The new plan year is not until January 2019, but even though it seems far away, we are already starting to hear buzz about open enrollment. There is a lot of talk about changes with the Affordable Care Act, sometimes referred to as “Obamacare” and rate changes with certain insurance companies.
When is Open Enrollment?
The national open enrollment period to purchase health insurance begins November 1, 2018 and closes December 15, 2018. Although some states have been known to negotiate their own extended deadlines, and most likely will again this year. Stay tuned for updates about individual states.
Premium Rate Increases – How much?
These have been many rumors and speculations about the possible increases in premium rates. It is still too early to determine these rates for sure, but here is what we know so far:
- The individual mandate (tax penalty) of the ACA is effectively eliminated starting 2019.
- The predictions are that young, healthy individuals are going to forgo enrollment, therefore leading to an unhealthy individual market, creating higher premiums for remaining enrollees.
- The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has projected that the mandate repeal will force insurers to raise rates at least an additional 10%.
- The Trump Administration is instituting more short-term plans, which offer below standard coverage, making rates higher for comprehensive coverage
- The Kaiser Family Foundation reports changes from -20% to 35%, depending on the city. Baltimore is reported to have a rate increase of 35%
- The average request increase rate in Maryland was 30.2%
- The average premium for a family will by just over $3,000 higher in 2019.
What is Staying the Same?
- Enrollment Dates
- ACA Exchanges – you can shop for and enroll in individual major medical insurance through government exchanges and apply for income-based subsidiaries.
- The individual mandate technically is still intact, there is just no tax penalty starting in 2019
What To Do Before November 1st
This is the time to prepare for open enrollment. Plans are already being created and changes are being made; you should be making your plans too. We recommend going to see your doctor for a wellness exam to make sure your health has not changed. Maybe you will need more coverage in the following year. Start thinking about your current coverage – what you like and dislike. Maybe it is time to change to a new plan or provider.
If you need any individual assistance or want to provide your employees with insurance, contact us for information and check back regularly for updates.