While employers can assist employees in learning how to find and purchase a health insurance plan, as well as providing reimbursement to cover the cost of the premium, they should not be involved directly with selecting and purchasing personal insurance policies for their employees. Below are a list of tips that can help employees find the health plan which is best for them.
Take advantage of the annual open enrollment
The sign up period this year for annual open enrollment begins on November 1st, 2015 and ends on January 31st, 2016. During this period, employees may pick new health insurance policies, and they can also switch policies or renew their existing plans. Those who miss this period will have to wait until the following year to enroll, unless they have a life event which qualifies them.
Provide accurate information
When applying for an individual health insurance plan, it is important to provide information which is accurate and up to date. This includes information related to your income, household and your existing insurance coverage. By gathering the necessary information before open enrollment, it will make the application process much easier and faster. While these individual health plans aren’t new, there are a number of new benefits including guaranteed coverage, reduced costs and portability.
Shop carefully for your health plan
When you shop for your health plan, it is important to pay attention to the standard categories of coverage, which are also referred to as “metal tiers.” This will help you select the best plan for your needs. For instance, if you see yourself needing a lot of medical assistance in the future, it is probably a good idea to go with either the gold or platinum plan.
Understand your premium
While you’ll pay a higher premium, you will also pay lower fees personally when your medical care is received. Those that do not see themselves needing a lot of medical assistance should consider either a bronze or silver plan. While you will personally pay higher fees when purchasing medical care, your premiums will be much lower than gold or platinum plans.
Ask for help if you need it
Picking the correct health insurance plan for your needs will require you to become familiar with five terms, and these are your deductible, premium, coinsurance, co-pay and the maximum for out of pocket expenses. If you’re unsure of what these terms are, or which plan is best for you, it is best to consult with a health insurance expert who is licensed. It won’t cost you anything and they will help you thoroughly assess your options.
Don’t forget your premium tax credits
Premium tax credits can provide big savings to those that use them. Over 80 percent of employees who buy a health plan via the Marketplace obtain a discount, and pay an average of about $82 per month. To be eligible for tax credits, you have to meet specific income requirements and you must not be a recipient of health coverage through either your employer or federal plans like Medicare.
There is a penalty for not having insurance
The majority of Americans are now required to obtain health insurance, and those who don’t may be subject to a penalty. These penalties can range from almost $700 for individuals to slightly over $2,000 for a family. Minimum essential coverage is required so don’t neglect it lest you want to face the legal consequences!