Worried Sick About Healthcare? Here’s How to Get Organized in a Changing Marketplace
Though the HealthCare.gov website fiasco has more-or-less subsided by now, most Americans are still busily working to get everything organized for the coming year’s coverage plans. For some, it means signing up for a coverage plan through their employer, for others it might mean applying independently. It might even mean undergoing a few trial-and-error scenarios to find the perfect plan. Read on for practical advice and actions to make this process a little less chaotic. It might be just what the doctor ordered.
Keep Solid Records
Organizing your healthcare plan wouldn’t be nearly as much of a hassle if there wasn’t so much red tape involved. Keeping digital records seems easier, but there’s always the risk of losing everything if you no longer have access to your device. To keep your documents both secure and accessible, consider cloud storage to make your life a little easier. The cloud enables you to access your documents from any device (smartphone, tablet, laptop, etc.) and send digital copies to insurance companies as needed.
Since cloud storage is such a competitive industry, make sure you choose the right company by analyzing ratings and reviews from Top 10 Cloud Storage. According to the site’s most recent top 10 list, JustCloud.com is in the number one spot, with the more widely-known brand Dropbox down at number nine.
Go for the Gold– or Silver? Or Bronze?
Marketplace insurance plans are sorted into five categories: gold, silver, bronze, platinum and also catastrophic. Platinum seems like an obvious choice, but remember that the more precious the metal, the higher the price tag. So make sure you’re paying
for coverage that you actually need. Catastrophic plans are the most basic, designed for people under 30 and those with hardship exemptions from the lack of coverage penalty fee. These are basically worst-case scenario plans, and not recommended to someone who relies on regular medical care.
Alternatively, a platinum plan will come with the highest monthly premium and the lowest out-of-pocket costs, so it’s ideal for those who regularly visit the doctor and purchase prescriptions. A gold plan is a slightly lower premium with a slightly higher out-of-pocket cost. Bronze and silver plans require lower premium payments, but a higher cost of care.
Talk to your Employer
One of the most confusing aspects of the Affordable Care Act is doing the math between employer-funded insurance programs and independent programs. Even minimal coverage from your employer exempts you from the penalty fee, but you might be interested in exploring other options. Keep in mind that your employer will not contribute to Marketplace plan premiums when you buy independently. For this reason, most full-time workers find that switching is less economical.
To make sure your employer is maintaining the standards of offering “affordable” care to its employees, download the Employer Coverage Tool document from HealthCare.gov and fill out the necessary information. In order to be classified as affordable, the employee’s share of the premiums for the lowest, self-only coverage plan must be less than 9.5 percent of their family’s income.