First of all, don’t panic. Many of the health insurance carriers have recently announced that they will no longer be offering policies on the Marketplace in 2017. That’s ok because only about 1/3 of our clients even have a Marketplace plan. Just about all of the carriers will be offering just as many options off the Marketplace; also called “Off-Exchange”.
Odds are that if you purchased your plan on the Marketplace, also known as the, Federal Exchange, you are currently receiving a federal subsidy to help pay some of your monthly premium. If your carrier decides to discontinue Marketplace plans for 2017, you have numerous options.
Here are 4 options which you should consider:
Just switch carriers: Just because your current carrier won’t be offering an option doesn’t mean that you won’t have numerous “on exchange” choices for 2017. Per the ACA, each county must offer at least one exchange policy in each State, period.
Purchase a temporary policy: Texas has numerous carriers that offer temporary health insurance at a fraction of the cost of an ACA plan. This will far and away be the least expensive option (not including the IRS penalty, if any). Just realize that they don’t cover pre-existing conditions (if you don’t have any, who cares!), preventive care, maternity and are not ACA compliant. The last point could be the most important as you will be subject t the 2.5% IRS penalty of your MAGI (modified household adjusted gross income). Now if you are being subsidized by the government, odds are that your income is on the lower end and your penalty would be very low.
Purchase a Christian health plan: Technically not an insurance policy, these can provide solid advantages. The plan will pool all premiums received and medical pay claims from those monies. Rates for these plans are normally a fraction of a non-subsidized, ACA compliant health insurance policy. The main a advantage is that the plans fall under a religious exemption from the ACA law and anyone who purchases one is exempt from paying the IRS penalty which is also known as the Individual Shared Responsibility penalty.
Form a small group policy: If you own your own business, and run it through an entity such as an LLC, Partnership, Sub S or C corporation, you can form a small group plan. As of late, we have been converting many family businesses to small group employer plans. They can be slightly more expensive than an ACA compliant family policy, but the coverage benefits are far richer with the main advantage of re-gaining access to the group PPO networks. You know, the ones that actually contain your doctors and hospitals and the ones where you don’t need a referral. In a time of crisis, that can be a huge advantage and time saver. Another benefit of this option is that there is no open enrollment period. You can form a small group plan anytime throughout the year and can also switch carriers anytime during the year.
No matter what your Texas health insurance carrier does in 2017, you’ll have plenty of options. Just reach out to us at www.selectedbenefits.com or call us at 866270.6209. We’ve been offering quality health, life and supplemental insurance to Texans since 2002 and have no plans to stop.