Q. I’ve gotten this notice, what should I do now?
A. Experts say people should scrutinize the terms of their soon-to-be-discontinued policy and compare them with what new policies offer. The monthly premium is just one factor in cost. Also note the deductible. Is it per person? What is the maximum deductible if two or more family members fall ill in the same year? Finally, note the annual out-of-pocket cap, which is the maximum you pay in deductibles and co-payments for medical care during the year.
“People need to be aware of their range of options,” said Cori Uccello, senior health fellow at the American Academy of Actuaries. Direct comparisons may be difficult, she warned, as the new policies will often cover a wider range of benefits, but you should be able to compare deductibles and copayments for various services, including drugs.
Some insurers are recommending new plans that are most similar to the one being discontinued, and could automatically enroll you in such a plan if you take no action. Those are not your only options. You should double-check and compare a range of plans, experts say. An independent broker can show you plans from various carriers. You can also check your state’s online marketplace or log onto or call healthcare.gov, the website serving 36 states that opted not to create their own marketplaces. While consumers are having trouble creating accounts through healthcare.gov, the website now allows shoppers to browse health plans without creating an account. When browsing, however, be aware that the premiums are not actual quotes because they do not reflect your exact age. Nor do they show subsidies, although several online calculators-including some on state marketplace websites and another by the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation can give you a good idea of how much you might receive toward coverage, based on your income. (Kaiser Health News is an editorially independent program of the foundation.)
Kaiser Health News is an editorially independent program of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonprofit, nonpartisan health policy research and communications organization not affiliated with Kaiser Permanente.
Wed, Oct 30 2013