lose your employer’s health insurance. Filling out an application on the health insurance website can also let you see how you could save money on health insurance based on your yearly income.

COBRA insurance coverage

After you lose your job, you may be able to keep your health insurance through COBRA continuation coverage. COBRA allows you to stay on your employer’s health insurance for about 18 months after you quit or are fired. You do still have to pay your insurance premium and a small fee for continuing coverage.

During your COBRA coverage, you can choose to switch to a health insurance marketplace plan if you find a better insurance deal. One of the benefits of COBRA coverage is that you have time to find an insurance plan with plenty of time to get the rest of your life in order, or to find a new job that provides you with health insurance.

The importance of health insurance

Having health insurance is incredibly important. The health insurance options available offer a base level of coverage, so you will be able to find a health insurance plan that meets your needs. The Affordable Care Act has made it possible for millions of people to be able to afford health insurance, which means there is likely a plan out there for you.

Lapses in coverage can incur penalties. If you lose your job, don’t elect for COBRA coverage, and don’t take advantage of your special enrollment period in the health insurance marketplace, you may have to pay a fee at the end of the year for the time period you weren’t insured.

In the end, having health insurance can decrease worries you may have about getting sick or injured unexpectedly. Even if you do lose your job, there are health insurance options you can take advantage of that will protect you throughout the year.