Job losses, resignations and early retirements triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic have put many people in the position of shopping for insurance from the individual marketplace, perhaps for the first time.
In New Mexico, an estimated 191,200 adults younger than age 65 are uninsured, with more than a third of them qualifying for free or reduced-cost insurance premiums through marketplace coverage, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.
The outreach team at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Mexico (BCBSNM) is dedicated to educating consumers and the community about their options during open enrollment. The team’s specialists recommend keeping some important factors in mind.
The open enrollment window is open
It’s time to start comparing plans. Consumers have until Jan. 15, 2022, to select BeWellnm coverage.
There’s a good chance you qualify for a subsidy
Nationally, an estimated 12 million uninsured people are eligible to buy coverage through the marketplace. With expanded subsidies under the 2021 American Rescue Act, most will qualify for free or reduced-cost monthly premiums, the Kaiser Family Foundation found.
Nationwide, at least 6 million uninsured people could get a $0 premium marketplace plan. And, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 4 out of 5 people can find a plan costing no more than $10 a month.
Even people with incomes between 400% and 600% of the federal poverty level, who previously earned too much to qualify for subsidies, (up to $76,560 for a single person or $157,200 for a family of four) could save an average of $213 per month.
There’s more to health care costs than premiums
“Signing up for a health insurance plan is an important decision, and we want to make sure that people understand their options so they can choose the coverage that is right for them,” says Amy Fisher, a BCBSNM community outreach specialist. “That’s why it’s so important that we’re out in our communities throughout the state to answer questions about open enrollment and health care benefits. We’re here to help.”
Think about your provider network
There’s also more to a plan than its price tag. All plans don’t include the same doctors, clinics and hospitals. Do you like your doctors? Do you or your kids require ongoing medical care? Look for a plan that includes the doctors and hospitals you want in its provider network.
Accurately report your income
It makes sense people want to qualify for the lowest-possible premiums. But the Internal Revenue Service will expect them to make up the difference if they earn more than they claim when buying insurance.
Auto re-enrollment isn’t always a good idea
Current marketplace members should take a fresh look at their plans and options before automatically re-enrolling, the team says. It’s important to check for changes in the provider network, drug coverage and premiums.