During this time, individual policy holders can enroll in a health plan or make changes to their existing plan. *If you obtain health insurance from your employer, you are likely to have a different Open Enrollment period.*
What to Expect in 2019
- The penalty has been removed! This means you will no longer receive a penalty for not having coverage or for obtaining a plan that does not provide the 8 coverages required by the Affordable Care Act.
- Short term medical plans will now offer coverage for the full year. These plans do not provide coverage for pre-existing conditions, maternity, or wellness visits. However, these plans are a fraction of the cost of plans offered through the Marketplace and they all have a PPO network.
- BCBS will continue to offer virtual visits for PPO plans only. Policy holders can call or chat online with a nurse practitioner to obtain a diagnosis and prescription for medication.
- Group plans are still an option for small employers. Blue Cross Blue Shield does offer relaxed guidelines during this time to allow for a 1-person group. The employer must have at least 2 full time employees that are not husband and wife.
How to Avoid Rate Increases
- Be prepared to discuss your household, estimated adjusted gross income for 2019. This will be used to determine if you qualify for assistance.
- Those without pre-existing conditions should consider a short term medical plan. The premium is much lower and all plans offer a PPO network. Wellness visits are not included with these plans.
- If you are going to opt to self-insure, protect yourself with an accident or critical illness plan. The plan works separate from health insurance and pays you based on a diagnosis of a critical illness (cancer, heart attack, or stroke) and in the event of an accident (slip, fall, and break an ankle) the plan will pay you a certain dollar amount. The purpose is to use the funds to pay towards the unexpected hospital or urgent care visit.
- Review ALL of your insurance policies. I specialize in personal lines insurance, which includes auto, home, and Medicare. As a broker, I have access to multiple carriers which allows me the opportunity to find the best plan based on your needs. I’ve saved people thousands by reviewing rates with multiple carriers.
NOTE: This is an extremely busy time for me. I suggest scheduling early as my schedule will fill up. Call 708 444-0050 or email, email@example.com an appointment. Please include your availability (i.e. mornings, afternoons, or evenings) and the type of appointment you are requesting (face to face or conference call).
Although it may not feel like it outside, March 21 was the first day of Spring.
Spring is considered a time for new beginnings, cleaning and organization around the house.
If you’re ready to tackle that monumental chore, here are some great Spring Cleaning Tips:
Take it one room at a time. Deciding to clean or organize your entire home can quickly get overwhelming. If you focus on just one area or room, then move to another only when you’re finished, you’ll likely work more efficiently.
Follow the six-month rule. Generally, if you haven’t used something in six months (with the exception of seasonal items), it’s a good idea to consider throwing it away or donating it.
Don’t forget the kitchen. Just like other rooms, your kitchen likely has things that haven’t been used in some time — and this includes food in the refrigerator or freezer. Give those appliances a thorough cleaning and get rid of anything you won’t be eating.
Set yourself up for success. Paper clutter is something we all could probably cut back on pretty easily. Setting up a few recycling bins throughout the house gives you a convenient alternative to just setting that old magazine or paperwork down somewhere and watching the pile grow.
Make some money! Of course, the spring cleaning garage sale is a tradition for many homeowners, and can be a great way to bring in some extra income. Talk about a win-win situation — you get rid of stuff you don’t need, and someone pays you for it!
Stay safe. When you’re cleaning or maintaining your home, be mindful of the physical risks involved. Lift with your leg muscles, not your back. Avoid prolonged repetitive motions. Use ladders, lawnmowers and other dangerous tools with caution.
Contact Us! For further questions and assistance, please contact Kelly Burke Insurance at 708-444-0050 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Open Enrollment started November 1st and will last until January 31st, and only affects those that are required to purchase their own insurance.
Here is what you can expect…
- If you need a policy with a 1/1/17 effective date, you must enroll by December 15th. This includes anyone with a plan with Aetna/Coventry, Harken Health, United Healthcare, and Land of Lincoln.
- The remaining carriers offering plans are Blue Cross Blue Shield, Health Alliance, Ambetter, and Cigna. Carriers and plan options vary by county.
- If you are happy with your plan it will automatically renew. I will warn that rates have increased and it may be worth it to review your options. Please Note: Subsidies (assistance provided by the government) have also increased in an attempt to offset the premium difference.
- Blue Cross has announced that doctors in the NorthShore University Health System NorthShore Medical Group and Northwestern Medicine are accepting the Blue Cross Blue Precision HMO plan. Call 847.570.4202 to find out if your Northshore doctor accepts the Blue Precision HMO and 312.926.8400 to find out if your Northwestern doctor accepts the Blue Precision HMO.
- Group insurance is competitive again. This may be an option to consider for small employers. The larger PPO network is still available for group insurance.
- Out of Pocket Maximums have increased from $6850 to $7150 (the out of pocket max varies per plan. The maximum allowed on ANY plan is $7150).
- Blue Cross Blue Shield has introduced a new plan with a smaller network to help offset the increase to premiums.
- As a reminder, assistance is provided by the government to those who qualify. The assistance is based on household size (number of people reported on your tax return) and the household’s adjusted gross income for 2017. Your adjusted gross income is located on line 37 of your 1040. If you are self-employed, this is the number AFTER your write-offs.
Please contact me at 708.444.0050 or email@example.com to schedule a time to review your plan options.
Open Enrollment this year will be November 1st-January 31st. During this time, Blue Cross Blue Shield has already announced major network changes. The biggest being the elimination of their broad PPO network. Those with a plan in this network will receive a letter and or phone call from BCBS stating that their policy will expire 12/31. You will need to pick a new plan by 12/15 to ensure there is no gap in coverage.
Those with the Blue Choice, the HMO network, or on an employer plan will NOT be affected by this change.
BCBS has also announced that there will not be a cap on out of network charges, making it extremely important to stay in your plans network. What this means is that a service that costs $10,000 at an out of network facility will cost you $10,000. Nothing will be applied towards your deductible.