Categories
Blog

What Health Insurance Companies Cover Telemedicine?

In the past year or two, Telemedicine has become an increasingly popular way to reduce costs and improve people’s health. Today we’ll discuss how telemedicine is changing the way health insurance works.

What is Telemedicine?

Telemedicine is a relatively new concept in healthcare. It has been around for decades but only recently been accepted by state legislatures and private insurance providers.

The definition of telemedicine varies, but it usually refers to remote patient care with technologies like videoconferencing, teleradiology, and broadband internet. For some patients, using these types of technologies means they can get care without having to leave their homes or offices.
Telemedicine services may also allow patients to avoid expensive trips to emergency rooms for non-emergencies.

Does My Health Insurance Cover Telemedicine?

“The COVID-19 pandemic has probably changed the overall acceptance of telemedicine forever.”

Recently, telemedicine has emerged as an increasingly popular alternative to face-to-face visits with doctors. With most forms of medical treatment now covered by insurance plans, consumers have been wondering: what about telemedicine? How much does my health insurance cover for telemedicine visits? Which conditions will my plan cover via video conferencing – if any at all?

It turns out that whether your visit is covered will depend on where you live and your specific plan details. Policies vary from insurer to insurer, but many states now recognize that reducing the use of costly hospital admissions would help payers lower overall healthcare costs.

Coverage for telemedicine in insurance is impacted by laws and insurance company policies. While some are more progressive than others, many state legislatures and private health insurance providers are recognizing how telemedicine can reduce costs and keep people healthier.

The COVID-19 pandemic has probably changed the overall acceptance of telemedicine forever. The majority of states and most of the US territories changed their legislation to allow telemedicine on a temporary basis, and several of these states have kept this legislation permanently.

So before asking whether or which insurance allows telemedicine, it’s worth checking into whether or not your state allows telemedicine in the first place. A complete list by state is here; the list also includes which states have temporary pandemic policies in place. You can also give our health insurance hotline a call for further information.

What Health Insurance Companies Cover Telemedicine and Telehealth Services?

As a result of the pandemic, most major insurance companies- Blue Cross Blue Shield, United Healthcare, Cigna, AETNA, etc.- cover telehealth services as part of their insurance plans. Once again, the availability of services depends on local availability.

How Can I Get Insurance That Includes Telemedicine?

If you would like to get insurance that includes coverage for telemedicine services, or if you’d check whether or not your insurance allows telemedicine, why not talk to one of our experts at our health insurance hotline? They’ll take time to understand your unique situation and will help you understand the available choices that suit your needs. Click the button below to reach out to us, and one of our experts will personally get in touch with you, or just call 888-375-8879 to speak with an expert directly.

Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko from Pexels

Categories
Blog

Health Insurance for College Graduates

Recent college graduates have more health care options than ever before.

Hello, graduate! Congratulations on completing your 4 year journey (or 5 or 6 year journey; no judgement here). The “real world” that you’ve heard about all your life- that world of bills, responsibilities, and student loan payments- awaits. Many colleges mandate that students have health insurance; some of these colleges even include this insurance as part of the enrollment cost. If you attended one of those colleges, or even if you didn’t, you may be wondering whether it’s worthwhile to continue with your health insurance- especially with all those bills looming.

While we are admittedly biased, we strongly recommend you always have health insurance; it’s the best way to keep from immense debt and even financial ruin in case something bad happens to you. Aside from all that, it’s nice to just have access to physical and mental health services, and even preventative care if you’re not feeling well.

Health Insurance Options For College Grads

There is more than one way to get covered by health insurance, even if you’re working at a job that doesn’t provide health insurance… or if you’re freelancing or not working at all. If you’re not sure which route to go, we encourage you to call us and our licensed agents can help you understand all of your options. Here are some of the most popular options:

Use Your Parents’ Health Insurance: Simply put, if you’re under 26 years old, you can still enroll in your parents’ health insurance plan, once their plan allows dependents to enroll.

Obamacare/Health Insurance Marketplace: There are low-cost options available through the health insurance marketplace for every level of need. If you call our health insurance hotline, one of our experts can help you explore your options and enroll. Some college graduates are eligible for a special enrollment period after they graduate, depending on whether or not they had student health insurance during school.

Private Insurance/Short-Term Insurance: If you’re not able to qualify for marketplace insurance because you’re outside of the enrollment period, or if you’re in between jobs, or if you work as a freelancer or within the gig economy, private health insurance is historically one of the more popular options. Short-term health insurance is also an option; it allows you to get health insurance coverage just long enough to make it to the next enrollment period.

Medicaid Coverage: Medicaid is government-supported healthcare for people who need a little extra help. If you apply for Obamacare, then you’ll find out whether or not your income level makes you eligible for Medicaid.

If you’re still confused as to which direction to go, one of our agents can help you. They’ll take time to understand your unique situation and income level, and will then help you find a plan that’s right for you. Call an agent at 888-375-8879, or click below to get started on the journey.

Photo by Stanley Morales from Pexels

Categories
Blog

You Should Think About Using Your Health Insurance’s Mental Health Services

Mental health is no longer the taboo topic that it once was, and thanks to changes in health insurance law, mental health care is now more accessible than ever.

If one thing has changed in American healthcare over the last 10 years, aside from the emergence and acceptance of the Affordable Care Act, it has been our society’s increased acceptance of mental health services as an important part of healthcare.

Health Insurance For Mental Health

In decades past, mental health support was seen as something taboo, and was probably joked about in movies and tv shows more than it was taken seriously. Many people saw mental health services as something for “rich people” and “crazy people”, and in reality, these services were out of reach for most people. Mental health professionals were hard to find, and many health insurance plans did not support mental health services, so people had to pay out-of-pocket to access these services, making them unaffordable to much of the population.

The Laws That Changed Everything
Biden Signs Executive Order for ACA
President Obama and then-Vice President Biden in office in the early 2010’s. “Obamacare” marked a major national shift in access to mental health services.

In 1996, access to mental health coverage began to shift with the introduction of the Mental Health Parity Act. The Mental Health Parity Act, or MHPA for short, and its later relative, the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008, stated that employer-sponsored health insurance had to include mental health coverage, and insinuated that health insurance companies should treat mental health coverage as equal to other parts of medical coverage.

These laws proved to be a double-edged sword. On the positive end, they did help provide mental health benefits for people who did not have access to it before. The drawbacks were that there was no protection for those who had mental health issues as a pre-existing condition, so insurance companies could use mental health screenings as a reason to deny people. Also these laws did nothing to cover the millions of low-income people who didn’t have health plans, who (statistically speaking) were likely to be more in need of mental health services.

The Affordable Care Act

When the Affordable Care Act was introduced in 2010, it marked an even greater shift in the way Americans could access mental health care. At the time, the opioid crisis was peaking in America, and treatment was now seen as the morally correct way to address the issue (as opposed to jail time). A wide-ranging solution was needed.

The introduction of the Affordable Care Act provided a worthwhile solution. Mental health support was one of Obamacare’s original “10 essential services“, meaning that all health plans on the public healthcare marketplace had to include coverage for mental health services, and people could not be denied for pre-existing mental health issues. In addition, Medicaid and Medicare began covering mental health services as well. This was important because it set a precedent for health plans outside of the public marketplace to do the same in order to remain competitive. That being said, even 10 years later, mental health support is one of the most underused parts of health insurance.

What Type of Mental Health Services Does Health Insurance Cover?

Although the cost and extent of support available varies by plan, there are certain services that must be offered by every plan under the Affordable Care Act standard. They are as follows:

  • Behavioral Treatment (for example psychotherapy and counseling):
    • Outpatient individual counseling or group therapy sessions
    • Diagnostic services such as psychological evaluation and testing services
    • Ongoing outpatient treatment, including medication management and psychiatric treatment programs
  • Substance abuse (also known as substance use disorder) treatment:
    • Outpatient diagnostic and treatment services for chemical or alcohol dependency
    • Medical services for withdrawal symptoms, such as inpatient detoxification services
    • Substance use disorder recovery services, including counseling and educational resources
  • Mental and behavioral health inpatient services
    • Mental health care if you’re admitted to a psychiatric facility.
  • Additional provisions for preventative care
    • There are preventative care services in the ACA that pertain to mental health, such as depression and alcohol abuse screenings.

Once again, this is just a baseline; it is best to check with your health insurance provider to see exactly what services are provided via your plan.

Do You Need A Health Insurance Plan That Covers Mental Health Services?

If you think you need mental health services and don’t have health insurance, don’t fret. HealthPlanOptionsToday can help you find a plan that will get you started on the road toward wellness. Call us at 888-375-8879 for more information, or click the button below and we’ll get in touch with you.

Categories
Blog

Help! I Need Health Insurance Now!

Do you still need insurance coverage for 2021?

If you have not yet bought medical insurance this year but want one right away, you still have options. Fortunately, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) does not require everyone to have health insurance anymore. 

Still, going without health coverage could put you at peril for unforeseen medical bills, and you certainly do not want that.

I Need Insurance Now!

Depending on where you reside, you can access your state’s insurance marketplace through a website run by either the state or federal government. Healthcare.gov is the best place to start looking, as it will take you to the marketplace in your state pretty effortlessly.

You will need to answer a few basic questions about your income, the size of your family, and your current residence. Then, the marketplace site will suggest various health plan options (both public and private) for which you are eligible. Beware of enrollment deadlines or important documents you may be required to provide to verify your eligibility.

Did You Miss Open Enrollment For 2021?

If you missed open enrollment 2021, you can still get health insurance. Open enrollment for 2021 ended in mid-December last year in several states. If you missed that date, you may wonder how to get health insurance after open enrollment has ended.

The good news is that you can still qualify for a special enrollment period (SEP). With a SEP you can qualify to get health coverage outside the usual enrollment period. To meet the requirements for a SEP, you ought to have experienced certain qualifying events in your life. A SEP typically lasts 60 days from the time of a qualifying change or event. Here are some examples of qualifying events:

Losing Health Insurance

If you lose existing health insurance, including one provided by your employer, a student health plan, or a health coverage you purchased yourself, you qualify for COBRA health insurance as well as a SEP. Also, you qualify for a SEP if you’ve lost eligibility for Medicaid, CHIP, or Medicare. 

As well, if you have just turned 26 and cannot be on your parent’s health coverage anymore, or you are not a dependent anymore on your parent or guardian’s health plan, you qualify for a SEP. The same case applies if you have lost coverage through your spouse following legal separation or divorce.

Household changes

You meet the requirements for a SEP if you have changes in your home that can include getting married or divorced or having or adopting a baby. Likewise, if you lose a family member and as a result, you fail to qualify for your current health coverage anymore you will be eligible for a SEP.

Relocation

If you move to a new residence within the country or have just relocated to the United States from a foreign country, you qualify for a SEP. Also, if you are a seasonal wage earner moving to or from the location you both work and live, or if you are a student relocating to or from the place you go to school, you will be eligible for a SEP.

When Is Open Enrollment For 2021?

You may be wondering when is the next open enrollment for health insurance. Insurance companies usually decide when to begin their open enrollment periods, and they communicate that information to their clients. 

Even so, open enrollment usually occurs over several weeks during fall, between October and December each year. Therefore, the next enrollment period for health insurance is expected to start during this year’s fall. 

How Can I Get Health Insurance Now?

Even if you’re reading this outside of the open enrollment period, if you’re looking for health insurance, there’s no better place to call than HealthPlanOptionsToday. Their team of experts is trained to listen to your individual situation, then work with you to help you find the best health plan available.

Click the button below and we’ll reach out to you, or call our hotline directly at 888-375-8879 to speak with our team immediately.

Image courtesy Pexels

Categories
Blog

Hospitals & Doctors Upset At Being Overcharged. In Other News, Man Bites Dog.

In a strange and ironic twist of fate, doctors and hospitals are upset about paying unusually high prices for supplies they use every day.

If you’ve ever been in a hospital and have been charged $5 for an aspirin or $50 for a bandage when paying out of pocket, here’s a news story that may make you chuckle a bit. On the other hand, if you have a good relationship with your local family practitioner or dentist, you may feel a tinge of remorse for them.

According to an article that appeared in the Los Angeles Times this week, doctors and hospitals are upset about unusually high prices for supplies they use every day. Of course, items like masks and gloves are typically inexpensive and are easy to access for medical institutions, but the COVID-19 pandemic has created a high demand and drove prices to previously unthinkable levels. 

In an example used in the LA Times story, nitrile gloves (the disposable sterile gloves that medical professionals wear) cost less than $2.50 for a package of 100 pre-2020, but now cost $30 or more for the same size package. Masks and other supplies have undergone similar increases. As you might imagine, this adds up for hospitals and busy doctors’ offices and is cutting into their bottom line. That’s not to mention that doctors are able to see less patients these days because of social distancing and the time it takes for doctors and nurses to constantly disinfect themselves, which is also cutting into their bottom line.

Matchup Of The Year: Doctors vs. Health Insurance Companies

In what may be a historic development, the medical industry says that they don’t want to pass the costs directly to their patients. Instead, they say health insurance companies should pay for the extra costs (of course, this means that eventually these costs will be passed on to insured patients, but nobody is mentioning that).

Doctors in California believe in this idea so much that the California Medical Association, which is a statewide doctor’s organization, has sponsored a bill in the California state legislature that says that insurance companies should not only pay for the now-pricey personal protective equipment (PPE), but other pandemic-related expenses such as soap and other disinfectant, lost time, and even the protective fiberglass that separates office workers from patients. 

“People are literally saying ‘well, maybe my knee doesn’t hurt that bad…’ and the insurance companies are turning record profits as a result”

The California Medical Association says that insurance companies have turned record profits throughout the last year, because outside of COVID-related issues, people have simply stayed inside instead of tending to non-life threatening medical issues, especially during the early months of the pandemic. In the meantime, few, if any health insurance companies have lowered their premiums in response, despite the reduced traffic. People are literally saying “well, maybe my knee doesn’t hurt that bad; I’ll take an Ibuprofen” and the insurance companies are turning record profits as a result. Since many of America’s largest insurers are publicly traded on the stock market, their profit information is only a Google search away- in recent quarters, major insurers have enjoyed not just above-average, but record profits.

A similar legal challenge that attempted to make medicaid and medicare foot doctors’ pandemic expenses bill has already failed on the federal level, but California isn’t the only state with active legislation like this. Washington state has already passed a law that creates a standard insurance charge for every medical visit that will help defray pandemic-related expenses. In addition, it’s likely that lobbyists and lawmakers in other states are watching the outcome of the California bill before writing their own pandemic expense bills. Also, the federal government has taken steps to help people some of the out-of-control medical costs at hospitals and doctors offices.

What Are Health Insurance Providers Saying About This?

If you thought that health insurance companies would not be going out quietly, you’re absolutely right. They’ve fiercely opposed these laws, saying that it’s not usually their responsibility to pay for these types of expenses. In addition, they say that many private doctor’s offices have already received federal help for their pandemic-related expenses. And this is true; in California, billions of dollars were dispersed to help doctors and dentists with pandemic-related expenses. Only time will tell about the outcome of this legislative battle.

How to Lower Your Health Insurance Costs

No matter how this law affects California and the rest of the nation, if you’re looking for health insurance that is customized just for you and your family’s unique needs and budget, then look no further than HealthPlanOptionsToday. Our team of certified experts is dedicated to understanding your situation and helping you find the best option available. Click the button below or call our hotline at 888-375-8879 to get started on your health insurance journey.

Categories
Blog

Your Health Is Important: What This Means for Insurance

It is easy to get life insurance if you are healthy and young because most insurance companies will consider you to be an asset. However, finding affordable life insurance for somebody suffering from a terminal health condition and a bit advanced in age is not easy, though it is still possible.

Sadly, most health issues, such as having a family history of heart disease or certain cancers, are beyond your control, and these will affect the type and price of a policy you can get. Such illnesses take a huge toll on a patient, and they are also expensive for the insurance company. 

Therefore, being in good health is an advantage to insurance providers, and they would do anything to encourage their clients to live healthily. Since your health is important to you and your insurance provider, here are things you can do for everyone’s benefit: 

Keep the Illness in Check

If you have an illness or condition, then you must control it the best you can. 

If you have heart disease, diabetes, ADD, or kidney disease, finding an affordable cover will be hard. Also, conditions such as cancer, arthritis, depression, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and others will complicate your insurance coverage. 

If you work with your doctor to control these conditions, then getting the right policy will be easier.

Check Your Risky Habits

Do you smoke, use products with nicotine, or have a risky hobby like hiking dangerous trails or racing cars? Such pastimes are considered high-risk, and any time you participate in them increases the chances that you will meet your end early. This is a concern for life insurance companies.

Therefore, your policy will come at a higher cost. Bear in mind that you cannot quit using nicotine today to become eligible for the more inexpensive packages. Most companies want candidates to have a clean bill of health for no less than a year. On that note, if you have a record for drunk driving, you may wait up to five years to meet the requirements for the best prices.

Additionally, if your profession is somewhat risky, for instance, transportation, fishing, or mining, your insurer will charge more.

Practice Healthy Exercise and Diets

Your fitness and nutrition count can also determine how much your life insurance coverage will cost, even though not directly. Your overall diet and fitness affect wellness measures such as cholesterol levels, weight, and blood pressure. Your insurer will consider these metrics when calculating your cost.

Even if you are otherwise hale and hearty, you will pay extra if your blood pressure and cholesterol levels are high. Similarly, you will spend more if you are healthy but overweight.

Find More Affordable Rates Between Different Insurers

Granted, being unhealthy makes it hard to find life insurance policies. If your condition is high-risk, you may need to consider several insurance quotes from various insurers to find the best coverage.

Insurance companies have their own underwriting rules, and some insurers offer reasonable prices for certain illnesses. One insurer could be better at covering cancer survivors while another may be better at covering diabetics.

Ask to Be Rated Again

Your health may have been poor when you initially purchased your life insurance policy, but you can have it re-considered if your health has significantly improved. Once you are a client, you can ask to re-rate your coverage if your health improves from the time you obtained the life cover.

Remember, any rising health problems as well as the fact that you have gotten a year older will be taken into consideration when determining the new cost. Still, a re-rating can help you save some money on your policy.

Are You Looking for Health Insurance?

The team at HealthPlanOptionsToday prides themself in helping people get the best insurance prices for their unique needs and situation. We can’t wait to help you as well! Click the button below and we’ll contact you, or call our hotline at 888-375-8879 for instant help.

Categories
Blog

HPOT Gives Back: Our Staff Helps Foster Pups

Some of our staff members took some time out of their weekend to help volunteer as transport partners for Big Hearts Big Dogs, which is a South Florida-based organization that helps to rescue and advocate for large dog breeds.

Thank you to our staff for taking the time to do this, and thank you to Big Hearts Big Dogs for allowing us to participate. Just take a look at these cuties!

Categories
Blog

“How Much Does Health Insurance Usually Cost?”

We help settle the age old question here.

“Is this what the price of health insurance is supposed to be?” That’s usually what’s wandered out loud after people get a health insurance quote or while they’re searching for the best price for health insurance.

The truth is, the answer to that question is quite complex and depends on several factors that have a direct impact on how high or low your premiums will be. 

This answer to this question even varies state-to-state. People across the country pay massively different health insurance premiums every month. Fortunately, thanks to the Affordable Care Act, your pre-existing health condition or gender will not determine the amount of premium you pay. Nevertheless, it is important to know what factors the insurance companies look for, and to understand how these factors can affect the cost of your health insurance. 

Some of the factors are beyond your immediate control, and these include your age, the federal and state laws that apply to you, what county you reside in, and whether you live in an urban or rural area. 

Other factors that affect the cost include: 

  • Whether you are in an employer’s group plan
  • The size of the company you work for
  • Your income
  • The type of health insurance plan you choose
  • Whether or not you use tobacco products

Therefore, the “best” price for health insurance for a person or family depends on these factors. 

According to an Employer Health Benefits Survey conducted in 2019, individual coverage for employee-sponsored Americans costs an average of $7,188 each year, and family coverage averages $20,576 for per year. Don’t forget, though, that these costs are typically at least partially covered by employers. In addition, generally speaking, people who buy health insurance through the national and state marketplaces end up paying more than employees who pay health insurance premiums using pretax income. 

Choosing the Right Health Insurance Policy

There are health insurance plans for single individuals, married couples, people with kids, seniors, minors, and people in unique situations. The policy you qualify for will affect the quality of healthcare you receive, the amount you will pay, and the benefits you will have access to. Therefore, you need to review and analyze all options to make an informed decision that will meet your specific needs. 

When it comes to the cost of health insurance, it’s important to understand the difference between POS, PPO, and HMO plans, in addition to indemnity plans.

Types Of Insurance Plans – Decode The Acronyms:
  • Point of Service Plans (POS)
  • Preferred Provider Organizations, also known as PPOs
  • Health Maintenance Organizations, or HMOs
  • Indemnity or Fee-for-Service Plans.

Each of these plans comes with its own pros and cons and pricing structure. That’s why it’s important to conduct adequate research before selecting a plan (see our article that compares HMOs vs PPOs).

How Do Subsidies Affect The Cost of Health Insurance? 

A health insurance subsidy is where the government helps credit health insurance premiums, making them more affordable to applicants. In essence, the government makes payments to insurance companies directly or may reduce the amount of tax an insured person may have to pay; this helps cover a portion of the price that subscribers need to pay. This year, the government increased the subsidies to Americans with low income and extended the bracket to those with slightly higher incomes. 

Health Insurance Deductibles

In addition to the premiums that health insurance subscribers pay, they also pay deductibles up until a certain point. At the predetermined point, insurance coverage starts to pay a portion of the bills, which is obviously an advantage for the insured.

Finding the Best Price for Health Insurance

Our team of experts at HealthPlanOptionsToday are trained and experienced in helping people get the best insurance prices for their unique needs and situation. They specialize in exploring every available option, and have helped thousands of Americans get the best health insurance plans for their families and themselves. We can’t wait to help you as well! Click the button below and we’ll get in touch with you, or call our hotline at 888-375-8879 for instant help.

Categories
Blog

Pennsylvania Secedes From ACA (And Why Other States Are Doing It Too)

How and why Pennsylvania is leaving the Obamacare marketplace is part of a much larger trend. But don’t worry- that trend is geared toward helping people save money.

Affordable healthcare has been a primary talking point in politics since the launch of the Affordable Care Act in 2013, and since then, most states have used HealthCare.gov to serve individuals that purchase coverage. The marketplace is experiencing a new life after the regular enrollment period, thanks to President Biden’s extension on Obamacare enrollment.

Even with this new life that’s been given to public health insurance, Pennsylvania is breaking away from the Affordable Care Act marketplace. Pennsylvania is planning to save millions of dollars in health plan premiums through “Pennie,” its state-run healthcare insurance exchange that will roll out soon. This is the new trend among a group of states that are choosing to move away from the federal marketplace and opting to introduce state-run insurance exchanges.

Other states taking over their healthcare exchanges soon include New Jersey and Pennsylvania, which will begin enrollment on November 1 this year. This fall, New Mexico and Kentucky will launch and revive their exchanges, respectively. Maine is planning to debut its healthcare exchange this year while Virginia is planning to begin the process next year or in 2023.

Lawmakers in these states argue that the federal marketplace has become too costly, and they believe they can provide better service for much less. The self-contained healthcare exchanges aim to pass on the anticipated savings to the policyholders, which is great news.

Studies show that state marketplaces are attracting more consumers than the federal-run exchange, especially young adults, thanks to the promise of better savings. The policymakers claim that they can run the state exchanges more efficiently and are in a better position to respond to the needs of both residents and insurers. At the end of the day, it all boils down to getting the best deal.

Difficult Economic Times

“Over 11 million people receive coverage through federal and state exchanges, and more than 80% of these people get federal subsidies aimed at lowering their cost of insurance.”

-Healthcare.gov statistics

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused economic turmoil around the country, with millions of people losing their jobs and businesses, leaving them with no source of income. The fear of getting the virus and not being able to access the necessary healthcare is real and justified. As a result, most people are looking to sign up with the state-run exchanges to take care of their current and future health needs. By operationalizing the state-run exchanges, the policyholders will ease their residents’ burdens.

States that have their healthcare exchanges have achieved a much higher rate of enrollment compared to those that use the federal exchange. The lower premiums, as well as better consumer protection and education, have contributed to this high enrollment. This trend will likely continue, and it is an important selling point for the state-run exchange.

States Taking Control

Policyholders argue that their healthcare exchanges will allow them to control their destinies since they currently rely on the federal government. The states are hoping to continue to attract younger consumers who are more likely to be healthy, and this is a significant move towards helping the marketplaces to spread the risk. According to experts, spreading the insurance risk is a sure way to keep the premiums down.

The effort to hold down insurance premiums has continued to increase since the pandemic has increased the demand for accessible healthcare. States hope to enroll more residents in their marketplace health plans, and they have the data necessary to embark on targeted enrollment. Thanks to Penny, Pennsylvania will save $50 million every year, which they can use to support the reinsurance program that is required for individuals with very expensive healthcare needs. Furthermore, the state will have between $1.2 million to $1.6 million for navigators to aid with enrollment, an amount that is close to four times what the federal government allocates.

How Can I Sign Up For My Insurance?

No matter what state you live in, the path to health insurance can be a tough road to travel down alone. That’s why it’s worth it to get in touch with the experts at Health Plan Options Today to understand all the health insurance options that are available to you. Call the hotline at 888-375-8879 or click below to get more information from our team.

Categories
Blog

COBRA Premium Reimbursements and How to Qualify

President Biden’s America Rescue Plan has already affected millions of Americans through tax subsidies and stimulus checks. Here’s how it may affect your health insurance this year, especially if you’ve lost your job due to COVID-19.

On March 11th, 2021, President Biden signed the America Rescue Plan into law. A major part of the rescue plan is that it will help qualified people receive assistance with health insurance costs through government subsidies and reimbursement.

Those who are laid off, retired, have experienced reduced hours, or have experienced any other qualifying reason for job loss are eligible for COBRA (the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act), which is a law that helps people keep their insurance after losing their job. Biden’s plan subsidizes COBRA for those who have lost their job through pandemic-related issues.

Although an employee can qualify for COBRA for a variety of reasons, not all will qualify for an insurance reimbursement.  The federal government is willing to reimburse people for the cost of COBRA if they’ve lost their job due to COVID-19 However, if someone voluntarily left their workplace during the pandemic, they will not qualify for this government assistance.

What President Biden’s New COBRA Program Means

In regular times, COBRA mandates that continuing insurance options for individuals and their families are generally available for up to 18 months (depending on state requirements). Now, the federal government will be subsidizing premium expenses for those who qualify between April 1st to September 30th. This subsidy will cover the insurance premiums, but copays and deductibles would still be left for the former workers to cover. Those that would like retroactive coverage for previous months of coverage will be responsible for the premiums for those months. If retroactive coverage is not desired, the applicant would only be responsible for the premiums moving forward. Because most COBRA options are available from 18 to 36 months, when an employee’s eligibility finishes, the assistance from the federal government also no longer applies.

What Should I Consider Before Using Biden’s Plan?

One factor that will likely disqualify a large group of people from President Biden’s plan is outside enrollment. If someone who lost their job enrolls in insurance outside of COBRA, they would no longer be eligible to transition back into their former workplace’s insurance. Those who become new employees at a workplace that provide health insurance by September 30th are also no longer eligible. There are other restrictions that may hamper applicants in the long run as well- they can all be found here (or you can simply get in touch with one of our experts to discuss your options).

For those who qualify for COBRA, there are some other things to consider. If your insurance coverage comes to term shortly after April, you will want to make sure you have insurance coverage moving forward. Although you will have assistance for those eligible months, you might have a lapse in coverage if your next step is not planned ahead of time. (As a reminder, open enrollment for Affordable Care Act options is now available until May 15th). For those who are enrolled in family plans, any dependents who have turned 26 years old will be responsible for finding their own insurance policy. Another factor to consider is that former spouses of the primary insurance holder are still eligible for the COBRA plan but are responsible for the cost.

What If I Want Other Healthcare Options or Miss the Healthcare Enrollment Period?

For more information about COBRA and how President Biden’s plan affects you, or if you have any other questions or would like to enroll in health insurance, just fill out the short form below or give us a call at 888-375-8879 and we’ll help you get insurance at a rate you can afford.

Need Health Insurance?

Fill out this form and our experts will contact you to help you get the right insurance for your needs.