The government announced last month that it spent $ 67 million on staff, called “navigators” to help people enroll in health insurance for the coming year. But at the same time, he handed off relay training insurance agents and brokers the sale, including insurance companies pay for people to sign up their plans.
Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services has signed agreements with at least five online brokers health insurance allows people to their health plans out there, rather than trade-similar to how consumers can buy tickets on Expedia or Orbitz government rather than buying tickets directly from the airlines carriers.
Among the brokers that sell primarily individual health plans are eHealth EHTH -0.28%, 0.46% TW Towers Watson, HealthCompare, Getinsured, ConnectedHealth and GoHealth. And there may be others. CMS says it can not confirm the number of agents were allowed to enroll eligible consumers in health plans that are tax subsidies in 36 countries, in place of government health insurance racing as 1 October.
“The government essentially compensates us for help enroll more people, which is really important,” said Bryce Williams, director of foreign exchange solutions Towers Watson and founder ExtendHealth. “It’s really not a government. ”
There are a few reasons why the government needs help, primarily because of their support staff, navigators, may not provide the same level of customer service provided by private insurance brokers say some experts. While the Ministry of Health and Social Services have expanded the scope of federal browsers funding increased $ 13,000,000 $ 54,000,000 was originally planned also linked hands to play a key role played by intermediaries still play in the insurance inscription: navigators are not allowed to advising consumers who plan to choose.
Prohibit browsers make recommendations or directly to consumers in the health plans, the government wants to get rid of the new health exchange market bias affects the insurance industry, that is, agents and brokers earn commissions for registration of people in some shots. Browsers may not have relationships with insurance carriers and health, and to carry out 30 hours of online training that teaches them to remain neutral and avoid bias, said Tracey Keiser, president and chief direction Keiser Group, a health care benefit strategies and consulting company. But the rule reduces the navigator just over holders hand, some argue. “They are there to help people register and that’s it -. Did not really there to advise them,” Keiser says “the only help they can provide is how to choose the coverage without the coverage you choose.”
More Americans are buying their own health insurance, but the process can be difficult. There are ways to make sure you understand what you are buying and that you get the product that is best for you.
You can start by confirming that you really need to purchase individual insurance as it is. For many people, it is best to avoid the retail market, as in most countries, insurers may refuse because of existing health conditions.
Website Kaiser Family Foundation is a good place to start in finding their eligibility for various government programs, or if you lose coverage because a plan in their service achievements through a federal law known as Cobra. When the Cobra coverage is exhausted, the insurer may require in accordance with federal law to sell you other policies, but there is no guarantee the price. However, different countries for the implementation of this rule otherwise.
If you buy your own insurance, start your search for the websites that explain the basics, such as healthinsuranceinfo.net by the Institute for Health Policy at Georgetown University sponsors and healthcarecoach.com, the National Health Law Program-for-profit. They will help you understand the concepts and language of the disease, which is not always easy to understand insurance and give you an idea of questions on the plane. Healthinsurance.org has useful information, but I know that the website also provides insurance quotes from what he called a “carefully selected partners who are in business selling health insurance.”
Then you can noodle around the stock market online that sell health insurance, including eHealthInsurance.com, HealthPlanOne.com, HealthInsurance.com and InsureMonkey.com. You can get estimates are based on limited data anonymous.
Some consumers choose plans that are based solely on online research. But without guidance, it can be difficult to understand the nuances of the plan and how it compares with other options. First, make sure that you are buying insurance, no other product, such as discount cards – a key way to tell is to check with your state regulatory authority that the company sells the product is considered to be a legitimate insurance company. Be very careful about restricted products, such as the concept of collateral that last time, because you may not be able to restore such a plan at the end of this period.
In reviewing the policy, do not just look at the premium. Included in other expenses you will encounter as a percentage of the cost of doctor visits. Make sure you understand the maximum annual out-of-pocket policy, which most you might have to spend in a year, as some costs may not count in the overall mean. Some insurance companies require you to track your own expense and said the company when you reach the maximum, which can be a headache.
Read the fine print of your deductible, which is the amount you need to ask before your insurance company starts to pay. Some policies may have multiple franchises, one for each family member. Insurers also can not count certain costs franchises.
Also pay attention to the limitations of benefits, including annual and lifetime maximum payment. Called political “mini-MED” to limit their payments can be dangerous, because you could end up paying bills for thousands of dollars if you have an illness or a major surgery. Some plans pay a fixed amount for each day of stay in the hospital, you may be left on the hook for thousands of dollars. drug benefits do not always include all drugs. Some policies exclude maternity coverage or do not understand the concern for pre-existing conditions.
With so much attention on the difficulty of the first insurance exchanges the Obama administration, another option is largely unnoticed: if you live in Washington, DC, or Vermont, you can also buy insurance In addition to trade
In general, health policy after 1 January, if sold on the market or you must comply with the Affordable Care Act. This means that they must offer the same menu of essential benefits such as coverage of drugs and maternity care, and can not deny you coverage if you are already sick. And insurance companies that sell policies both on and off trade to sell the same plan for the same price.
Of course, the main attraction of the exchange is that the plans that are sold come with subsidies, which can significantly reduce your monthly premium. (Premium Loans for people up to $ 46,000 for an individual and up to $ 94,000 for a family of four.)
Brokers on the Internet, such as e-health, which should be able to help consumers enroll in the plans of the eligible grant associate at the federal market, in order to verify the consumer’s income, in accordance with government guidelines issued last spring. However, this is not true for e-health, partly because the company is still testing its system, said spokesman Nate Purpura.
However, the site offers more than 60 thousand plans of insurance that you can buy if you are not looking for subsidies.
For their ability to sell on the plans for the exchange, insurance companies must follow the rules as to its marketing plans and really should offer at least one plan in the “silver” and the category “gold”. These plans have higher premiums but lower out-of-pocket costs, plans of the lower class “bronze”.
The plans, which are sold in the securities market are also expected to follow the same level as those used for public procurement to indicate the level of costs that will incur.
Whether the policy, which you can find over the counter better deal for you than scholarship plans is not yet clear, and varies depending on the market. “I do not think we have a good idea of what,” said Robert Zirkelbach, a spokesman for Health Insurance Plans America, the industry group. But, he added, it makes sense to check.
Another possible reason to shop off the exchange if the network according to the plans you will find you do not understand your doctor or hospital offering, said Sara R. Collins, an expert in the field of health policy at the Commonwealth Fund. In some cases, insurance companies seek to control costs by reducing network plans available in the exchanges.
Of course, there is still time to register with exchanges by the federal government, assuming that the army of technical experts who are brought in help to make good on the promise of President Obama’s solving problems that affect Healthcare.gov, the Federal Trade Portal .
About shop, you have until December 15 to register for coverage beginning on 1 January. (Under the new rules, announced this week, you can register until March 31 for coverage that begins after January 1, and still avoid the penalty.) And if you live in one of the business’ own exchange, as New York and Minnesota, the registration is said to be running more smoothly.
In the meantime, you can also try to register, or you can print out the paper form healthcare.gov and apply by post. Page lists the location by postal code, where you can get help in person.
Here are some questions to consider.
How can I get health insurance outside the public markets?
You can use the “View plans and pricing in your area” option on Healthcare.gov see that insurance companies offer plans in your country, contact them yourself to see what they offer. However, not all insurance companies have plans on trade, so you can also try shopping malls.
Where can I find a local broker or agent who sells insurance schemes?
Check the website of the National Association of health insurance. Keep in mind that agents will not necessarily show you all the available policies, but only those insurers with whom they work on.
If I have an individual plan, you can keep?
Possible. In general, plans must be to come into force in 2014, meet the requirements of the Act. However, the error in most countries, if your insurance allows you to renew early its current policy – before 1 January – and you will be able to store more than 12 months without penalty.
A handful of countries to limit this possibility. Insurers selling plans that are managed by the State of California, for example, grants may not be offered renewals in 2013 plans. So, ask your insurer. And do not forget that if you go this route, your plan will not necessarily that the benefits required by the Affordable Care Act.
You can buy one of these 2013 plans now to cover next year if I do not already have?
Yes – if you are eligible, said Sabrina Corlette, research professor at the Institute for Health Policy at Georgetown University. You are not insured plans coverage if the insurance company may refuse your application if you are sick. However, many buyers think ehealthinsurance.com 2013 plans said Carrie McLean, head of customer service at the site. Premiums may be lower, she said, because they do not have plans to offer all the benefits provided by the new law requires.
Myth # 1: Hey, you pay a premium … Insurance must be purchased and used for each accident and disaster.
Insurance is designed to protect a major disaster. Securing a basic rule: if you can pay for any loss or damage, without financial problems then pay, otherwise expect your insurance premium at the end show an increase. Even buying any kind of insurance is simply not necessary. Sometimes the risk is worth it, instead of paying premiums. More not buy insurance you do not need
Myth # 2: If I’m alive, I need life insurance?
Life insurance is designed to take care of his dependents after the death of his caregiver. If you have no dependents, you probably do not need life insurance. This includes children and seniors … In general, they do not have people who depend on their income for life insurance these groups may, in rare cases, can be beneficial, but not as a rule.
Myth # 3: I am living at home, so I need life insurance.
Have you seen the cost of childcare lately? Add to that the long household, food preparation, and bring home and school transport. From this list we can see how a partner really helps the household budget. Estimated non-working spouse contributes the least, but in general, equivalent full-time. For this reason, it is important to purchase life insurance for everyone in the household, if the absence of their income caused financial problems.
Myth # 4: Whole life and universal life insurance are the best choice because you can get your money back.
Term life insurance is probably the best choice for most. Term life has been concluded for a fixed period, such as 10 to 30 years, with much less than full and universal life insurance premium. Your best bet? Buy term life and invest the difference premium account. Greater emphasis on the term, universal and whole life insurance based on life insurance.
Myth # 5: Flood insurance is only for people who live in an area with a high degree of risk.
Anyone who lives within the National Flood Insurance Program is suitable for the purchase of flood insurance. These areas are still flooded so that even if you think your area is a small risk that you may be eligible. Check with your insurance agent to learn more or find additional information on why my policy pay for damage caused by the floods will not cause?