ATLANTA – The Health Insurance Marketplace is turning 10 this year, and the Open Enrollment period for coverage beginning January 1, 2023 is now underway.
If you’re shopping for health insurance on HealthCare.gov, you may find a few more options and more ways to save in next year.
Georgia has six health insurance companies offering Affordable Care Act plans in 2023.
Rural counties will now have three or four providers, usually offering an average of 10 plans each.
Roberto Gutierrez, a health insurance navigator with the Georgia Association for Primary Health Care (GAPHC), says their navigators can help you sort through your options.
If you call the GAPHC at 1-844-442-7421, Gutierrez says, they can connect you with a navigator in your area.
When you are comparing plans, he says, think about your priorities: the prescriptions you rely on, the doctors you want to keep seeing, the hospital in your community.
You want to choose a plan that is a good match for your needs.
“Make sure that the insurance plan that you are purchasing actually covers your medication and the treatment that you may be considering,” Gutierrez says. “Medication is a big one because formularies tend to change from insurance to insurance.”
This year, more Americans may qualify for help covering the cost of their monthly health insurance premiums, including people in the middle and upper income brackets.
JoAnn Volk, a research professor at Georgetown University Center on Health Insurance Reforms, says you may qualify for tax credits, or subsidies, that can significantly lower the cost of your monthly premiums, based on your income and household size.
When you enroll in the Health Insurance Marketplace, or HealthCare.gov, the Marketplace will determine if you are eligible for an advance premium tax credit.
If you are, the IRS will send advance payments to your insurance company on your behalf, offsetting some of the cost of your monthly premium.
Volk says the savings can be significant.
“So, you know, a family of 4 with income between about $20,000 and $40,000 a year can qualify for a plan with $0 premium,” she explains. “And, four out of five people shopping will be able to get a plan for just $10 a month, after taking into account those additional subsidies for premiums.”
You may also qualify for cost-sharing reductions, which can lower your co-pays for care, your deductible, or the amount you pay before your insurance kicks in, and your out-of-pocket expenses.
So, Volk says, shop around and compare your options for 2023, because this year’s plan may not be a good fit for next year.
“It’s important to pay attention to the changes that do happen year to year,” Volk says. “Your provider’s network may change, the cost may change. Don’t assume it’s going to be the same and still work for you.”