There is still time to get insurance!
By Cathy Hulbert, LCSW
If you are uninsured and worried about medical bills, take heart. The current open enrollment period continues until February 15, 2015. That means there is still time for you to contact your Hemophilia of Georgia social worker if you have questions about your options for coverage.
HoG social workers will emphasize the importance of getting coverage that meets your bleeding disorder needs. But they realize that you might have other health concerns that also need to be taken into consideration. Before you pick a plan, it is important to ask all of your health care providers which insurance plans they accept. That is crucial in choosing the plan that is right for you.
If you prefer to investigate on your own, you can go directly to the http://www.healthcare.gov/ website to research your options for individual or family plans. This helps you discover whether you qualify for discounts. If you want to shop away from this site, you can contact an insurance broker. Another option would be to directly phone insurance companies. You can get their numbers on the internet.
If you visit the http://www.healthcare.gov/ site, you will be asked financial questions to help you find out whether you qualify for income-based discounts. So have your income information available if you think you might qualify for reduced rates. Once that question has been answered, the site then directs you to a list of insurance providers so that you can comparison shop online for an insurance plan. Or, you can just skip the financial questions and shop.
Here are some things to consider:
- Many people are amazed at how “user-friendly” the http://www.healthcare.gov/ website has become. But insurance is complicated. Don’t hesitate to ask for help.
- If you choose to go to this website, you do not have to complete the application online. You can go through the entire process on the phone with a healthcare.gov representative. As a rule, they are very helpful. The phone number is 1-800-318-2596; however, it is still best to go on the website first, if you can. Many of your questions can be answered before you call. You can even shop for plans and look at prices before you apply.
- Remember that the cheapest monthly premiums do not always save you money. For instance, the less expensive monthly plans have bigger deductibles, just like car insurance. That will work just fine for some people and not for others. If you go through the marketplace website you can look at Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum plans and compare costs.
- Picking a plan is only part of the process. Getting those payments in before deadlines is the other piece of the puzzle. If you have a bleeding disorder and worry that you can’t afford an insurance plan, please call your HoG social worker to discuss.
- If you think your family might be eligible for Medicaid, the healthcare.gov website also addresses this issue. Remember, it’s better to ask too many questions than not enough.