Archives For health insurance virginia

Open SignOctober 1 is here,  and the exchanges have officially opened.

As we expected, the opening of the exchanges came with technical glitches and system delays.  Both the Virginia and Maryland exchanges, like many across the country, had crashed by 9:00 am.

But, things will settle down, and you will be able to purchase health insurance for next year.  Remember, you have until December 15, 2013 to enroll in a plan effective January 1, 2014.

Despite what you may hear about buying health insurance being as simple as purchasing a plane ticket on a site like Expedia, our experience shows us this is not the case.  Technical glitches aside, the application process is complex, and the choices you will be presented with will likely be difficult to decipher.

Please contact us for help.  We are authorized to enroll people through the exchanges in Virginia, Maryland, and the District of Columbia.  We can also assist with off-exchange plans.  Best of all, it costs you no more for our services!!

Here are three ways you can get started:

  1. Visit our website:  www.vamedicalplans.com  (click on “Get Quotes”)
  2. Send us an email: jkatz@vamedicalplans.com
  3. Give us a call: 1-800-867-0800

Please be patient as we work hard to respond to each and every inquiry.  As you can imagine, we are experiencing a high volume traffic at this time!

In the meantime, click here for our 7 easy steps to prepare for enrollment.

Dollar SignHow will health insurance premiums be calculated in 2014, under Affordable Care Act (ACA)?

A policy’s premium is the monthly fee paid to the insurance carrier for health insurance coverage.

In pre-ACA policies, insurance carriers can charge differing premiums based upon many factors including, most notably, a person’s age and current health status.  Today, the premium paid by someone with a medical condition is typically much higher than that of someone with no known medical problems.

Under ACA, starting January 1, 2014, premiums can vary based only on the following:

  • age (note: insurers can charge an older person no more than three times what they would charge a younger person for the same policy)
  • where a person lives
  • whether or not a person smokes

In addition, under ACA,

  • coverage cannot be denied for pre-existing medical conditions
  • coverage cannot be priced higher for someone who is overweight
  • coverage cannot be priced higher for someone in poor health

It is important to note that this discussion is only about PREMIUMS, not total cost of health care.  Typically, you can get a lower monthly premium by increasing the amount you will pay for your care at the time you visit the doctor, emergency room, hospital, clinic, or other medical provider.  This is known as cost-sharing and comes in the form of deductibles, co-pays, and co-insurance.

Under ACA, the degree of cost-sharing for a particular policy determines its “level”.  Plans will be classified into four standard levelsbronze, silver, gold, and platinum.  Plans in the gold and platinum tiers will have lower deductibles — and higher premiums — than those in the bronze and silver tiers.

As you can imagine, then, looking only at the monthly premium when choosing a health insurance policy is probably not a good idea!  Be sure you fully understand the provisions of the coverage so you can decide the right balance for you, given your particular situation.

In addition, depending on your income level and household size, buying health insurance on your state’s exchange may entitle you to a subsidy, which could lower your premium considerably.

Let us know, by phone or email, if we can be of assistance to you as you select your coverage for 2014 — on or off the exchange, with or without a subsidy.