Health care insurance open enrollment began Nov. 1. Here are tips and considerations to help you choose the best coverage for your situation.
Nov. 7, 2018 – With open enrollment ending Dec. 15, now is the time to review your health care insurance coverage and options for 2019.
The open enrollment period for 2019 Affordable Care Act coverage is Nov. 1 through Dec. 15, 2018. “Like last year, open enrollment is only 45 days and is minimally advertised,” said Corrine Bultman of Bultman Financial Services, Brookfield.
Fortunately, this time period is usually more than sufficient for most people to conduct their research and make decisions about coverage. “That’s more than enough time to sort it out if you’re proactive,” Bultman said.
But the time to do it is now. “There’s typically very little chance of any extension,” Bultman said.
Review Your Plan, Research Your Options
Here are tips to help you review and make changes to your plan:
Explore all your insurance carrier options. Your current carrier may have more options, and there may be new carriers in your area. “This year, there are some expanded offerings in rural areas,” Bultman said.
The best place to start is with this map provided by the Wisconsin Office of the Commissioner of Insurance (OCI). Also, visit the Marketplace via healthcare.gov.
Prices are going up for some carriers, but some are staying the same or even going down. In some situations, subsidies are available as well as cost share reductions.
Check both with healthcare.gov and directly with your carrier listed on the OCI website. “If you don’t qualify for a subsidy, you may get a better deal directly with your carrier,” Bultman said.
Don’t assume that your situation is the same for 2019 as it was for 2018. “Some income thresholds have increased,” Bultman said. “Be sure to review your situation and make sure you have the plan that fits best for you.”
Want help? Contact the experts at Bultman Financial Services or Professional Insurance Programs. “The best thing is for people to call us and have a conversation. It doesn’t hurt to have somebody who really understands it help you,” Bultman said. “It takes only about 20 minutes and we keep everything confidential.”
What to Consider When Reviewing Your Coverage
Consider the following factors when evaluating your current coverage:
the product’s premium cost;
out-of-pocket health care expenses not paid by insurance;
eligibility for government subsidies;
the product’s exclusions and benefit limitations; and
access to specific health care providers and/or provider networks.
When Can I Make Changes to My Plan Outside of Open Enrollment?
Enrollment or coverage changes outside of the open enrollment period are permitted only if you qualify due to special events like marriage, the birth of a child, or loss of other health coverage. Find a summary of these special enrollment events in this InsideTrack article.
“Be prepared to substantiate your situation,” Bultman said. That may entail producing a marriage license or your baby’s birth certificate. “Carriers are very strict about documentation.”
Who Can Answer My Questions?
Bultman Financial Services and Professional Insurance Programs have a long-standing working relationship with the State Bar and are trusted experts in helping State Bar members find coverage. Contact either of them to get your questions answered; they will help you find options that fit your situation: