Potential options to renew are available in 2013 but consumers must ask key questions
SUNNYVALE, Calif., Oct. 18, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- While much attention in the individual health insurance market has been focused on choosing new plans on the state and federal marketplaces, consumers who are looking to avoid switching plans and possibly save on premium costs for 2014 may be able to renew an existing health insurance plan according to a new analysis from HealthPocket.
Obamacare plans sold during the 2014 open enrollment period must be available to all applicants without health questions being asked (other than smoking status) and include essential health benefits. However, some consumers may be able to renew an existing individual health insurance product for 2014 before the end of 2013 and wait to purchase their Obamacare plan until late 2014.
Attracting healthy enrollees is essential to rate stability within the Obamacare plans. Some experts are concerned that providing people an option to renew in the existing individual market will keep them out of the risk pool for some or all of 2014. However, the renewal option will come to an end for plans by 2015, so the people selecting this option will eventually become merged with the rest of the individual market enrollees.
"Consumers who are happy with their current insurance plan may be able to keep their existing plan for a while longer without any changes mandated by Obamacare," said Steve Zaleznick, executive director for Consumer Strategy and Development at HealthPocket.com. "However, this strategy is not available to everyone and needs to be carefully evaluated as we describe in the suggestions that follow."
A number of factors should be considered in order to make a decision that works for each consumer on whether they can or should renew. These include:
- If you have an existing individual health plan, check with your insurer to see if renewal is even an option. For example, insurers selling 2014 plans on the California marketplace will not provide renewal options for their existing plans.
- Compare plans available through new state and federal marketplaces with the one you are considering renewing. Make sure you understand that the inclusion of essential health benefits provides broader coverage through the new marketplace policies.
- Discuss with your insurer how it will treat deductibles if the plan renews on a basis other than a calendar year.
- Understand that you will not be able to receive a subsidy unless you purchase a 2014 Obamacare plan.
Consumers can review health insurance options available in the current marketplace for free by using HealthPocket's health insurance comparison tool that compares quality and costs of health plans in any geographic area.
HealthPocket.com is a free website that compares and ranks all health plans available to an individual, family, or small business, so everyone can make their best health plan decision and save on their out of pocket costs. The Company uses only objective data from government, non-profit, and private sources that carry no conditions that might restrict the site from serving as an unbiased resource. The founders of HealthPocket.com spent decades pioneering online access to health insurance information and knew they could offer something different that can positively change how people buy and use healthcare in the U.S. Learn more at www.HealthPocket.com.