*Healthcare: Open Enrollment has been extended until January 15th. Current policy holders can submit changes to their existing plan or submit a NEW plan. Once the 15th has passed, you will not be able to make any plan changes. NEW policies submitted during this time will take effect February 1st.
*Medicare: Medicare Supplement policy holders ages 65-75 have the option to change to another Medicare Supplement plan without requiring underwriting approval. To qualify for the Birthday Rule, you must enroll in a plan with the same or lesser benefits. The change must be done within 45 days AFTER your birthday.
*Medicare: Medicare Advantage policy holders are currently in a second Open Enrollment period until March 31st. During this time, you can change to another Medicare Advantage Plan.
*Auto/Home Insurance: Many policies renew during the month of January. When reviewing rates consider these tips:
+Always review the total package (i.e. home and auto). Often, some carriers will have a better rate on the home as opposed to the auto however, the total calculation needs to be reviewed when determining the best scenario.
+Make sure you are matching coverages. Some carriers are notorious for removing full coverage to reduce the rate. Sadly, some people do not realize that until they have an accident. Full coverage means the carrier will fix your vehicle in the event of an at fault accident. On the flip side, liability only means your vehicle is NOT getting fixed in the event of an at fault accident.
*Life Insurance: With the start of the New Year, many will review their financial goals for the year and discuss any gaps. Many people will not buy Life Insurance because they overestimate the cost of a policy. Costs depend on a number of factors, including your health, age, tobacco use, and gender. As one example, a healthy 35-year-old male can expect to pay about $20 per month for $250,000 on a 30-year term.
*Business Insurance: We’ve received LOTS of calls lately regarding employees injured on the job. A workers compensation policy provides wage replacement and medical benefits to employees injured as a result of their job. Premiums are based on the annual payroll and type of work performed.
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 protected] 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).
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.
Assurant Health just announced they will exit the Individual Medical and Short Term Medical markets effective JUNE 15th. If you have a policy with Assurant Health, contact me to discuss your options.