The first-half of open enrollment at the new state health insurance exchanges is long past… and the participation from the younger crowd? It wasn’t very good.

Recently, the October 1st through December 31st enrollment numbers have been announced by the exchanges. Only about one quarter (or 25%) of those who enrolled were between the ages of 18 and 34. This fell far short of the 40% that certain experts had originally forecast.

There are a number of different reasons this younger group (ages 18-34) is so important. Here are a few of them:

  • It’s presumed they are healthier and less-costly to insurers.
  • If insurers end up with a more expensive group of policyholders, rates could go up.

In the weeks to come, be prepared to see advertising geared towards those in this younger demographic. Many of the exchanges are beginning to reach-out to this portion of the population, to help them find and enroll in affordable coverage.

Here are some good reasons to take a good look at health insurance right now if you’re in the age 18-34 category:

  1. The affordable subsidized rates could amaze you. If you qualify for a subsidy at the exchange (ie: if you make between about $16,000 to $44,000 per year individually) you may see some outstanding premiums. We’re talking under $100 per month in certain cases for a good plan (contact us and ask about details).
  2. In general, plans are usually less expensive for the 18-34 crowd. You may be surprised by the cost of a health insurance policy if you’re younger. If you’ve never “shopped” for health insurance, take a good look at what’s available to you.
  3. Accidents can happen. Ages 18-34 are active years. Many of you are biking, hiking, working out, surfing, skiing, jogging, playing sports, travelling, etc. With all of this activity, accidents can happen. Make sure that you have coverage in place that can help you avoid costly hospital bills.
  4. Women: these are child-bearing years. Maternity coverage is now mandated in all health insurance plans. Look for a policy that will cover you in the event that you need it.
  5. Avoid the tax penalty. Even if you are younger, you will still have to pay the tax penalty if you decide not to get health insurance. This penalty is $95 or 1% of income the first year (whichever is greater). Read more about the tax penalties here.

So, even though health insurance may not have always been at the “front of your plate”… as you can see, there are some important reasons for those in the 18-34 category to get covered.

If you have any questions, or need any help sorting it all out… contact us at Policy Advantage Insurance Services any time. We are Covered California Certified, and can help you with plans on (or off) the exchange. Take a look at all of your options, and find a plan that fits your individual needs.

Thanks for stopping by, we hope our information was valuable to you. Check back at our blog to get further information about funding healthcare. Also, please share with your friends, clients, colleagues, and family. Here are a few of our other information outlets:

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Recently, many who have applied for a January 1st, 2014 plan start at the new state health insurance exchange have learned that it’s taking some time for the insurance companies to process your plan. This is currently a common occurrence, as they continue to sort through 10’s of thousands of new applications (literally). Our advice right now: be patient.

Although you may not have received your plan documents and your member ID card yet, if you sent in your “binding payment” on time, you should be retroactively covered:

  • In California, the “binding payment” is due (in-hand at the insurance company) by January 15th, 2014. This may vary from state-to-state and insurance company to insurance company, so make sure to check.
  • “Retroactively covered” means that if you incur medical charges before your plan is processed (and as long as your “binding payment” was received on-time), you will be retroactively reimbursed for covered charges.

Be assured that the insurance companies are doing everything that they can to take care of your policy as quickly as possible. You’ll see across Twitter that they’re actively communicating with their new members. Here are some Tweet examples of what we’ve seen to customers:

Blue Shield of California, 1/9/2014:

We’ve extended customer service hours to meet the higher demand and tripled online bandwidth to make payments. Thanks for hanging in there.

Health Net, 1/6/2014:

@justex07: You should get your ID card in approx. 5 business days, but you can go to the doctor before then and file a claim after if needed.

Anthem Blue Cross of California, 1/11/2014:

@mobilefilmclass: Also, we hired 100s of new cust service folks for 1/1, cancelled vacays & pulled 100s other people from other jobs to help.

So although you may have waited on hold for hours, or no one is returning your email inquiries, or you’re just frustrated in general because you haven’t received your packet or ID card yet… stay patient. They’re working diligently to take care of your policy.

Thanks for stopping by, we hope you found our information to be valuable. Check back at our blog to get further information about funding healthcare. Also, please share with your friends, clients, colleagues, and family. Here are a few of our other information outlets:

Home Page: http://www.PolicyAdvantage.com

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/PolicyAdvantage

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/PolicyAdvantage

YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/PolicyAdvantage

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/PolicyAdvantage

Word Press: http://www.policyadvantage.wordpress.com

There are some important new dates coming up with regard to individual and family plan health insurance open enrollment. These dates apply to plans both inside and outside of the new state health insurance exchanges.

Before we move further with this blog post, we need to explain a fairly simple concept: the ways in which health insurance is typically purchased. Generally speaking, there are two predominant ways to purchase health insurance:

  1. Group Health Insurance: purchased through and employer, union, association, or other group.
  2. Individual & Family Health Insurance: purchased individually, outside of a group… on your own.

Now that we know how health insurance is usually purchased, it’s important to understand that many more people are applying for individual health insurance plans this year. There are a few different reasons for this, but here are the big ones:

  • It’s now easier to shop for health insurance on the individual market (ie: no more preexisting conditions).
  • Many people are qualifying for federal assistance to help offset the costs of their health insurance premiums (via the new state health insurance exchanges).

Due to the changes listed above, there are new rules governing enrollment in individual and family (IFP) plans. In the past, you could apply for an individual (or family) insurance policy at anytime throughout the year. Starting in 2014, you can’t. In other words: you can now only apply for individual and family insurance coverage at certain times during the year.

Why? Because insurance companies can no longer deny people access to coverage for having a preexisting condition. The ACA (Affordable Care Act, ie: Obamacare) does not want people applying for coverage throughout the year after they get sick or hurt. 

As you know, 2014 is the first year of the implementation of healthcare reform’s major provisions. For this reason, there are extended dates for individual and family plan open enrollment. Here are the important dates to remember this year (for plans both inside and outside of the state health insurance exchange):

  • Enrollment for coverage starting January 1st, 2014: October 1st, 2013 to December 15th, 2013.
  • Enrollment for coverage starting February 1st, 2014: December 16th, 2013 to January 15th, 2014.
  • Enrollment for coverage starting March 1st, 2014: January 16th, 2014 to February 15th, 2014.
  • Enrollment for coverage starting April 1st, 2014: February 16th, 2014 to March 15th, 2014.
  • Enrollment for coverage starting May 1st, 2014: March 16th, 2014 to March 31st, 2014.

As mentioned, we’re in an extended enrollment this year. But in a typical year, here are the individual and family plan (IFP) open enrollment dates (both inside and outside of the health insurance exchanges):

  • Future Years (after 2014): October 15th to December 7th.

Policy Advantage Insurance Services is “Covered California Certified” and can assist you with your enrollment at the new exchange. If you have questions, or need assistance please contact us anytime (info@policyadvantage.com).

Thanks for stopping by, we hope you found our information to be valuable. Check back at our blog to get further information about funding healthcare. Also, please share with your friends, clients, colleagues, and family. Here are a few of our other information outlets:

Home Page: http://www.PolicyAdvantage.com

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/PolicyAdvantage

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/PolicyAdvantage

YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/PolicyAdvantage

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/PolicyAdvantage

Word Press: http://www.policyadvantage.wordpress.com