Thanks to my friends at UnitedHealthcare for sponsoring this discussion about health insurance and the Affordable Care Act. As always, the opinions are my own.
Time is running out if you'd like to have health insurance coverage for 2015. With the February 15th deadline right around the corner, it's important that everyone's well informed about all of their options. I'm lucky because I was in the insurance business for nine years so when health care reform rolled around last year, I understood what to look for in a plan. However, the average person may not understand all their options, so United Healthcare has put together a series of videos that easy explain just about everything regarding health insurance.
Why is health care reform important? It gives more Americans access to health insurance in a couple of ways. First, families like mine (My child has a chronic illness) are able to buy insurance for the first time in the individual market (which is huge because I could start my own business). Second, the government has made buying health insurance less expensive for thousands of Americans by providing subsidies. In fact, 87% of the people who've purchased through the exchange saved $250 a month or more on their premiums (In full disclosure, I have been very open with the fact that my family is not eligible for a subsidy and we have a large premium as we're on a Platinum plan).
So how did we decide which plan was right for us? First, we made sure that all of our doctors were in-network. We have relationships with them and want to make sure that we could still see them. Second, we looked at what would be covered. Finally, we added up all of our costs from the year before- co-pays for doctors visits, prescriptions etc. to see what we spent out of pocket. Then we looked at our overall exposure- what would we spend if we hit our out of pocket maximum? We added everything up- the premiums we pay every month, the deductibles and the family out of pocket max and chose the plan that would limit our risk. For us, we know we'll spend $22,000 a year for healthcare. Period (and yes, I know some of you just gasped). But, how do you know which plan may be right for you. This simple video may help.
So where do you begin to look? We started looking on the exchange as our state doesn't have it's own health insurance marketplace and that's where you should begin too. You'll be able to see if you're eligible for a subsidy to help defray the cost of your health insurance and then walk through all your options. If you're confused about how plans work, what's covered or even some of the language used in the insurance world- be sure to watch the UnitedHealthcare videos (you'll notice that any time I used an insurance term in this blog, it's linked to a video to help you out).
I am a firm believer that everyone needs some kind of health care coverage. The number one reason people go bankrupt in the U.S.? Medical bills. Even if your family is healthy, you need to have something in place to take care of them in the event that there's a car accident or someone gets cancer. Take us for example. Last year, our daughter had eight emergency room visits, two hospital stays and too many doctors appointments to count. Once we hit our out of pocket max, it was all covered by our health insurance. There's no way we would've been able to pay for hundreds of thousands of dollars of expenses.
So, do yourself a favor- if you haven't purchased your health insurance yet, hurry up. There's only three weeks left to get coverage for 2015. You'll want to make sure yours is in place.