There were 84,601 Utahns who signed up for new health insurance on healthcare.gov during the first open enrollment period in 2014. That means lots of Utahns have questions about how to renew or switch their insurance for 2015. They might also be wondering how their premium subsidies(defined) might change.
Any Utahn with health insurance purchased from healthcare.gov should take 30 minutes to follow the steps outlined in this article. If you don’t, you could end up paying too much for health insurance, or keeping a plan that doesn't work for you anymore.
Utah Health Policy Project (Utah's largest navigator grant recipient) recommends that you schedule a “tune up” for your ACA insurance before the December 15th deadline to finalize your insurance for 2015.
In fact, we recommend you do it well before December 15th because everyone and their grandmother will be logging into healthcare.gov in mid-December. Trust us. You don’t want to be there.
If you’re unsure how to proceed, or the prospect of going to healthcare.gov makes you want to binge-watch Toddlers & Tiaras, we’ve got you covered.
Contact the trained enrollment experts at Take Care Utah (TCU, www.takecareutah.org) to schedule a one-on-one ‘tune-up’ for your health insurance options. TCU has more than 60 “navigators” and “certified application counselors” standing by to provide free, in-person advice and answers. If you don’t have Internet access, you can find the nearest TCU assistor by calling 2-1-1. 1.
But if you want to “tune up” your own insurance policy, start by following the three “R” words listed below: Review, Renew, and Re-determine.
Review: Log into healthcare.gov and update your personal information, income projections, and plan choices. Make sure your current health plan is still your best option. Remember: Even if you keep the same plan, your level of premium subsidies could be different in 2015 (see below)
Renew: Re-enroll in the same health insurance, or switch to a new plan that suits you better. If yo
Redetermine: Authorize healthcare.gov and the IRS (yes, that IRS) to re-calculate and approve your premium subsidies (also called advanced premium tax credits or APTCs) and cost-sharing assistance. Note: Healthcare.gov is sending notices via postal mail to currently-enrolled consumers to inform them of the redetermination process.
Shifts in Premium Subsidies
Keep in mind that your premium subsidies, the financial assistance that reduces your monthly insurance premiums, could change even if your income, family size, and insurance plan remain the same in 2015.
How can that happen?
Although all six Utah insurance companies that sold plans on last year’s marketplace are returning for 2015, many of their plans have changed. And more importantly, the benchmark plans (ie. the second-lowest Silver Plan in each geographic area) used to calculate premium subsidies have changed for every geography in Utah (link, “#5. Health Insurance Plan Rates-2015”)
This means that even if your insurance plan, income, and family size remain the same in 2015, the amount of your premium could change based on shifts elsewhere in the marketplace.
For more explanation on how benchmark plans influence subsidies, check out this easy-to-read article, and this detailed study.
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