Saturday, October 28, 2017

2018 Under Age 65 Open Enrollment Begins On Wednesday November 1, 2017

By Coleen Elkins   24-7 Health Insurance 

Under age 65 health insurance open enrollment will begin on Wednesday November 1st 2017 and ends on December 15th 2017. This enrollment does not involve or require action for anyone on Medicare. 

The open enrollment period applies to anyone needing to change a current ACA compatible plan or who needs to enroll in an Affordable Care act compliant plan.

We encourage everyone to take the time to carefully shop and consider all their offerings for health insurance.  

We will be able to you provide you a personal needs analysis and proposals beginning on November 1st. 

Take advantage of our 23 years experience assisting our clients find the best health insurance plan that meets their personal needs. We keep our finger on the pulse of all thing legislative that will impact our clients decisions. We are licensed in 12 states to assist you. You can learn more on our website 

We promise our clients ongoing personal customer service once your policy is in place. 

We will only be presenting 2018 plans that are governed by the Department of Insurance in the state you purchase them. 

We will be offering the following options to insure your health for 2018:

  1. Affordable Care Act compliant plans outside of the exchange with private insurance companies. 

  1. Affordable Care Act compliant plans on exchange for those qualifying for a “tax credit” or a subsidy also known as premium payment assistance and possible cost sharing reductions. We will be able to determine your 2018 eligibility for a tax credit and enroll you. 

  1. Short term plans from multiple carriers in all 12 states we are licensed in that offer either a PPO or EPO nationwide network. 

  1. Small Group Plans for business owners with 2-50 employees. These plans are offered by A rated insurance carriers in all states we are licensed in. These plans have enrollment guidelines that vary by state.In some cases there can be a “group of one” enrollment.  
5.   Ancillary Plans such as dental, accident and hospital plans.                              

Some important things you should know about 2018: 

With the ACA compliant plans the rate increase of the Silver plans nationally for 2018 is 34 percent. 

Very Important: A study found In 47 of 50 cities in 2018, the cost of Obamacare's lowest-priced plan would be deemed "unaffordable" by the Affordable Care Act's own definition, according to a study from eHealth, Inc.

Under the Affordable Care Act, health insurance becomes unaffordable when the lowest-cost plan costs more than 8.16 percent of a household's gross income. Usually people who fall in this category can get an exemption from paying Obamacare's individual mandate. Your tax adviser will be able to assist you with an exemption which allows you to consider other options without a penalty. Please take 5 minutes to read the entire article here to help you understand the possibility of an exemption. 

A recent executive order signed by President Trump on October 12, 2017 allows health insurance companies to sell short term PPO/EPO plans for up to 360 days. Rather than in 90 day blocks imposed previously. Some carriers have already announced they will be implementing the enrollment changes. These plans offer a very affordable nationwide network. They do require some underwriting and do not cover pre-existing conditions. We have some very nice short term plan offerings for 2018. There are varying timelines on the offerings of these plans. 

We want our clients to be protected. If you have a grievance with your health insurance company we want you to have recourse. Therefore we are only offering plans governed by The Department of Insurance in the state you domicile. 

Plans we will not be offering for 2018:

  1. Shared Ministry Plans. Shared Ministry provide the consumer an exemption however they are not insurance plans and they are not governed by the Department Insurance which provides consumer protections. The Texas state legislature defines Shared Ministry Plans here: “Notwithstanding any other provision of this code, a health care sharing ministry that acts in accordance with this chapter is not considered to be engaging in the business of insurance”.

  1. Association Group Plans (group health insurance for 1 person). A recent executive order signed by President Trump on October 12, 2017 opened the door for the new forming of (Association Group Plans). The Department of Labor, CMS and other regulatory authorities were directed to look into regulating association plans allowing people to purchase across state lines. This will take several months to accomplish. The intent and goal is for existing “associations” to be able to provide members a viable health plan. For example purposes only…perhaps the American Diabetes Association could create a plan that insures diabetics or The Association of Realtors allowing Realtors to collectively purchase a nationwide plan. Even though you may see reference to this executive order know this has yet to take place and no new insurance company sponsored plans are being offered for this purpose. Understand the difference between an existing Association being able to pool together to purchase health insurance and an Association formed solely for the purposes of selling you health insurance! Association plans are not new they have been available since the 1980’s. Associations cropped up solely for the purpose of selling their members insurance at the highest possible profit and the lowest possible risk. They may look and feel like real health insurance. You will be asked to pay a “fee” to enroll. These plans are not direct with the insurance carrier. The plans are administered by a 3rd party which are leasing a major insurance carrier provider network. AGAIN the carrier is not administering or managing your claims. If you purchase an association plan from a state you do not domicile you may be putting yourself at risk. The reason is the only regulation of that plan is overseen by the state the plan originated in. History shows consumers have ZERO recourse with the state regulators and insurance commissioners in the states in which the plans were domiciled - because those state regulators and commissioners said it wasn't their job to regulate insurance sold to non-residents in another state. Until the Department of Labor and other Federal and State governing entities set guidelines and regulations for Association plans we will not be offering any type of Association Plan. 

Remember we purchase health insurance because we don’t know what the future holds. We encourage you to be cautious. Know your protections. If you are considering some innovative way to insure yourself do your research. Google the EXACT name of the plan (not the network) in multiple web browsers. REMEMBER: If you begin researching options and enter your name and phone number requesting more information you just gave marketing companies permission to call you. The only way you can stop the calls is to tell each individual caller to stop calling you and block their number. 

There are currently legislative hearings on solutions to the Affordable Care Act in both The House and the Senate. We are following them very closely and if anything significant arrises we will notify you immediately. 

We look forward to being of service.


Coleen Elkins,
Peace of Mind For Your Health Since 1995
Managing Agent
24-7 Health Insurance

Friday, October 13, 2017

Important News For The Under 65 Health Insurance Market

By Coleen Elkins    24-7 Health Insurance

On Thursday October 12, 2017 President Trump signed an Executive Order created to improve access, increase choices and lower the cost of healthcare. 

The Executive order provides directives to The Department of Labor, The Department of Treasury (IRS) and Health and Human Services. The Department of Labor’s secretary has been directed to consider proposing regulations or revising guidance to expand Association Health Plans (AHPs). The intent is to allow employers in the same line of business anywhere in the country to join together to offer healthcare benefits to their employees. This would be implemented to expand over time and lead to existing organizations and new ones created for the purpose of offering group health insurance. For example purposes only The Diabetes Association could work toward having a plan specifically to insure Diabetics. Associations with a common bond or purpose could choose to insure Association members to meet the needs of the members. State policy makers will have concerns that will need to be addressed as well. 

The secretaries of HHS, Treasury and Labor are to consider proposing regulations or revising guidance to expand short-term limited duration insurance. This directive would allow the agencies to revisit the rule enacted by the Obama Administration that limited the length short term plans could be purchased to three months. 

The Executive Order also opens the door to Health Reimbursement Arrangements for employer groups to assist their employees with the cost of healthcare expenses. 

The timeline is 60 days for the secretary of Labor to act within 60 days to consider proposing regulations or revising guidance on Association Plans. The Treasury, Labor and Has to act within 60 days to consider proposing regulation or revising guidance on short term plans and 120 days on Health Reimbursement Accounts. 

Within 180 days regulator agencies must report to the president on state and federal laws, regulations and policies that limit healthcare competition and choice, as well as on actions that federal and state governments could take to increase competition and choice and reduce consolidation in healthcare markets. 

On an action separate from the Executive Order the White House Confirmed Thursday that it will stop making federal payments for “cost-sharing reduction” payments to health insurers. These cost sharing reductions reduced the out of pocket costs for health care for those in certain income brackets by lowering deductibles and out of pocket expenses for them. A statement from Department of Health and Human Services confirmed the “cutoff would be immediate”. 

We have spoken to insurance companies and are told they are acting now to make changes to their systems to provide revised health insurance products and longer purchase durations ready for 2018. 

Coleen Elkins

24-7 Health Insurance