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Looking for a new health plan mid-year in 2019? Choosing a plan during open enrollment is difficult enough, but finding your best health insurance policy during another part of the year can be even more challenging. This is exactly the situation where the assistance of a professional health insurance agent is indispensable.
Given the complexity of today's health insurance market, the numerous special rules that apply to special enrollment and short-term plans, and the unexpected variations among states on these matters, it makes sense to let a health insurance agent act as your "eyes" - for they can see things those less familiar with the market never would.
Your Agent Can Alert You To Special Enrollment Rules
If you have given birth to a child, adopted a child, just moved in-state, or recently lost your work-based health insurance policy, you will qualify for a special enrollment period. Under COBRA, federal law requires that your work-related insurance continues for a certain amount of time after you lose your job. This is meant to give you time to both find a new job and find new insurance.
Those are the basic rules, but be aware that the exact rules vary from state to state and can change from year to year. For example, how long you have on your old insurance under COBRA may vary or whether a short-term plan can be purchased for up to 3 months, 6 months, a year, 3 years, or at all also varies state by state.
And when federal and state regulations change, you may not be aware of it. Some of it is in and out of the news in a flash and easy to miss; other times, it's not in the main news networks at all. But insurance agents have their eyes on these seemingly minor changes as soon as they come up and will relay to you all the relevant information.
Your Health Insurance Agent Will Help You See The Big Picture
Another trap people fall into, both in open and special enrollment, is to focus too much on one or two factors and miss the big picture of how a policy is actually going to work. Agents can break it down to you in detail, step by step, and then give you a real-life scenario that closely approximates your situation, so you can see how much you will really save or pay under each policy option.
Many people just look at the premium, but they forget that there may be other fees, copays, and coinsurance - besides the deductible. You should consider the total package, not just one component. You can find no-deductible or low-deductible policies with high premiums or high-deductible ones with low premium payments. Or, you can find a happy compromise. But even then, you can't forget about other factors, like the maximum out of pocket limit, that will play a huge role in determining how much you pay in the event of a major accident or illness.
Also, be aware that some policies for families have different limits for individuals versus for the whole family. And some policies have maximum annual or lifetime payouts or may require you to track your own medical expenses and inform the company when you reach your deductible limit.
These kinds of details can be significant but are often overlooked by those who don't know how to "read the fine print." To talk to an expert health insurance agent who can walk you through the process, feel free to contact Summerlin Benefits Consulting today!