Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon is advising Louisiana families that the open enrollment period for coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace began November 1 and will run through December 15.
During open enrollment individuals and families who do not receive healthcare through their employers can sign up through the online Health Insurance Marketplace and purchase individual policies sold by agents and health insurance issuers.
The Health Insurance Marketplace, www.healthcare.gov, was established by the Affordable Care Act and allows consumers to compare health insurance plans based on key factors including providers, coverage and price.
Two health insurance issuers, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana and Vantage Health Plan, Inc. are offering a total of 40 individual marketplace plans for 2018. Plan availability may vary across zip codes.
Rate filings for plans on the Health Insurance Marketplace show an approximate average increase statewide of 18.5 percent in the individual market and 7.5 percent in the small group market.
“While we are seeing increases in health insurance premiums, subsidies are still available to many who purchase their plans through the marketplace,” said Commissioner Donelon. “A licensed health insurance agent can help consumers evaluate their choices and also help determine whether a policyholder is eligible to receive a subsidy to help pay their premiums.”
In 2017, 86 percent of Marketplace enrollees in Louisiana received a subsidy. The average monthly premium in Louisiana after the premium subsidies were applied was $177. Less than five percent of Louisianans have health insurance policies through the individual market.
The Louisiana Department of Insurance (LDI) offers the following tips for open enrollment:
If you do not elect coverage by December 15, you will be unable to get healthcare coverage for 2018 unless you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period due to a life change such as marriage, having a baby or losing other coverage. Coverage for plans sold during open enrollment will start January 1, 2018.
Plans can change from year to year and some plans that were available last year may no longer be available. Review your options closely to decide what plan may work out best for you. Even if you are choosing to stay with the same health plan you had last year, you should be aware that there may be changes.
Be sure to check the doctors and hospitals in a plan’s network. Check any plans you are considering for 2018 for your choice of doctors and hospitals. Coverage that does not include the hospital down the street, but does cover the hospital across town may not be the right fit for you.
To learn more, visit the Louisiana Department of Insurance webpage www.ldi.la.gov/checknetwork.
Additional resources on the LDI website include:
A searchable database of licensed insurance agents who can assist with the purchase of health insurance is available at www.ldi.la.gov/findagent.
Health insurance basics and FAQs are provided in the publication A Consumer’s Guide to Health Insurance available at www.ldi.la.gov/publications.
An online searchable database of rate filing summaries is available at www.ldi.la.gov/healthrates.
The LDI’s Consumer Advocacy staff will be attending and answering questions about health insurance and other topics during open enrollment. To view their events calendar, visit www.ldi.la.gov/events.
Posted on Fri, November 3, 2017
by The Lafourche Gazette