December 2, 2014
During the time leading up to open enrollment, thousands of individuals and families received notices informing them of their options for 2015 health insurance. At face value it's pretty simple: If you like your existing plan, keep it and do nothing. If you don't, you have the freedom to select a new plan before February 15th. Interestingly enough, some of these notices were very careful in not drawing obvious attention to the premium increases that so many will be facing in the new year.
For as long as the Affordable Care Act has been a topic of discussion, there has been strong debate over whether or not premiums would be increasing. What we're learning now is that rates are, in fact, going up. And knowing where your premiums are headed can play a significant role in deciding whether to keep your current plan or shop for a new one.
If You Keep Your Existing Health Plan
Depending on who your carrier is, you may have to look closely through all of the paperwork you received prior to open enrollment. On one of these forms, it will tell you that your plan is scheduled to automatically renew. In not so bold text it also tells you what your new monthly premium will be. The majority of the people we've spoken with have expressed concern; not only that their premiums are increasing, but that the carriers seemed to deliberately make it difficult to find new rates amongst all of the forms that were mailed out within a short window of time.
Some of the increases have been modest, especially among healthy and younger individuals. Still, many families have learned that their rates will be increasing by hundreds of dollars each month. This will inevitably manifest sometime around January, as people who were expecting a specific amount to be deducted from their bank account, find out that much more has been taken out for health insurance.
If You Decide to Shop Other Plans
Once you've identified what your new premium will be, you have a serious decision to make. If you're one of the many who will be getting a rate hike in January, you have a few options. The first, is to bite your tongue and just pay the extra money. If you need to keep your plan but can't afford it, you can apply for a government healthcare subsidy to help offset the increased costs. Third and finally, you can switch to a less expensive plan, which will ultimately mean less coverage and/or a higher annual deductible and max out-of-pocket expense.
This is where things can get messy, especially if you don't know your way around the new system of health care reform. Making changes of this magnitude and consequence almost always comes with a bevy of questions and concerns. Getting answers from the carrier or a government customer service center, as many know, can be very time consuming and equally frustrating. If you've come to the decision that your new premium is too high, but are not comfortable making such a substantial change to your family's coverage on your own, a qualified agent can help streamline the process while showing you all of the options that exist.
Questions on Premium Increases or Policy Renewals?
If you're unsure on whether to keep your current policy active, are having a difficult time finding out your new rates, or would like to discuss more affordable options with a licensed IL health insurance agent, Premier Financial Insurance is here to help. Our office is located in the heart of the Lisle/Naperville area, and all of our staff agents are amply experienced in renewals, subsidies and new plan options. Best of all, there are no fees of any kind for our services. Our rates are the same as what you would pay via the healthcare marketplace or through the major carriers.
To learn more about premiums, plan renewals or new policy options, or if you would like to schedule a time to talk we can be reached by phone at 800-369-0287. You can also e-mail us confidentially through our website's secure contact page.