By Coleen Elkins 24-7 Health Insurance
Some of you may be feeling frustrated and confused by the upcoming changes in health insurance for 2017. Many people are going to get blindsided because they have not been paying attention at all.
Remember you are mandated by the Federal Government to purchase health insurance regardless of the options made available to you.
In some counties in various states there will be zero or one option for people under age 65 to insure themselves for 2017. What does that mean for most Americans?
The Federal Government is suggesting they will automatically move you to a plan of their choosing.
A few legislators are feverishly trying to write law to remove the mandate to purchase health insurance because of the flood of carriers leaving the market. This would open the market for consumers to enroll in plans such as short term plans (that do not meet the requirements of the law) without paying a penalty.
How will you be impacted for 2017?
1. Prepare to wait weeks to see a doctor and have a limit set on the time the doctor will spend with you. If you need a procedure if it is non-life threatening you could wait months.
2. You may very well lose your doctor. Doctors are not required to contract with any insurance company and within their contracts they can pick the network plans they want to contract. For example if your doctor is contracted with ABC insurance company they are not forced to contract with the network that insures individuals. They can choose to only see those with employer sponsored benefits.
3. Networks are narrowing and you may have zero benefits outside your service area.
4. Out of pocket maximums are increasing to $7300 per person in 2017 $14600 per family.
Sadly in many situations agents we may not be able to assist consumers at health insurance companies have cancelled agent contracts. Some are refusing to pay agents for the services they have provided consumer for years. However they will allow the agent to work uncompensated and enroll consumers. There are 100,000 health insurance agents in the United States impacted by this change. Some will be leaving the under age 65 market and some will be charging a consultation for to provide guidance and customer service to their clients moving forward.
Agents will not be able to share benefits or rates with you until on OR after November 1st. We can not provide you any specifics of availability because they have not been released by the Federal Government.
Lastly: Buyer beware. There are companies cropping up and engaging in unethical practices praying on consumer fear. You may find yourself enrolled in a plan that does not meet the requirements of the law and be forced to pay a penalty on top of your premiums if the carrier can not issue you a 1095 tax form. People selling these products may not be fully disclosing this to their prospects.
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