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Short-Term Coverage: What is it, and how do I enroll?

 

by Brooke Jarchow

If you miss Open Enrollment and do not qualify for a Special Enrollment Period, you still have coverage options. Short-term insurance plans allow you to fill in coverage gaps until the next Open Enrollment Period.  While short-term plan details differ from major medical plans, short-term insurance can still give you health care protection you need.

What is short-term health insurance?

Short-term coverage is a great temporary option to save you money until Open Enrollment begins and you can enroll in a major medical plan. Short-term coverage is available for one to 12 months depending on your insurer and state. You can enroll in short-term health insurance at anytime, regardless of Open Enrollment Periods.

How does short-term health Insurance differ from major medical insurance?

Unlike major medical insurance, short-term plans do not cover pre-existing conditions and have limitations on which doctors you can see, preventive care benefits, and financial assistance. Additionally, even if you have a short-term plan, you will not be exempt from paying the tax penalty for going uninsured.

While a short-term plan may not offer all of the same types of coverage as major medical plans, it is  important that you have some type of health coverage. Without health insurance, an annual physical could cost up to $200. Also, if you should need to go to the hospital, you will likely pay thousands of dollars more if you are uninsured.

How can I enroll in short-term coverage?

Call 888-322-7557 to speak with a licensed agent, who can help you decide what type of coverage is best for you. If that type of coverage is short-term, they can also help enroll you in a plan.

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Getting health coverage outside of Open Enrollment

by Brooke Jarchow

If you missed the deadline to purchase health coverage, you may be eligible to find a plan outside of Open Enrollment depending on your situation. If you experience a Qualifying Life Event, you may qualify for a Special Enrollment Period (SEP), which means you have 60 days from the time of the life event to sign up for coverage. Below, we categorize the different Qualifying Life Events that could get you health insurance outside of Open Enrollment.

Changes in residence

  • Moving to a different ZIP code or county
  • Moving to or from a shelter home
  • Students moving to or from where they attend school
  • Seasonal workers moving to or from where they both live and work

Changes in household

  • Getting married
  • Having a baby
  • Adopting a child
  • Having a child placed with you for foster care

Loss of health coverage

  • Due to a death of someone on your Marketplace plan
  • Getting divorced or legally separated
  • Turning 26 and losing coverage through a parent’s plan
  • Losing eligibility for Medicare, Medicaid, or CHIP
  • Losing job-based coverage, individual coverage, or student plans

Other

  • Being released from incarceration
  • Becoming a U.S. citizen

 

If you qualify for any of the Qualifying Life Events listed above, or if you think you might be eligible in the future, visit GoHealth.com for more information or call (888) 322-7557 to speak with an agent who can help you get the coverage you need.

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Finding health coverage after early retirement

by Brooke Jarchow

Retirement is supposed to be one of the most relaxing times of your life, but it’s not without its challenges, especially if you retire early. One of the biggest obstacles when retiring before age 65 is finding affordable health insurance. It can be expensive and time consuming to find the coverage you need when you are suddenly without employer-sponsored coverage.

Did you know that retiring early or quitting your job is considered a Qualifying Life Event, which allows you to enroll in coverage outside of Open Enrollment? You will likely have 60 days from retirement to get new health insurance.

While there are other options such as COBRA coverage, enrolling in individual health insurance can be more affordable, since COBRA coverage usually requires individuals to pay their entire monthly premium, plus a two percent administration fee.

Are you retiring before age 65 or losing job-based coverage? GoHealth licensed insurance agents can help determine your eligibility for a Special Enrollment Period and help you find a health plan that fits your needs.

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How an Obamacare repeal could affect employer-based coverage

by Brooke Jarchow

Two weeks ago, Republicans unveiled their first draft of a replacement plan for the Affordable Care Act, called American Health Care Act.  While there is still no confirmation of how much the replacement plan could cost, its proposed changes could leave millions without health insurance. Those who get health insurance through the open market – accounting for 7 percent of the U.S. population – aren’t the only ones who could be impacted by the new law. Below, we take a look at what the proposed plan could mean for those with health insurance through their employer.

Under the Affordable Care Act, employers with 50 or more full-time workers are required to provide health insurance to those employees. A Kaiser Family Foundation report found that 49 percent of Americans received health insurance through their employers in 2015. However, under the proposed replacement plan, large employers would no longer be required to offer health insurance to their employees.

Under the Affordable Care Act, large employers would face a fine for not offering coverage to their employees; under the American Health Care Act, these same employers would face no such fine. Eliminating this requirement could cause as many as 20 million people to lose their employer-sponsored coverage.

While the American Health Care Act is not yet approved,  it’s clear that Americans who receive coverage through their employers shouldn’t consider themselves exempt from these changes. As details of the American Health Care Act emerge, we will continue to provide updates and education on our blog.

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How would the American Health Care Act be different from Obamacare?

by Lauren Mandel

After months of anticipation, Republicans finally released their proposed replacement for the Affordable Care Act last night, something they’re officially calling the American Health Care Act.

But how exactly does the new American Health Care Act differ from the Affordable Care Act? We’re outlining a few key facts you should know about this new bill and what you can still expect to learn in the near future.

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The individual mandate would be gone, but the provision protecting individuals with pre-existing conditions would be here to stay. This means Americans – especially Americans who don’t want or can’t afford health care – may be less likely to obtain coverage. However, if you have a pre-existing condition, like cancer or diabetes, insurers still will not be able to deny you coverage or charge you more for your plan. Another provision that’s staying put? Allowing children to stay on their parent’s plan until age 26.

You could still be penalized for certain behavior concerning your coverage. While you wouldn’t be able to be fined for not having coverage, you would face a fine if you tried to re-enter to market after not maintaining continuous coverage. It’s a different approach than the one taken under the Affordable Care Act, but Republicans are hoping this will still motivate Americans to get health insurance.

Tax credits as we know them would no longer exist. Under the Affordable Care Act, tax credits are based on household income, among other factors. However, under the newly-proposed American Health Care Act, tax credits would be age-based.

Older Americans could be charged more for their coverage. In the past, Obamacare restricted insurers from charging older individuals more for their coverage. But the new bill that Republicans proposed last night would allow insurers to charge older Americans up to five times as much as they would charge younger people for health coverage.

Planned Parenthood would be defunded. In the past, we’ve discussed the potential effects an Obamacare replacement plan could have on women’s health care, and this is one of the most significant ways a bill like the American Health Care Act could change access to care for millions of women.

An Obamacare replacement may have finally been presented, but it’s far from approved. In addition to Democratic opposition, the bill is likely to face opposition from some Republicans, who think more needs to be done to replace Obamacare.

And when it comes to a replacement plan, one of the most important questions still remains unanswered: When it comes to the nearly 20 million Americans who could lose coverage without Obamacare, would they all have the opportunity to regain it under a bill like the American Health Care Act?

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How to use your Obamacare plan

by Brooke Jarchow

Now that you have health insurance, you should be able to access the coverage you need when you need it. Even if you don’t need to see a doctor today, it’s important to activate your coverage so you can take advantage of its benefits in the future. There are many ways to take advantage of your health care benefits to save money and stay healthy. Below, we outline the steps you can follow to use your plan. pexels-photo-160096

Pay your monthly premium

Have you paid your premium? To activate your health insurance, you must pay your first month’s premium to your insurance provider. Delaying this step might delay your coverage. Additionally, add a friendly reminder to pay your premiums monthly so that you stay covered. It’s good practice to follow up with your insurance provider to make sure they received your payment in time.

Make an appointment

Do you only visit the doctor when you are sick? With health insurance, it’s a good idea to make routine visits to your doctor for a check-up even if you feel healthy. Many times, diseases like cancer and diabetes that may not show symptoms are discovered in the early stages during annual check-ups.  Taking preventive measures such as annual check-ups could save your life.

With health insurance, you can find a primary care doctor who you can see regularly whether you’re sick or not.  To find a provider, check your plan’s provider network online or by contacting the insurance company’s member services office.

Fill your prescriptions

Have you shied away from prescription medications due to their expensive costs? With health coverage, prescription medications are covered as part of the 10 Essential Health Benefits of the Affordable Care Act. Prescription medications can help cure illnesses that may not go away or get better without treatment. Go ahead, fill those prescriptions!

It’s important to remember that your health insurance is a great tool for you to access better health care and cost-saving benefits. You can get started today by paying your premium and making your first appointment with your doctor.

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Top unanswered questions regarding an Obamacare repeal

by Brooke Jarchow

Uncertainty continues to linger over the Trump administration’s notion to repeal and replace Obamacare. President Trump, newly-confirmed health secretary Tom Price, and others are still divided when it comes to how to pay for a replacement plan, how much of Obamacare to repeal, and other important details. It’s clear that before moving forward with a plan, the administration will need to address many unanswered questions, and we’re shining a light on 4 of them below.

How would a replacement plan be funded?

Currently, over $100 billion a year is spent on health care costs under the Affordable Care Act. To help pay for these costs, various taxes were included as provisions of the health law.

The new administration has backed getting rid of these taxes and fees, but  how would a replacement plan fund the same health care costs? If the administration is unable to come up with a way to finance a replacement health care law, people could either lose coverage or have to pay much greater costs.

How would the individual insurance markets change?

Obamacare regulates how much insurers can charge and what benefits they must provide, like covering contraceptives and maternity care. A key to Obamacare is ensuring that healthy people – not just the sick – pay for coverage, which balances out the market.

President Trump’s administration plans to allow insurers flexibility to sell different types of insurance and charge different rates. However, it is uncertain how the new plan would make sure sick people aren’t charged high rates or denied coverage, as well as how to ensure young people get coverage.

What could happen to Medicaid expansion?

Medicaid expansion under President Obama insured millions of people by allowing those making up to 138 percent of the federal poverty line to be eligible for Medicaid. During this time, 31 states opted in for the Medicaid expansion.

If the current administration repeals Obamacare, they could take away health coverage for over 10 million people who gained it through the Medicaid expansion alone.

What is the ultimate goal of President Trump’s “repeal and replace?”

Republicans have openly criticized Obamacare for years and have vowed to cut taxes, regulations, and government spending by repealing and replacing the law. President Trump has stated he wants his replacement plan to “have insurance for everybody,” including those who can’t afford it. However, there is a difference in providing insurance to everyone and providing access to insurance, since access to health insurance doesn’t guarantee the ability to pay for coverage if costs are higher.

So far, a replacement plan is not finalized and Obamacare has yet to be repealed.  GoHealth will continue to provide policy updates as they are made.

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The majority of physicians support the Affordable Care Act

by Brooke Jarchow

With over 20 million people at risk to lose health insurance coverage should the Affordable Care Act be repealed by the Trump administration, we turn to primary care physicians to hear their views on the Affordable Care Act and the potential repeal of the law. The views of primary care physicians are important to consider as they are usually the first point of care for sick individuals and those with health care needs. Below, information from a Penn Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics study reveals what physicians think about the law and the future of health care.

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How the recent Humana news could affect your Obamacare coverage

by Lauren Mandel

Over the past few months, there have been quite a few announcements concerning the future of Obamacare. Yesterday, there was yet another one: Humana announced that it will no longer offer individual health coverage under the Affordable Care Act starting in 2018. If you saw this news, you may be wondering what this information means for you, your family, and your health coverage. If you’re enrolled in a Humana plan through the marketplace, will you lose coverage? When will you need to find a new plan?

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The short answer: don’t panic and remember that GoHealth is here to help you through any future transitions. But we also wanted to share a longer answer with you. Below is more information about this particular Humana announcement, as well as answers to other questions you might have right now.

When will Humana officially stop selling health insurance plans under the Affordable Care Act?

In many of the articles you may be reading about this topic, you’re probably seeing that Humana will stop offering coverage “starting in 2018.” So if you have a Humana plan now, does this mean you won’t have to look for a new plan until 2018 begins? Not exactly. The next Open Enrollment Period would likely start on November 1 of this year, 2017.  So, basically, you should start considering other options in 2017, when Open Enrollment begins, so that you have new coverage starting in 2018.

If I’m enrolled in a Humana plan now, will I lose my coverage soon?

If you are currently enrolled in a Humana plan through the marketplace, do not panic; your coverage will not be canceled or revoked for this year. However, you may want to begin thinking about other options for next year. Since Humana will not be offering plans during the next Open Enrollment Period, you will have to shop for a new plan from a new provider in order to secure 2018 coverage.

Now that Humana plans will not be available in 2018, will I have other coverage options?

When you enroll through GoHealth, we’re always here to offer you different options and help you find the best plan available. While Humana may not be offering plans for 2018, we will be able to help connect you with other plans from other top providers once Open Enrollment begins in the fall.

Have other questions? We’re happy to help. Please comment below or call 888-322-7557.

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Activate your health coverage by paying your premium

by Brooke Jarchow

If you enrolled in health insurance for 2017, make sure to pay your monthly premium in order to activate your coverage for the year.

A premium is a payment to your health insurance provider that is typically charged on a monthly basis. These payments keep your coverage active, similar to paying your electric bill in order to keep your lights on. If you don’t pay your electric bill, you might lose power; if you don’t pay your health insurance premium, your provider may delay or cancel your health coverage plan.

Once you pay your first month’s premium on time, your health insurance coverage will activate. Then, as long as you pay your following premiums on time, your coverage will continue.

Keep in mind that even if you enrolled in an insurance plan through GoHealth.com, your premium payments need to be sent directly to your provider. Your provider likely sent instructions for how and when to make your premium payments, so reach out to your provider if you have any questions on paying your first premium.

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