It is an annual event, although it does not have the festive appeal of Halloween nor the spiritual implications behind the celebration of a religious holiday. The more than two-month event often sneaks up on people, which means they do not give it much thought until the deadline for participating comes and goes. What was once a highly-publicized event no longer receives much media attention until it is too late to take advantage of the event’s many benefits.
We are talking about the open enrollment period for Americans to buy a policy offered in the national health insurance marketplace.
As part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the open enrollment period provides Americans with the opportunity to purchase affordable health insurance that they otherwise would not have available to them in the private marketplace. Because the open enrollment period does not receive the publicity it once did, far too many Americans allow the roughly 10-week period to come and go without addressing one of life’s most important financial decisions. Even if you know the deadline for the open enrollment period has arrived, like most Americans, you probably have decided to remain under the same health insurance policy.
Re-enrolling in a plan available in the national health insurance marketplace requires a bit of planning to help you receive the most comprehensive coverage at a price that fits within the family budget. With Open Enrollment 2023 launching earlier this month, let’s review three tips for handling re-enrollment in the national health insurance marketplace.
Tip #1: Know the Open Enrollment Deadline
Until the enactment of the ACA, most Americans received health insurance coverage either through their employers or by searching for the best coverage on their own. The ACA changed that by providing Americans with a window to search for affordable health insurance coverage by accessing policies made available in a national health insurance marketplace. However, there is just one difference between enrolling in an employer-sponsored plan and a plan available in the national health insurance marketplace.
Open enrollment is available for a limited time.
This means you need to know the deadline for re-enrolling in a health insurance plan offered under the ACA. Most states have established a deadline for enrolling in an ACA-backed health insurance plan between November 1 and January 15 of the following year. If you want an ACA-backed health insurance plan to kick in on January 1 of the following year, you must re-enroll by December 15 of the current year.
Tip #2: Know Your Options
Signing off on the same plan during the open enrollment period is the easiest decision to make, but sometimes it is not the best decision. If you plan to re-enroll in a health insurance plan offered during the open enrollment period, you should understand the three most popular types of health insurance plan options.
Health Maintenance Organization (HMO)
An HMO requires policyholders to remain in a network of providers that are designated under a health insurance plan. Staying within a health insurance provider network saves you money on health insurance costs, but it also limits the number of options you have to receive medical care. You also must receive referrals to seek medical care from healthcare specialists.
Preferred Provider Organization (PPO)
If you re-enroll in a health insurance plan offered in the national marketplace that is a PPO, you can expect to pay more each month in premiums. The advantage of a PPO concerns the flexibility you have to schedule visits with medical care providers. Although you still have a financial incentive to stay within a PPO plan’s designated network, you can go outside the network to receive healthcare services. This is an especially important benefit for policyholders that need to receive specialized healthcare treatments.
High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP)
A growing number of employers have turned to HDHP health insurance plans to save money on company benefits. The primary reason why HDHP plans are the most affordable type of health insurance plan is the policies require the payment of a lower monthly premium. However, you are responsible for paying a higher deductible, which can become financially burdensome if you require complex healthcare services.
Tip #3: Compare Premium with Out-of-Pocket Costs
When shopping for health insurance offered by the national marketplace, you have to compare the costs of monthly premiums to what you can expect to pay out-of-pocket for healthcare services over the next year. You might find a low monthly premium plan, only to receive a costly healthcare bill when the time comes to take advantage of a service. You should ask several questions to determine whether you can afford a higher premium plan or a lower premium plan that comes with a higher deductible, copay, and coinsurance costs.
Do you have to deal with a chronic disease? If you do, then paying a higher monthly premium to receive health insurance coverage might be the best choice. If you take costly prescription medications, a higher premium can be more affordable than paying more for a deductible. Another budget decision to make concerns emergency medical care.
Open Enrollment 2023: The Bottom Line
Re-enrolling in a health insurance plan offered under the ACA involves much more than signing off the same policy that covered you over the past year or several years. Take the time required to compare health insurance benefits, coverage, and provider networks to ensure you sign up for coverage that meets your unique healthcare and family budget needs.
Don’t you wish there was an easier way?
Because there is. If you miss the idea of corporate open enrollment, having a qualified and knowledgeable health insurance broker walk you through your open enrollment options at no cost to you, fret not. You can still get the assistance you need at no cost to you.
Insurance Broker Hub gives you access to an independent network of national brokers who have the experience and expertise to design a plan around your needs and budget. Our network of brokers will tailor a complete solution for your health coverage needs.
Ready to get started? Simply request a no obligation health insurance quote here.
Additional Open Enrollment 2023 Resources
Open Enrollment 2023: 5 Changes to Be Aware Of