Tuesday Takeaway: Plan ahead to make open enrollment easier for you!
Open enrollment is going to be here before we know it. I have some incredibly useful tips that will help you navigate through open enrollment.
Be prepared for an increase in coverage cost
The cost is going up across the board, with about a 30% increase in premiums.
However, if you are receiving a subsidy you are not going to see a 30% increase because your subsidy will be more. This is because the subsidy is based on the cost of the premium, as well as on your zip code, your household income, and the number of people on your tax return.
Make sure that you have the right coverage based on your usage
Choose your coverage based on your usage. If you’re a lower-income person, not only do you receive a subsidy, but your plan is different, and you actually get help with a lower deductible, as well as lower co-pays. If you have higher usage you may opt for a more expensive plan that covers copays and has a lower deductible.
If you are already on a Marketplace plan:
Be sure to check the letter you receive in the mail in November.
This letter tells you how much your new plan will cost, and if there are any changes to your plan. If you’re happy with this, there’s nothing you need to do, and it will just roll over to next year. You’ll continue to make payments as usual.
If you don’t like the choices that you’re given, you contact me and get on my schedule. We can then review coverage options and see what’s available.
Make sure you have enrolled in your portal.
I cannot say this enough, make sure you’ve enrolled in your portal! All carriers have portals and you need to make sure you have a login. Once you have access to your existing plan, and you have access to your cards, you have access to a provider search.
The reason I say this is because one of the number one things that drives me insane is to see people posting to all of these wonderful swap groups, “please give me a name of a doctor who takes Blue Cross” Well, guess what, there are hundreds of Blue Cross plans. Not all doctors are contracted with all the plans for Blue Cross. That’s why the portal is so vital, you can see if a doctor is in-network.
Double-check that a doctor is in-network
If your portal does show a doctor is in-network, then I always recommend my clients call the office and confirm that the lists are up to date. Because occasionally, a doctor will drop out of a network and you want to make sure that they do accept your insurance.
It works the other way too. Unfortunately, the office staff is not always trained properly, and they don’t always understand how to confirm benefits. They may tell you they accept your plan when in fact they accept different plans from the carrier.
Download your digital cards
Once you have access to your portal, you can download your digital ID cards. Please, please, please do this. Please do not call me at 8pm on Friday night to get your ID card, I probably will not answer the phone. And if you’re having an emergency, you need to have your ID card on your phone, download it on your phone or take a picture of it, save it on your phone, and have access to your portal. Most of these carriers also have apps where you can download the app and again, that’s a simple easy way to get into your portal.
Open enrollment this year, it’s going to be from November 1 through January 15. Remember, if you don’t enroll by December 15, then your coverage will not start on January 1. Any enrollment after December 15, through January 15, will give you coverage beginning February 1. It’s very important to know that it will not backdate and will only go forward.
I will be opening up my schedule during open enrollment to have some evening appointments and weekend appointments so that I can help as many people as possible. Schedule an appointment with me on my calendar link on my website.