Comparing Health Plans: Looking at specifics of Marketplace offerings
Comparing Health Plans:
Looking at specifics of Marketplace offerings
So you’ve gone through the steps to fill out your Marketplace application, you’ve gotten your results, and now you’re actually in the Marketplace looking for plans! I’m sure you’re very excited. You’re also probably a little confused.
The confusing thing about this whole process, is that you’re probably inclined to choose the least expensive option… but you might not be able to discern what the least expensive option is!
That’s because you can look at two different factors: the premium and the deductible. The premium is just the price per month you’ll have to pay, and the deductible is the price that you will have to pay for services before your insurance starts paying for services. (This is all pretty basic, and you probably don’t need the explanation, but you never know!)
Catastrophic plans are going to be those with the lowest premium. Sometimes their premium will be $100 less than the next cheapest plan! Sounds pretty good, right?
Well, not necessarily. The thing with Catastrophic Plans is that their low premium is accompanied by a very high deductible. This isn’t inherently a bad thing.
A Catastrophic Plan would be right for you if you have no history of hospitalization, no health issues, (typically) are young, and are strapped for cash.
Really, if you have the option to get something with a lower deductible than a Catastrophic Plan will offer, take that option.
Bronze, Silver, Gold
Plans on the Marketplace that will be better options than a Catastrophic Plan are typically categorized into the following sections: Bronze, Silver, and Gold.
As you can probably guess, of these plans, Bronze is going to be a step above Catastrophic, Silver a step above Bronze, and Gold a step above Silver.
Though it probably seems that you will want to choose a Gold Plan if you can afford it, it might not be necessary. Think carefully about what kind of coverage best suits your needs.
If you don’t anticipate needing extensive healthcare, the allure of a low deductible might not save you money in the long run. If you’re not going to need more than the deductible covered, the high premium could not be worth it.
Not All Plans Are Made Equal
There might be several of the same type of plan in your Marketplace, so it’s important to carefully compare each option. You Marketplace webpage likely has a “compare” option which will help you greatly in, well, comparing specifics of each plan.
Also keep in mind who is providing your plan. Do you have a primary physician? If you frequent Hospital A, but their Bronze Plan is slightly more expensive than Hospital B’s Bronze Plan, it might be worth that extra money every month to retain access to a doctor you’ve worked with before, who knows your personal history.
Basically, the point is pay attention and weigh all your options. There are so many plans to choose from, and sometimes it’s hard to know how they differ. Figure out if you need a lower premium, lower deductible, etc.
A blog post in no way can tell you which plan to pick, but I hope that I’ve inspired you to ask yourself some simple questions regarding your needs. And as always, if you’re confused about terms or specifications, there are always resources. Whether you want to speak to someone in-person that can help you (like Carlos at CRC Capital Group, Inc…. in my experience, calling the Marketplace hotline isn’t very helpful regarding specifics) or you want to comb through online or print articles, just know that there is information out there if you take the time to find it!
Good luck in the Marketplace, and happy Open Enrollment!