With the New Year and Black Friday around the corner, many people may be gearing up to shop for gifts, but that’s not the only thing people may be looking for.
We are right in the middle of the Open Enrollment Period and the deadline is drawing closer for people to sign up for health coverage for next year. Although there are some big changes with this year’s Open Enrollment.
For the first time since the Affordable Care Act took effect, the individual mandate has been removed. This means it’s no longer a legal requirement to have coverage.
When it comes to health insurance, if too many people opt out of private coverage, that could mean higher rates for everyone. This is something we’ve already seen happen in recent years.
“Where are the insurance companies getting this money? Well, they have to get it from the American people so that’s why the rates went up,” says Michael Wall, President of Ray Wall Insurance Services Incorporated.
Even though there is no longer a penalty if you aren’t covered, experts say it’s still important to have that protection. There are some things to keep in mind while trying to navigate which plan to get.
“You want to keep your out of pocket to a bare minimum. I mean, that’s the number one cost in the country, is medical expenses,” says Wall.
Some families can’t afford the rising cost of insurance, especially if they don’t qualify for tax breaks.
Joseph Ramirez, an Evansville restaurant owner, says shopping for insurance saved his family $600 a month.
“Before I paid like $1,100 per month for three members of the family and right now I pay $400 and they cover better,” says Ramirez.
The average monthly cost of an individual plan on the marketplace is roughly $440 dollars, but family plans can average nearly three times that running about $1,200.
Keep in mind, prices vary based on your medical history, income, where you live, and which level of coverage you choose.
“Somebody that’s suffering from diabetes, or a heart disorder, or COPD, or something major, the ACA, Obamacare plans are great for those people,” says Wall. “If you are healthy, it’s definitely time to shop and get away from the high price costs of the ACA plans.”
In Indiana, short-term health insurance is available, but keep in mind these plans usually do not cover pre-existing conditions.
If you are approved for short-term health insurance, you can get coverage for up to 364 days a year with unlimited rewrites.
“As long as they are healthy enough to keep rewriting and keep applying when that said policy is up,” says Wall.
Open Enrollment ends December 15th. You can enroll for short-term major medical insurance year-round. However, experts say now is the best time to consider your options so you don’t have to risk having a gap between insurance plans as they go into effect.