Choosing the best health insurance plan for you is no easy task. With all the different options out there, it can become confusing as you try to compare them. There are some notable differences to consider, however. Whether you get health insurance from an employer or through a healthcare exchange can make a big difference in cost. Other things like plan type and out-of-pocket costs also need to be taken into consideration. You also have medical savings accounts to look into when evaluating which health insurance plan you’ll choose. This article guides you through these important factors.
Employer-sponsored Plans vs. Marketplace Plans
If you’re like the majority of Americans, you receive health insurance through your employer. The advantage of this is that your premiums are likely subsidized. Employers often pay a sizable portion of employees’ health insurance premiums. The disadvantage of this is that your options for health insurance plans are likely limited. Employers tend to offer only a few options to choose from – sometimes just two.
If you do not have access to an employer-sponsored health insurance plan, you’ll have to purchase one on the healthcare exchange. The federal healthcare exchange is currently located at healthcare.gov. On this website, you’ll answer a variety of questions to determine your eligibility for enrollment. Currently, open enrollment only occurs during certain months of the year. You can qualify for a special enrollment period under certain circumstances – such as moving to a new state or having a baby. Some states have state-based healthcare exchanges. Visit cms.gov to see if your state is one of them. When you purchase health insurance through the government, you may be eligible for premium subsidies based on your income.
The third avenue to purchase a health insurance plan is directly from the insurer. This is also called the private exchange. If you don’t have an employer-sponsored health insurance plan and know you won’t qualify for income-based help from the government, this may be something worth looking into for the expanded options. Visit nahu.org, the official website for the National Association of Health Underwriters, to find an agent who can help you navigate the private exchange.