Winter not only brings the holidays, it is also the season of open enrollment for the Health Insurance Marketplace. While you have until February 15th of next year to select the right plan, it is not too early to start considering your health insurance options for the coming year, especially if you want your coverage to begin on January 1st. You may hesitate in selecting insurance due to news of widespread increases in health insurance premiums, but you may not necessarily be affected by such a large spike in your personal costs. With the tips below and a little additional research, you can keep your health insurance affordable while maintaining the peace of mind that comes with the right plan for your needs.
Don’t make assumptions
Though headlines may have you fearing an increase of 25% or more in your premiums, this number is an average that does not take certain factors into account. Therefore, you shouldn’t enter the Health Insurance Marketplace with the assumption that you will pay that much more for your policy. You might need to change your specific plan or utilize an advance premium tax credit, which you may qualify for this year even if you did not in the past.
Compare different plans
Whether you are insured through your employer or not, it is helpful to consider all of your options to pin down the most affordable healthcare plan for your needs. Employer-provided insurance will have options available through your company’s HR department. If you are utilizing the Health Insurance Marketplace, you might have to do more research on your own. Either way, you may save a lot by looking for a new plan rather than simply renewing the one you currently have.
Start an HSA
One way to drop the cost of your insurance premiums is by opting for a high deductible plan – though this may leave you worried about what will happen when you do need services like emergency care or X-rays, which can carry high out-of-pocket costs with these deductibles. To curb these costs, you may open a Health Savings Account, which will serve as a safety net for these expenses. Unlike a Flexible Spending Account, an HSA will not leave you with pressure to empty the account each year, because that money rolls over year-to-year and remains available for you to use when you really need it.
Don’t wait too long
Regardless of your healthcare needs, it is always best to have insurance without gaps in your coverage. That means you should start looking at plans now rather than later, since you’ll need to enroll by December 15th to have coverage start with the New Year. Waiting until the last minute could leave you feeling desperate for options, which might cause you to pay more than you have to for your insurance coverage.
If you do experience a lapse in your coverage or you simply need to a doctor’s visit without a wait, MeMD is there for you with affordable, web-based exams with qualified medical providers 24/7, even if you don’t have insurance.