The HealthCare.gov website through which millions of Americans can select their 2023 health insurance plan. PA
The vast majority of Americans will find several health insurance coverage options for 2023 on HealthCare.gov after open enrollment began Tuesday under the Affordable Care Act. Experts say people looking for plans on the government market should consider their budget, health, and doctors before choosing a plan. More than 14.5 million people receive health insurance through the ACA, commonly referred to as Obamacare. The number swelled during the coronavirus pandemic after Congress adopted generous subsidies to make coverage more affordable. Most people have three or more options, but about 8% of plan members will only have a choice of two insurance companies. According to the Biden administration, 80% of consumers should be able to find a plan to $10 or less than one month after the tax credits. Here’s what you need to know to navigate the Affordable Care Act market: HOW DOES THE ACA MARKETPLACE WORK? The ACA marketplace is for people who don’t have health insurance through work, Medicare, Medicaid, Children’s Health Insurance Program or another source. Premium tax credits and other savings that reduce the cost of insurance are based on income and the number of people in your family. For example, people whose annual income is between $13,590 and $54,360 are eligible for a grant. Those earning less than that are eligible for Medicaid. You can use the HealthCare.gov calculator to determine the savings you have. WHAT ARE THE DEADLINES? The coverage deadlines in 2023 are: December 15 for a cover that begins January 1st and January 15 for coverage that begins Feb. 1. WHAT TO LOOK FOR WHEN CHOOSING A PLAN Shop around even if you’re currently covered by the ACA. First, you’ll want to see what the monthly premium you’ll pay for coverage will be. Next, check the plan’s deductible, which is what you pay up front for health services before your insurance starts sharing some of the remaining costs for the year. Look at the plan’s co-payments or coinsurance the fees you pay each time you visit the doctor’s office or go to an urgent care clinic, for example. Plans with coinsurance can be harder to budget for because you pay a percentage of the cost of the service, not a flat fee. Make sure you know the maximum amount disbursed. After reaching this number, your insurance will cover 100% of the costs. Keep this number in mind if you might have big health expenses for major surgery, childbirth, or ongoing therapy or treatment in the next year. look at the lower premiums and the higher deductible plan,” said Kelly Rectorinsurance broker and president of Missouri-based Denny and associates.DOES YOUR DOCTOR PARTICIPATE IN A PLAN? Do you want to continue seeing a favorite doctor or do you need a prescription medication covered by your plan?HealthCare.gov also offers search features and tools to check if your doctor or prescription drugs are covered by specific plans. These are “the most important things” that Rector recommends consumers check when searching the market. preventive care, prescription drugs, mental health services and pregnancy. There are four levels of plans offered: bronze, silver, gold and platinum. Bronze plans have the lowest premiums but the highest fees. Premium costs increase as you move up the medal ladder, but deductibles are lower. The best deal for people who qualify for extra savings is a silver plan, said Cynthia Coxthe Kaiser Family Foundation director of the Affordable Care Act program. “If you’re barely earning above the poverty line, you really should buy a Silver plan, with the lowest premiums, lowest deductibles,” Cox said. In some cases, these plans will continue to be nearly free and will have much lower copayments and deductibles, making them the best deal in the long run. Depending on your income, you may have to pay a monthly premium of $15 at $20, but the overall plan’s lower costs still make for a better deal, Cox said. healthy and not anticipating significant health care needs, the bronze plan remains a reasonable choice, according to Rector. High-deductible “catastrophe plans” are also available for people under 30. IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS, NEED FREE HELP. You can find one near you to speak with in person, over the phone, or via email by searching https://localhelp.healthcare.gov/. Agents and brokers are also available to help you. They charge fees but usually provide their services for free to consumers and bill insurance companies instead.