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Open Enrollment For 2023 Is Underway: Don’t Miss Out!

Everything You Need to Know About the 2023 Open Enrollment Period For Obamacare and ACA plans.

The 2023 Open Enrollment Period (OEP) for the Affordable Care Act (ACA) began November 1, 2022 and ends on January 15, 2023. Some states have their own healthcare exchanges, such as California’s Covered California Exchange and Pennsylvania’s Pennie. Several of these states have different date ranges for the 2023 OEP.

If you think that OEP is a bit longer than usual this year, you’re right: open enrollment used to end on December 15 in most states, but the Biden administration added a one-month extension that took effect for the 2022 plan year and will continue to be used from now on.

If you don’t have health insurance through your job, you’ll need to purchase coverage during open enrollment. The best time to buy health insurance is during the open enrollment period, when ACA plans are available and rates are set for the year. You can still buy health insurance after open enrollment, but you may have to wait for a plan to become available and your rates may be higher, or you may have to use an option such as private health insurance.

What is Open Enrollment?

Open enrollment is the time of year when people who don’t have health insurance through their job can purchase coverage through a certified ACA provider such as HealthPlanOptionsToday. You can still buy health insurance through a government exchange after open enrollment if you have experienced one of several qualifying events (we’ll cover this later).

What States Have Their Own Healthcare Exchanges?

Many states and the District of Colombia have their own healthcare exchanges, many of which have unique open enrollment periods. A complete list of these states is below:

California: From November 1 to January 31 (renewals began earlier, on October 1)
Colorado: From November 1 to January 15
Connecticut: From November 1 to January 15
District of Columbia: From November 1 to January 31
Idaho: From October 15 to December 15 (take note that this deadline ends before year-end)
Kentucky: From November 1 to January 15
Maine: From November 1 to January 15
Maryland: From November 1 to January 15
Massachusetts: From November 1 to January 23
Minnesota: From November 1 to January 15
Nevada: From November 1 to January 15
New Jersey: From November 1 to January 31
New Mexico: From November 1 to January 15
New York: From November 16 to January 31 (note that open enrollment begins later than most exchanges)
Pennsylvania: From November 1 to January 15
Rhode Island: From November 1 to January 31
Vermont: From November 1 to January 15
Washington: From November 1 to January 15

How To Get Health Insurance Outside of Open Enrollment

Outside of ACA’s open enrollment window, Obamacare enrollments are available with a qualifying event such as marriage (since 2017), becoming a U.S. citizen or birth/adoption (since July 2016). Even if you do not fall under one of these qualifying events, you can still purchase health insurance through Health Plan Options Today. Our trained specialists will literally search through a plethora of plans to find the one that suits you and your needs the best.

How To Get The Best Deal During Open Enrollment Period

While the best time to buy health insurance is during the open enrollment period, our team is just a call away and is ready to assist with your health insurance needs at any time of the year. They will take time to learn about your budget and your needs: whether you’re single, an empty-nester, or if you have a large family that needs to be covered, and will help select the plan that will work best for you. Get in touch with us by calling our hotline at 888-375-8879 or by clicking the button below.

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6 Ways To Get The Most Out Of Your Health Insurance

Navigating health insurance in the U.S. can be very confusing. Even today, while we’re living within the golden age of health insurance in our country, millions of people still don’t have coverage. There are several changes that can be made to ensure that health insurance can be even more affordable and accessible for all.

Those who have health insurance are able to take advantage of the fact that insurance is there to help you and your family when you need it most, but did you know that there are other ways to make the most of your health insurance and get the most out of your benefits?

Here are some tips on how to best utilize your health insurance.

1. Get Familiar With Your Policy

Every insurance plan is different, so make sure you are familiar with your policy and what it covers. It’s important to know what your policy covers, as well as any exclusions or limitations. This will help you understand what benefits you are entitled to and how to make the most of them.

Be sure to review the “Summary of Benefits” provided to you by your insurance company and if you have any questions, call the company and have someone in the member services department explain it to you.

In addition, plans backed by the Affordable Care Act/Obamacare mandate MUST provide a variety of services that are often underutilized by the general public, such as mental health services, wellness care, outpatient care and other services. In addition, ACA-backed plans must provide preventative care, which we’ll discuss further below.

Find The Right Provider For You

Choosing the correct provider will help you get your money’s worth from your insurance.

Healthcare providers can be primary care doctors, specialists, hospitals or more. Essentially, it’s any person or place that provides you with healthcare.

If you don’t currently have a provider or your provider isn’t a part of your new insurance, be sure to check your plan provider network to see the list of providers that they work with.

This information is usually available on the insurance company’s website or you can contact the insurance company’s member services to describe what you are looking for and let them point you in the right direction.

Think about what you really need from a provider. It’s your right to see a provider who makes you comfortable and remember, you can request another provider if you don’t think they are the best fit.

3. Preventative Care is Key

Many health insurance policies are required to cover preventive care in your plan. This means that even if you haven’t met your annual deductible, you can still receive preventive care services for free.

Preventive care services include annual checkups, screenings, vaccinations, and even counseling to stop smoking.

Take advantage of these benefits to help keep yourself and your family healthy.

4. Discounts, Discounts, Discounts

Your health coverage provider may provide discounts you’re not even using.

Many health insurance plans offer discounts on fitness memberships, healthy food choices, and other wellness-related activities. These discounts can help you save money and improve your overall health.

Take Advantage of them!

5. Use Online Tools and Resources

Most health insurance companies offer online tools and resources that can help you manage your health, find providers, and make the most of your benefits.

Utilizing these resources can help you get the most out of your health insurance and save you time, and money.

6. Know When To Use Your Health Coverage

It’s important to know when to use your health insurance and when to pay cash.

There are times when it may be more cost-effective to pay for a service out-of-pocket rather than using your health insurance.

However, if you have a serious or complex medical issue, it’s important to use your health insurance so that you can get the care you need.

Don’t Have Health Insurance? Here’s How to Get Covered.

Following these tips can help you make the most of your health insurance and get the most out of your benefits. If you have any questions about your policy or how to best utilize your health insurance, contact your insurer for more information.

The team at HealthPlanOptionsToday is here to help everyone get the best health insurance prices for their unique situations and needs. 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.

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The Health Insurance Marketplace Has Reopened For 2022 Enrollment… and we’re here to help.

The team at HealthPlanOptionsToday will help you get the plan you need.

When Is Enrollment For Obamacare Plans?

Have you been wanting to switch to an Obamacare/health insurance marketplace health insurance plan?

If you live in an eligible state (some states have their own health insurance marketplaces), then the time to enroll is now. Open enrollment began November 1, 2021 and ends January 15, 2022.

If you would like coverage that begins on January 1, 2022, the time to enroll is now- you have until December 15 to enroll.

Thanks to the global pandemic, enrollment periods have opened and closed at irregular times throughout the last two years. However, the 2022 enrollment period marks a return to the typical year-end enrollment process.

How Can I Sign Up For Health Insurance?

The team at HealthPlanOptionsToday.com is standing by and ready to help with all your healthcare enrollment needs, including Obamacare/Healthcare marketplace plans.

Just give our team a call and we’ll be happy to answer your questions, listen to your needs, and help you select a plan that’s perfect for you.

Give us a call today at 888-375-8879, or click the button below and we’ll get in touch with you with more information.

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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.

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Here’s When You Should Change Your Health Insurance Plan

Starting a family soon? Paying for insurance but still can’t afford to get sick? These are just 2 of the reasons that may cause you to consider changing your health plan.

For many people, health insurance is one of those things that they don’t think about… until they need it. And let’s admit it- more than a few of us have picked plans semi-blindly, not having a true picture of the benefits or exactly what we’re getting into. While it’s not the best way to shop for health insurance; that approach nothing to be ashamed of; after all, insurance terminology can be complex to those who are unfamiliar with the business, and for those who are young and healthy, sometimes it’s easy to think “why would I need this if I rarely get sick?”

Time has a way of making sure we pay more attention to these things, which leaves some people unsure of whether their frustrations with health insurance plans are part of the status quo or are issues that should be fixed. This often leads people to wonder “how can I change my health insurance plan mid-enrollment?” While that’s another question for another day, here are a few ways to know when you should change your health insurance.

When You’re Paying for Preventative Care

By law, all ACA-compliant health plans- in other words, health insurance plans that meet the minimum standard of “Obamacare“- MUST include free access to preventative care services such as flu shots and blood pressure screenings (read more about the covered preventative services here). In addition, they must provide some level of coverage for mental health care, which we’ve covered in this article here.

If your health plan does not include coverage for these services, it’s time to consider a change.

When Your Healthcare Needs Have Changed

Have you just made it through “the other side” of a serious health condition? Have you made a major lifestyle change, such as losing a major amount of weight? Have you moved on from a job that involved a major amount of physical strain? These are all examples of major health changes that may cause some to consider dialing back their health insurance coverage.

When Your Family Needs Have Changed

Are you one of the 1.4% of Americans that have had a baby in the last year? Are you planning to have a new addition to your family soon? Will your partner be eligible for medicare within the next year? Then it may be time for you to evaluate changing health insurance plans to better suit your family’s needs.

When You Don’t Go to the Doctor… Because You Can’t Afford It

The whole point of having health insurance is to help reduce the cost of caring for one’s health. This is why one of the great ironies of our time is that thousands and thousands of people who have health insurance skip doctor’s visits when they’re sick or neglect refilling prescriptions… because it’s too expensive!

If this is the case, it’s definitely time to consider switching health plans. Even if you don’t switch health plans, then you may want to consider an HSA- a Health Savings Account- if it’s available through your health insurance provider.

Another Way to Find Out If You Should Change Your Health Insurance

There are many other situations that may cause people to consider changing their health insurance. Our team of experts can help you understand whether or not the time is right for you, and can help you find a plan that will suit your needs if you’re ready to change. Call the Health Plan Options Today team hotline at 888-375-8879 to speak with the team directly, or click the link below and we’ll get in touch with you.

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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.

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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.

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Health Insurance After Divorce: What Are My Options?

What Happens To Health Insurance After A Divorce?

Divorce is not an easy topic to talk about. While the questions of “who gets the house”, and “what will happen with the kids?” are obviously the most pressing questions in this situation, divorce is so complex that there are likely hundreds of procedural questions that must be confronted before, during and after a split.

“I’m on my spouse’s health insurance, what will happen to me after we split?”

-The Most Important Divorce Question That No One Thinks About

After a divorce, your former spouse is supposed to cover your health insurance premiums but this only happens for a time. Many people forget that if paying the premiums is not part of the divorce settlements, you will be dropped from the other party’s health insurance plan once the divorce is settled. This is the reason why it is recommended that you know your options before taking up a health insurance plan. Here are a few options that you should consider for health insurance after a divorce.

COBRA and Divorce

A divorce will mean that you are left without your partner’s company health insurance plan. However, COBRA guarantees that you are still entitled to up to 30 months of insurance coverage (the length of the duration of cover is dependent on the circumstances of the divorce.) To qualify for COBRA extended coverage, your ex must be working in a firm with more than 20 employees. 

However, there are some states with mini-COBRA that cover businesses with less than 20 employees. once the COBRA health insurance coverage is terminated, you are required to re-apply for the same within 60 days, only this time you will be the one paying premiums and not your former spouse’s employer. COBRA is appealing to divorced individuals who have already accrued a significant amount of medical expenses as they do not have to start over once their COBRA insurance policy is terminated.

Employer Health Insurance Coverage After Divorce

After a divorce, you are eligible for health insurance from the employer provided that you are under active employment. This option is considered to be more cost-effective compared to COBRA and does not drag your ex-partner into paying your premiums. However, one thing you need to understand is that this option can only be accessed during specific periods during the year. There are unique situations that can give you special enrollment to the Employer Health Insurance Plan as it is the case with a divorce.

How Divorce Affects Obamacare Health Plan

The good thing why you should consider Obamacare health insurance is because even with your employer’s health insurance plan, you are still eligible for the latter. This is because Obamacare is either run by the state or the federal governments. Obamacare is almost similar to the employer health insurance plan since you have 60 days after a divorce to apply for coverage during a period referred to as a special enrollment period. If the 60 days lapse without you having applied for Obamacare health insurance, then you would have to wait for the regular enrollment period that takes place towards the end of the year.

Short Term Health Insurance for Divorcees

Short-term health insurance is a good option for people who cannot afford Obamacare or feel that they are likely to get formal employment in the near future. Of course not every health insurance plan matches your budget for the same. There are a number of things that you should know about short term health insurance one of them being that this option is not for people with pre-existing medical conditions. This blanket exclusion sometimes makes this option unattractive to people since Obamacare and the employer plan allow people with pre-existing conditions to enroll.

In the event of a divorce, finding the right health insurance option should not be problematic as long as you know what to look for in the right plan. Divorce is a difficult event and if your judgment is clouded, chances are that you will rush to choose a health insurance plan that is not ideal for you and your family. For this reason, be sure to use Health Plan Options Today to help find a plan that will usher in the next chapter of your life while guaranteeing good health and wellness. Click the button below or call our hotline at 888-375-8879 to get started on your journey.

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New Law Brings Online Shopping To Hospital Visits

A law that went into effect on January 1, 2021 seeks to make hospital visits less of a guessing game and more of a shopping experience.

Every January 1st, new laws go into effect across the United States. Usually by this time, the debate has been long over on most of these laws and the media attention on the passage of these laws has died down. As a result, the majority of these new regulations go unnoticed by most people. Some of these laws make changes that we happen to notice in passing, such as a highway being renamed or the expansion of a national park. Occasionally, one of these “unknown laws” ends up making major changes to the way regular people approach their lives, and the American public doesn’t notice until much later.

This was the case on January 1st, 2021, when a law that encourages price transparency for hospital visits officially went into effect. This law, which is known popularly as (you guessed it) the Price Transparency Rule may have the most impact on American healthcare since the passage of the Affordable Care Act, “Obamacare”, in 2010.

This new transparency law was originally passed in 2019, but has very modern implications. Under the new law, hospitals must publicly disclose the price of every item and service they provide to patients via an “easy to understand” page on their website. The aim of this law is to increase competition, which will, in the words of the law, “ultimately drive down the cost of healthcare services, making them more affordable for all patients” (see the actual law here).

How Might This Law Change Hospital Prices?

Most people will agree that the price of many hospital services is simply out of hand. The reason for this is a topic of a debate that has no single right answer.

For example, consumer advocates say that the high prices are the result of secret collaboration between hospitals and insurance companies. They believe that large health insurance networks and hospital networks have collaborated to keep costs high for non-insured people but low for insurance companies. This is totally feasible, considering that it’s no secret that major hospital networks make their money by treating hospital visits as commodities and patients as numbers.

On another hand, economists say that the price issue has emerged because in the world’s biggest free-market economy, one of our nation’s biggest businesses- medicine- does not operate in a truly free-market way. They say if people can’t shop around for the best deal, then prices can’t drop to attract new clients, and each hospital can more or less act as a monopoly to itself.

The Price Transparency Rule seeks to remove the “guessing game” factor from hospital visits.

While both those explanations and others all have some truth to them, the bottom line is that most people go into the hospital with no idea how much the stay will cost. This keeps people from visiting the hospital in the first place, as they are afraid to be saddled with a massive bill that may have a worse impact than whatever they’re visiting the hospital for in the first place. If this law does serve to increase competition and lower prices in the long-term, society will be better off for it, simply for quality-of-life reasons.

How Will Everyday People Benefit From Price Transparency?

For those in the know, there was an earlier law that made hospitals make their “chargemasters” public (a chargemaster is a list of a hospital’s services that isn’t quite a good example of the actual price of care). This law goes several steps further than that law did.

Every hospital must now post the prices for everything they charge patients for, and must list the “cash” price as well as the “insurance” price, which is likely to be much lower than the cash price. They also must post a list of costs for services that are most commonly needed at hospitals, like having a baby or getting an MRI. The new law provides a list of 300 of these services, but only 70 of these 300 are mandated to be listed by each hospital. In addition, the prices the hospitals provide must include all costs from admission to release, so there’s less room for surprise, although at the end of the day, the prices given are still estimates.

While this law may not help people who are rushing to fix emergency-room situations, this will help people comparison shop for the services we use most often, such as mammograms, X-Rays, or even psychotherapy. It makes sense that people without insurance or with high insurance deductibles will likely benefit the most from these lists.

Who Could Possibly Not Like This Law?

As you may have already guessed, the hospital industry isn’t too pleased with the passage of this law. Even before the law went into effect, the American Hospital Association (AHA) took to the courts to attempt to have the law removed from the books, saying that the law violates their First Amendment rights. This challenge was struck down by the court system, as was a later appeal by AHA lawyers in December 2020. The AHA has publicly stated that they’re not done yet, and they’ll attempt to communicate directly to the Biden administration to try to make a change.

There is one other group that is involved in the price struggles that haven’t been mentioned yet: health insurance companies. Rest assured, health insurers aren’t being left off the hook- their version of this law will be coming into effect in 2022.

If you’re in need of health insurance, don’t wait until you see a hospital bill to take action . Our plans start as low as $160/ month. Get in touch with our hotline at 888-375-8879 or click the button below and we’ll help you get a health insurance quote in 3 easy steps.

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Is There a Health Insurance Penalty in 2021?

Is health insurance required in the United States? The short answer: yes and no.

When the Affordable Care Act (ACA), or “Obamacare”, was launched in 2010, one of the biggest debates surrounding the law was not the idea of “healthcare for all” or what types of health incidents the ACA covers or doesn’t cover, but the idea that the act made health insurance mandatory for all Americans. While the law did not say anything like “you must have health insurance or you’ll go to jail”, it did create a tax penalty- popularly known as “the health insurance penalty”- for anyone without health insurance. One side of the political aisle said that this idea-  which simply became known as “the mandate”-  infringed on the freedom of Americans, while the other side felt that it was everyone’s right to have affordable health insurance, and a mandated public option would help keep costs down for everyone.

The Affordable Care act was launched nearly 10 years ago, and still never fails to be a major lightning rod in Washington, D.C. and in state government offices, especially during election season. While the individual mandate was lifted on the federal level in 2019, portions of the mandate still remain in the actual Obamacare law and in some states; these portions still create plenty of discussion everywhere in the United States.

What Is The Penalty For Not Having Health Insurance?

The national health insurance mandate was not as one-sided as we may have implied. While the mandate established a tax penalty for those without insurance, it also created a special premium tax credit for people with insurance, which served to help lessen the cost of health insurance. It also created provisions to expand Medicare for lower-income families. Congress voted to remove the federally mandated penalty for not having health insurance in 2017 via a law that became effective on January 1, 2019.

Some states, however, have their own insurance marketplaces, and have created their own mandated insurance, using a state tax penalty/tax credit system that is similar to the original federal system. As of early 2021, these states are as follows:

  • Massachusetts
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont
  • California
  • New Jersey

In addition, the District of Colombia also has its own mandate. New Mexico, Kentucky, Maine, and Virginia are all expected to open their own marketplaces within the next two years, and Maryland, Hawaii, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania have made progress on creating mandatory healthcare law for their residents as well.

Pros and Cons Upsides and Downsides To Revoking The Health Insurance Penalty

In the words of the great Sir Isaac Newton, “with every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction”. In the case of the removal of the health insurance mandate, people quit their health insurance when it was no longer required in order to save money. Experts estimate that as many as 4 million people quit their health insurance solely based upon the removal of the health insurance mandate.

The biggest benefit of removing the mandate, especially for healthy young people, is that without having to pay for health insurance, a little more money can stay in one’s pocket. Stories have appeared of people who have used the mandate removal to their advantage, and have gotten rid of their insurance, then actually negotiated major health costs on their own and come out ahead of the system.

The downside, of course, is what Obamacare was originally created to avoid- not having health insurance is a major risk. Due to the extreme costs of healthcare in the US, most people without insurance or major savings are only one major medical crisis away from financial ruin or bankruptcy. Consider this- the average cost of an emergency room visit in 2018 was roughly $2000, which is nothing to laugh at, considering that in the pandemic era, surveys show that 25% of Americans have no emergency savings at all.

How To Compare Health Insurance

While the healthcare marketplace is one way to shop for insurance, there are other ways to shop that include other types of health insurance, such as private insurance and short-term coverage. The team at healthplanoptionstoday.com can help walk you through your options and get coverage in 3 easy steps, just click the button below to get started.

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