At this point in the summer, health insurance might be the last thing you’re thinking about. But because Open Enrollment is really just a few months away, now is the time to begin evaluating satisfaction with your current plan.
Plus, due to the pandemic and increased need for healthcare coverage, Covered California is actually operating a Special Enrollment period for the duration of 2021. So if you’re dissatisfied with your current healthcare plan or still haven’t enrolled in one, you can take care of that important step right now!
Here’s what you need to know, before shopping for a healthcare plan:
Consider your location. Healthcare plans are location-based, meaning every plan isn’t offered in every location. So don’t assume that you can get the same plan that your friend 100 miles away enjoys. And since your location influences the plans offered in your area, take a look around at local providers. Decide where you prefer to receive healthcare services, and look for a plan that includes those doctors and facilities within its network.
If you’re planning a move, as many people have over the past year or so, healthcare access and plan availability should be part of your decision process.
Learn the tiers. Healthcare plans are arranged in tiers, called Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum, according to coverage and out-of-pocket expenses. Bronze plans impose the lowest monthly premiums but have the highest deductibles. At the other end of the spectrum, Platinum plans charge the highest monthly premiums but have the lowest deductibles.
Don’t assume that low premiums will translate into the lowest expenditure for the year. Everyone’s needs are different, and someone who uses healthcare services frequently might be better served by a lower-deductible plan.
But if you do choose a low-premium, high-deductible plan, consider pairing it with a health savings account. This account allows you to set aside pre-tax earnings to be used toward your deductible and other out-of-pocket expenses.
Apply for subsidies. Subsidies are calculated according to your income and household size, and can help to offset the cost of your premiums. You might qualify for more than you think.
Get help. Choosing a healthcare plan is a complicated decision that will impact your finances over the next year. Call us for expert guidance, and we can help you understand all of the complexities of each plan before selecting one that best suits your needs.