The Affordable Care Act’s federal marketplace opens today for Nebraskans who need to buy health insurance.
If you buy insurance through the federal marketplace, you have until Dec. 15, 2016, to guarantee you will have coverage on Jan. 1, 2017.
Martin Swanson, Nebraska Department of Insurance health policy division director, says you do not want to put off making a decision.
This is especially important for the roughly 36,000 Blue Cross Blue Shield and United Healthcare customers who will not have those companies as options next year.
“If people do not do anything, the federal government will put those individuals into a plan of their choosing, not yours,” Swanson says. “You need to be signing up as soon as possible during open enrollment.”
Medica and Aetna are the only two providers Nebraskans can choose and still receive the federal tax credits. Individuals and families making up to 400 percent of the federal poverty level can qualify for the subsidies.
“The federal government does not consider anything but metal level, meaning Gold, Silver, or Bronze type of plans and premium costs. They don’t care about your networks. They don’t care about your doctors or anything like that,” Swanson says. “You need to be active in your open enrollment process – very, very active. We cannot emphasize that enough.”
The open enrollment period for new participants runs through January 31, 2017.
“It’s not always about the premium costs, because there are issues with regard to who’s in my network and who is my doctor, my hospital? Are they still there,” Swanson says. “We encourage people to talk to the professionals and the navigators to talk about what suits my needs for individual health insurance.”
While Blue Cross Blue Shield of Nebraska is no longer selling in the federal marketplace, the company offers coverage off the exchange as do several other insurance providers.
Nebraskans can search for specific plans, both on and off of the exchange, HERE. Results give you the true cost of the insurance prior to subsidies for your specific area.