Explore the Marketplace's Low-Cost Health Insurance Options
November 20, 2017
Are You Covered for Healthcare in 2018?
Open enrollment for the Health Insurance Marketplace has begun. As you may recall, the Health Insurance Marketplace has been offering expanded access to low-cost healthcare coverage for people without health insurance, or for those who are interested in exploring more cost-effective alternatives to their current coverage, since its inception in 2013. Last year alone, more than 12 million people obtained health coverage through the Marketplace – including 230,211 people who enrolled in South Carolina during the 2017 open enrollment period.
“Health insurance coverage improves access to preventive services,” says Scott Campbell, Market CEO at Providence Health. “When people do not have coverage, they tend to wait for emergencies to seek out medical attention. At this point, the condition causing discomfort has likely advanced to a more challenging state, which puts undue stress on the patient, their family, and the health delivery system at large. The improved access to preventive medicine provided by the Health Insurance Marketplace benefits individuals and our community by raising the overall level of health and quality of life in our area.”
Getting You and Your Family Covered
The deadline for open enrollment for 2018 coverage is December 15, 2017. If you do not currently have health insurance or if you are currently insured through a Marketplace plan and wish to make changes in your coverage, you must do so during this time.
Here are a few things to consider when getting ready to enroll:
- Learn about different types of health insurance. A variety of plans will be available in the Marketplace.
- Make a list of questions before it’s time to choose your health plan, such as “Can I stay with my current doctor?” and “Can I use my local hospital?”
- Make sure you understand how insurance works, including deductibles, out-of-pocket maximums, copayments, etc.
- Start gathering basic information about your household income. You may qualify for a discount on the cost of your health insurance.
- Set your budget. Different health plans will be offered to meet a variety of budgets.
- Ask your employer if they plan to offer health insurance next year. Some employers, particularly small businesses, have chosen to discontinue offering health benefits and direct employees to the Marketplace.
- Explore current options. Visit www.HealthCare.gov for information about health insurance for young adults up to age 26, children in families with limited incomes (CHIP) and Medicare for people who are over age 65 or have disabilities.
As you compare plans, you should consider whether each plan includes any physicians and providers regularly seen by you and/or any family members who will be covered by the plan. These include primary care physicians, pediatricians, OB/GYNs, ENTs, dermatologists and other specialty care providers.
If you need help identifying a plan to meet your healthcare needs, visit https://www.HealthCare.gov for more information, including a checklist of documents you will need for enrollment.