7 Things to Know When Shopping for Health Insurance

Posted January 14, 2015 From eHealth:


Are you going to be shopping for health insurance this open enrollment? Well here are 7 things you need to know when shopping for health insurance.


In an effort to help health insurance shoppers navigate their way through open enrollment, we’ve prepared our list of the 7 things you need to know when shopping for 2015 health insurance coverage.

Take the time to review your options during open enrollment.

It doesn’t matter if you already have coverage or not, you should take the time to review your options during the current open enrollment period. If you miss the open enrollment period you may be stuck in your current health plan, or even worse, left uninsured for the remainder of the year. In addition, health insurance enrollment websites will be especially busy towards the end of open enrollment and will be increasingly more difficult to receive personal assistance 

Everyone should take the time to reshop for coverage, even if you’re already covered, and especially if you’re eligible for a subsidy.

You probably already know that it’s a good idea to shop around for things like auto insurance, cell phones, and televisions, but did you know that 7 out of 10 people could save money by reshopping for health insurance?1 The best time for you to reshop for health insurance is during the open enrolment period. It’s especially important to reshop for coverage if you’re collecting a subsidy, or potential qualify for one, because you could be leaving a substantial amount of money on the table.

re-shop for health insurance

Make sure you find a health plan that covers your preferred doctors.

You should always double check whether or not a doctor accepts a particular coverage before you enroll. If you end up going to a doctor, who is outside of your provider network it can cost you substantially more than if that doctor was in your plans network. To verify coverage, don’t just simply call the doctor’s office, and assume they’re in your provider network if they say that they “accept” your plan. It’s always a good idea to confirm the doctors network status with a licensed agent or the insurance carrier.

Make sure you’re enrolling in coverage that meets all of the Affordable Care Act requirements.

Whether you purchase an individual and family major medical plan on a government exchange, or outside of a government exchange, it will still afford you all of the same basic set of “essential health benefits” as well as meet all of the coverage requirements under the law. However, it’s important to note that short-term health insurance plans or limited benefit plans might not meet all of the coverage requirements and may leave you exposed to a tax penalty when you file your tax return.

Fill your coverage gaps with short-term health insurance.

It’s important to know that your coverage under any new plan you select during open enrollment might not begin for up to six weeks. This doesn’t mean you have to go uninsured in the interim. While short-term plans don’t meet the requirements for the Affordable Care Act, they can limit your exposure to unexpected medical expenses while your waiting for your new major medical plan to start.

Know how government subsidies work. 

Subsidies are extreme helpful to people who are earning less than 400% of the federal poverty level. But it’s important to understand that your 2015 subsidy is based on your 2015 income. If you end up earning more than expected in 2015, you may end up needing to repay some, or the entire subsidy you collected.

It’s ok to look at your coverage options outside of the government exchanges.

While shopping for health insurance at a government-run exchange is an option, it’s not always your best option, especially if you are eligible for a subsidy. Private online marketplaces like eHealth, in some cases, offer more coverage choices and a better shopping experience. So, if you want to make sure your viewing all of your options, it’s always a good idea shop around and look at licensed online health insurance marketplaces like eHealth.com. With eHealth, you can explore your options for health insurance plans by entering your zip code where indicated on the right side of this page. Or, you can sign up for our newsletter on the right side of this page, too.



See original article, posted on eHealth: https://www.ehealthinsurance.com/resource-center/affordable-care-act/seven-things-know-health-insurance-shopping

7 reasons to shop for insurance rather than auto-renew

Original Article: http://eba.benefitnews.com/gallery/eba/7-reasons-to-shop-for-insurance-rather-than-auto-renew-2745427-1.html

Although some people who signed up for health insurance via the federally facilitated exchange, Healthcare.gov, can automatically renew their plan, that might not be best choice. Privately owned HealthCare.com offers seven reasons why everyone should re-evaluate their current health insurance coverage and weigh it against other options:

  1. Current rates might change

    Some premium rates will increase and others will decrease. If a plan is allowed to automatically renew, the plan member might end up paying more or miss out on better coverage for less.

  2. A subsidy is based on the silver plan

    A premium tax credit subsidy is based on the plan member’s household income and the second-lowest cost silver plan available in the area, and that could increase or decrease. An increase might mean the plan holder is eligible for a larger subsidy. However, even with more financial assistance, one could theoretically pay more per month if the current health plan’s premium also increases.

    Bottom line: Pay attention to what the rates are doing and crunch the numbers.

  3. Income changes

    If a plan member’s income decreased, he or she might be eligible for a larger tax credit and additional subsidies, but if income increased, they might not be eligible for the financial assistance currently received. Someone making more money and taking the same subsidies will have to pay back the difference at tax time. For those making less money, they may be paying too much in monthly premiums and could even be eligible for additional subsidies that reduce what they pay out of pocket toward their deductible, copay and coinsurance.

  4. Lost access to doctors and hospitals

    Networks change from year to year. Health care providers and facilities might be dropped and added. That means the primary care doctors, specialists and hospitals a plan member prefers might or might not continue to be available.

  5. Prescription drug coverage might be limited

    Limiting prescription drug benefits is another tactic insurers are using to reduce costs and premiums. Plan members should consider which drugs are used long-term and/or short-term and find out if and how they will continue to be covered by their health insurance plan this year.

  6. The deductible, copay, coinsurance might change 

    The percentages might remain the same in a plan, but the deductible, copay and coinsurance could increase in 2015. One might have to meet a higher deductible before benefits kick in and coinsurance takes effect.

  7. Health care needs might change

    Plan members should consider how they insurance in the past year and whether or not that might change. Do they plan to start a family? Will they be engaging in more situations or activities that make them prone to illness or injury?Spending time researching and considering the best health insurance coverage options this year can potentially save a lot of money.


Original Article: http://eba.benefitnews.com/gallery/eba/7-reasons-to-shop-for-insurance-rather-than-auto-renew-2745427-1.html

Why Should I use REALTORS® Insurance Marketplace? [Series; Part 5]

Before and After OEOver the past few weeks, we’ve given you four reasons why you should use REALTORS® Insurance Marketplace:

  1. We are experts.
  2. We can help you determine if you qualify for a subsidy.
  3. We have exclusive products just for REALTORS®.
  4. We are here to help you, not sell you.

And now, we’ve saved the best for last in this final part of our series.

Many find health insurance to be confusing. From purchasing a plan to filing claims, it can be a hassle. Yes, you can find help just about anywhere right now to purchase your coverage, but what about later in the year, when you have questions? Or something unexpected happens and you’re not sure what to do next about your claims?

Reason number five is possibly the most important reason you can trust REALTORS® Insurance Marketplace with your health insurance needs:


5. We are there for you after the sale.

Our enrollment specialists can help you with your questions and concerns not only during the enrollment process, but after enrollment, too; a Government Navigator with no ties to the insurance companies would not be able to assist you after enrollment.

In the beginning of 2013 Open Enrollment, a member enrolled into a Qualified Health Plan via the Members Health Insurance Exchange. She was mid-pregnancy and began using her new plan once it became effective. Come to find out, there was a change in provider networks and the doctors she’d been seeing were no longer ‘in-network’ providers. This resulted in $5,000+ of claims being denied by the carrier.

Thankfully, she turned to REALTORS® Insurance Marketplace. Our Member Support Advocates worked directly with the carrier on her behalf. In the end, the carrier processed the claims as if they were ‘in-network’ claims. If she had enrolled in a plan through the government marketplace, how would this situation have been handled?

We want be there for you year round. Other marketplaces don’t offer the support REALTORS® Insurance Marketplace offers to NAR members.


Ready to get covered for 2015? Click here to shop and enroll online on your own.

If you prefer speaking with an enrollment specialist, call 877-267-3752 for personal assistance.