Do Homework Before Buying Insurance On The Exchange
September 25, 2013
ROCHESTER – With the launch of the new health exchanges scheduled for Oct. 1, take the time to research your options.
“Consumers should at least do as much research when buying health insurance as they would when buying a major appliance or new vehicle,” said Lynne Scalzo, Vice President, Business Strategy and Health Care Reform, Excellus BlueCross BlueShield.
Individuals who are uninsured or pay too much for health coverage have until March 31, 2014, to enroll in a health plan through New York State of Health, an online marketplace that’ll allow you to shop, compare and enroll in a new health plan.
“There’s no rush,” Scalzo added. “Individuals have up to six months to compare plans, talk to experts and see which plan best fits their needs.”
Here is how you can research your options:
- Figure out how health insurance works. Watch videos or read up at youtube.com/excellusbcbs, nystateofhealth.ny.gov, or kff.org/health-reform
- Estimate your 2014 income. You’ll need to estimate your household income to determine whether you’re eligible for financial help.
- See if you’re eligible for financial help. Your premium may be reduced if your household income is below 400 percent of the federal poverty level, which is $45,960 for individuals or $94,200 for a family of four. Try the Tax Credit and Premium Estimator at nystateofhealth.ny.gov
- Determine your health care needs. List your typical health services and costs in a given year. Use the list to help you pick a plan that best fits your situation. If you go to the doctor a lot, for example, you may want a plan with lower copays for doctor visits.
- See which health plans work with your doctor. It can be costly to see a doctor, pharmacy or hospital that’s not in a health plan’s “network,” or group of providers who’ve contracted with the insurer. You may need to double check this information with the provider or health insurer.“It won’t do you a lot of good to purchase a less expensive health plan, for example, if the insurer doesn’t contract with your doctor,” Scalzo said.
- Consider all costs. Don’t just shop based on a health plan’s premium. Consider other health plan costs, such as deductibles and copays for services.
“New York state’s new exchanges mark an entirely new health insurance process for everyone involved,” Scalzo said. “With a little bit of patience and the right homework, more individuals in upstate New York will gain access to affordable health coverage.”
About Excellus BlueCross BlueShield
Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, a nonprofit independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, is part of a family of companies that finances and delivers vital health care services to about 1.9 million people across upstate New York. Excellus BlueCross BlueShield provides access to high-quality, affordable health coverage, including valuable health-related resources that our members use every day, such as cost-saving prescription drug discounts and wellness tracking tools in our Step Up program. To learn more, visit excellusbcbs.com.
The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association is a national federation of 37 independent, community-based and locally-operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies that collectively provide healthcare coverage for nearly 100 million members – one-in-three Americans. For more information on the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association and its member companies, please visit bcbs.com. We encourage you to connect with us on Facebook, check out our videos on YouTube, follow us on Twitter and check out The BCBS Blog, for up-to-date information about BCBSA.