When can I enroll in the new plans?
The initial enrollment period starts on October 1, 2013 and runs through March 31, 2014. However, keep in the mind that earliest that you can use your plan is January 1, 2014. There is plenty of time to enroll in the new plans!
How do I enroll in the new plans?
There are 2 ways to enroll in the new healthcare plans:
1) You can enroll directly through the exchanges or online. The government will then be acting as an insurance agent, selling you private insurance plans such as Humana and Blue Cross.
2) You can enroll using an agent. It will cost you the same price, but you will not have to deal with the long waiting times that customers have been experiencing when calling the exchange directly.
In addition, should any problems arise, your agent is like your personal secretary, and can help you solve billing issues, claims, issues, and offer advice should you need to change your plan.
It is also much easier to reach an agent, should any problems arise. It’s not like trying to contact an insurance company, and navigate through the customer service reps.
(Click here to be taken to our “Why use an agent” page and check out the video and information that can be found on that page).
At Insurance Depot, we answer the telephone! We are a small family business, started in 1970.
Call us today for free advice about which plan is best for you and your family!
Call us anytime at 1-800-326-8881.
What are exchanges?
Exchanges are simply the markeplace where you can purchase an “exchange plan”. Only exchange plans are eligible to receive government aid, known as “subsidies”, to help pay for your health insurance. However, exchange plans are very small “HMO’s, which have a very small network of doctors.
If you are not eligible to receive a subsidy, you are much better off purchasing an “off exchange plan”, since they are much larger networks.
ALL of the new health insurance plans, regardless of being “on exchange plans” or “off exchange plans” have the same new benefits that the government now mandates MUST be included in in the new health insurance plans.
What are subsidies?
New insurance policies might qualify for government aid, known as “subsidies”. It all depends on how much you make.
How do I know if I qualify for a government subsidy to help pay for my insurance?
Here is how to determine if you are eligible to receive a subsidy, which is government aid that helps to pay your health insurance.
The numbers below are your modified adjusted gross income – how much you actually pay taxes on. If you earn $50,000 and have $10,000 in deductions (for example, for mortgage and business costs), you are only paying taxes on $40,000 – and that is what we are referring to below.
If your income is under $12,000 as an individual, you are eligible to receive Medicaid.
If you are 2 people, and your income is below $15,000, you are eligible for Medicaid.
If you are a family of four, and your income is below $23,000, you are eligible for Medicaid.
If you are an individual and pay taxes on income that ranges between $12,000 and roughly $45,000, you qualify to receive some government subsidy money to help pay for your insurance. You would therefore want to buy your insurance through the exchange (You may use an agent to sell you the exchange policy, and not have to wait on the phone or deal with the exchange websites!!)
If you are a couple and you collectively pay taxes up to $62,000, you qualify to receive some government subsidy money to help pay for your insurance. You would therefore want to buy your insurance through the exchange. (You may use an agent to sell you the exchange policy!)
If you are a family of three, and you collectively pay taxes on up to $78,000, you qualify to receive some government subsidy money to help pay for your insurance. You would therefore want to buy your insurance through the exchange. (You may use an agent to sell you the exchange policy!)
If you are a family of four, and you collectively pay taxes on up to $94,000, you qualify to receive some government subsidy money to help pay for your insurance. You would therefore want to buy your insurance through the exchange. (You may use an agent to sell you the exchange policy!)
If your income is above the numbers mentioned above, you are better off buying a plan that is “off the exchange”, since you are not eligible to receive supplement money.
The plans off the exchange are much larger networks, and are a much better option if you do not need to purchase insurance through the exchange. (Again, the reason to purchase on the exchange is if you are eligible for a government subsidy to help pay for your insurance).
Should I use an agent?
Using an agent is absolutely free (the commissions are paid by the insurance company, not the consumer), and allows you to get the VIP treatment.
1) You don’t have to spend time sitting on the phone or trying to enroll online. Agents are much more accessible. It’s like having your own personal health insurance assistant. Would you rather call the IRS or a private company with five employees? When you apply directly through the exchange without using an agent, you are simply using the government as your insurance agency, and you have to deal with the long waits and bad customer service that the government is notorious for…and have thus far been receiving numerous complaints. It’s far easier to simply call an agent that works in a small private business, rather than trying to contact a large insurance company
2) If you have a billing or claim issue (as health insurance policies often do!), if you have an agent, you can quickly and easily call the agent to take care of everything for you! Otherwise you must take care of the issue by navigating the labyrinth of customer service representatives by yourself. The people working at the exchanges are instructed to simply refer you to the insurance company that sold you the policy, should you call them with a problem that you are having.
3) If you call up an insurance company with a problem, you will have to deal with a customer service representative. They get paid by the hour, regardless of whether they resolve your issue or not.
Agents stay in business by retaining your business, and will do everything in their power to resolve your problem quickly and easily.
Agents have lots of contacts at each insurance company, and know just how to resolve your problem. Let the agent handle all of your insurance headaches, so you don’t have to!
4) Health insurance agents have far more experience than the newly minted navigators who are new to the field of health insurance.
Our agency has been selling health insurance since 1970!!
How would you like to have your own personal assistant to help you with your health insurance? An agent is literally at your beckon call to help you decide on best coverage for you and your family, solve billing and claim issues, and help with any policy changes.
How are agents paid?
Agents are paid by the insurance companies, not the consumer. You pay the same monthly premium with our without an agent. If you have an agent, the insurance company gives a portion of your monthly premium to the agent, and this is called a commission. The agents commission comes out of the insurance company’s pocket, not the consumers.
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