How to Get the Most Out of the Affordable Care Act
Enrollment for 2015 coverage under the Affordable Care Act started on November 15. Government sources say sites are running better now and coverage options should be clearer for consumers. But you should keep these five tips in mind in order to get the best coverage without overpaying:
Shopping for health insurance may not be as much fun as shopping for new clothes or a car, but that doesn’t mean you should hit one stop and call it a day. To make sure you’re getting the best deal for your money and the coverage you need, be sure to shop around. Even if you were enrolled last year, go back to your state insurance exchange and look at new plans to compare prices. There might be something better for you this time around.
Be Aware of Costs
When you’re considering a new policy, pay attention to all costs involved with the coverage. You might find you have a lower deductible or out-of-pocket, but then some things you’ll pay for might not apply to the yearly cap. You should understand what the co-pays will be and what the deductibles are for all medical services you might need. Not all policies will compare directly across the board, so you need to weigh all the costs to know which coverage is best for you.
Consider Financial Help
The important part of the ACA is that it’s meant to make health insurance affordable for all people. This means that you might qualify for financial assistance to get the coverage you need. Go to healthcare.gov and enter your current income information to see if you could receive a tax credit toward the cost of your plan. You need to make sure the amount of income is correct for next year so you don’t end up having to repay a subsidy if you’re given too much.
Pay Attention to the Billing
Now that the ACA and the state exchanges are entering a second year, there’s a slight glitch for those who re-enroll or change plans. In some cases, insurers aren’t being notified that consumers have changed plans, so they bill for the original plan, even if the insured has already paid for a new plan. Clare Krusing, spokeswoman for America’s Health Insurance Plans said, “It’s an issue we’re aware of, and we’re working with exchange officials to make sure there’s a solution for consumers.”
In case this happens to you, keep proof of payment, and after canceling the old policy, keep an eye on your credit card statements. If the payment was deducted automatically from a bank account, watch for double charges so you can tell right away if you’re paying for two policies. Finally, don’t cancel the old policy until you have proof of coverage from your new insurer.
Finding the right health insurance coverage can be confusing. The government has set up ways for you to get help. You could always work with a local insurance agent or group. Or, find a trained navigator or assistor put in place by the ACA. They’re trained to help you understand how to navigate the system. If it’s easier for you, call the federal consumer assistance center at 800-318-2596 and get help, ask if you qualify for a subsidy or get enrolled over the phone.