People switch health insurance plans for a number of reasons. Whether you’ve had a change in your job situation, have a change in your medical needs, you’re unhappy with rates, or have become self-employed, switching health insurance plans is an undertaking.As we move closer to open enrollment, many people are wondering about the best way to switch health insurance plans. There are questions around enrollment windows, eligibility, coverage, and rates. Thankfully, we decided to do the heavy lifting for you so you can switch health insurance plans with ease.
Before you hop on the exchanges, it can be helpful to collect some general info about your financial situation, medical needs, reasons for switching, and must-haves in a new plan. Consider pulling together research and notes on the following items.
Take a look at your medical expenses for the previous year. Note your monthly premium, medical services needed (and associated costs), copays, deductible, out-of-pocket max, and any other expenses. Also make a note of whether these costs were routine, exceptions to the norm, associated wit chronic conditions, or any other information that may be relevant. Be sure to include any family medical history and needs if you anticipate purchase a health plan that covers your loved ones. This will help you plan out expected costs for the coming year as well as specific coverage you may need to look for. Highlight any costs or conditions that you may need to account for with your new plan. Take a look at our handy checklist here:
Next, it’s a good idea to take a look at your financial circumstances for the coming year. What is your expected annual income? See if your income and family size may qualify you for subsidized coverage, or other financial aid. Use your medical history to help inform and project your medical expenses for the coming year. Highlight areas where you may be able to save more with a different health insurance plan.
Make a list of all the health-related things you can’t do without. Do you have a favorite primary care physician? A favorite medical facility?Jot those down so you can be sure those people and places are in-network within any plans you consider. Do you rely on certain preferred brand medications? Jot those down too. Also take a moment to consider if there’s anything else your current plan could have done better. If customer care was a deal-breaker for you, make a note so you remember to consider that when looking for a new plan.
Finally, you’ll want to gather any necessary information for switching health insurance plans. This includes your social security number, the social security number and birth date of any dependents you’ll be covering, and employment information on you and anyone else your plan will cover.
Health plans are conveniently organized into “metal tiers” to make sorting through them a little easier. In general, bronze plans typically having the lowest premiums and higher deductibles and platinum plans having the highest premiums but much lower deductibles. Be sure to look beyond these numbers, however, and consider other important factors when making your decision.
Some plans will include routine and basic preventive care free of cost. Others may offer discounts or low copays for generic medicine brands. Alternatively, there are “catastrophic” plans available if you are under 30 and meet other eligibility guidelines. These plans have the lowest monthly premiums and much, much higher deductibles. Many people choose these plans so they can afford healthcare if a worst-case scenario were to occur (like a major accident or serious illness). These plans do not cover routine or preventative care.
If you are self-employed and looking for health insurance that covers all the bases, you may want to consider one of Decent’s plans. Both our Pathfinder bronze plan and Trailblazer silver plan include free primary care. Most people avoid going to the doctor, but we want you to take advantage of this important care, so we offer it at no cost to you. You can visit your doctor (or call or text or email) as much as you’d like under our plans...all for $0.
Our plans were designed as an alternative to other plans and they are geared towards freelancers and other self-employed people. That’s why we offer open enrollment all year long. We understand that work circumstances change and that people decide to make the brave leap into self-employment all the time. We don’t want to restrict you to a 45-day window, so we enable you to enroll when it’s convenient for you.
If you’re looking for a change (and possibly some $avings), get your free quote today. What do you have to lose?