Although some people who signed up for health insurance via the federally facilitated exchange, Healthcare.gov, can automatically renew their plan, that might not be best choice. Privately owned HealthCare.com offers seven reasons why everyone should re-evaluate their current health insurance coverage and weigh it against other options:
- Current rates might change
Some premium rates will increase and others will decrease. If a plan is allowed to automatically renew, the plan member might end up paying more or miss out on better coverage for less.
- A subsidy is based on the silver plan
A premium tax credit subsidy is based on the plan member’s household income and the second-lowest cost silver plan available in the area, and that could increase or decrease. An increase might mean the plan holder is eligible for a larger subsidy. However, even with more financial assistance, one could theoretically pay more per month if the current health plan’s premium also increases.
Bottom line: Pay attention to what the rates are doing and crunch the numbers.
- Income changes
If a plan member’s income decreased, he or she might be eligible for a larger tax credit and additional subsidies, but if income increased, they might not be eligible for the financial assistance currently received. Someone making more money and taking the same subsidies will have to pay back the difference at tax time. For those making less money, they may be paying too much in monthly premiums and could even be eligible for additional subsidies that reduce what they pay out of pocket toward their deductible, copay and coinsurance.
- Lost access to doctors and hospitals
Networks change from year to year. Health care providers and facilities might be dropped and added. That means the primary care doctors, specialists and hospitals a plan member prefers might or might not continue to be available.
- Prescription drug coverage might be limited
Limiting prescription drug benefits is another tactic insurers are using to reduce costs and premiums. Plan members should consider which drugs are used long-term and/or short-term and find out if and how they will continue to be covered by their health insurance plan this year.
- The deductible, copay, coinsurance might change
The percentages might remain the same in a plan, but the deductible, copay and coinsurance could increase in 2015. One might have to meet a higher deductible before benefits kick in and coinsurance takes effect.
- Health care needs might change
Plan members should consider how they insurance in the past year and whether or not that might change. Do they plan to start a family? Will they be engaging in more situations or activities that make them prone to illness or injury?Spending time researching and considering the best health insurance coverage options this year can potentially save a lot of money.