When should I buy health insurance in Colorado? : #3 could save you A LOT of money!
For those living in Colorado, buying health insurance can be very uncomfortable and even painful. Unless you are offered a great group plan through an employer, you are responsible for shopping, deciding on, and applying for your own individual health insurance plan. But how do you make sense of any of it?
Since I help people discover great health insurance plans where they can get the most “bang for their buck”, I have heard the many complaints and frustrations associated with shopping for a quality health insurance plan in the great state of Colorado. Perhaps you can relate to some of the complaints? Too expensive, high deductibles, limiting network providers, high co-pays, confusing…
If you happen to find yourself in this situation, or you know someone who is pulling their hair out as they discover their outrageous premium rates, then keep reading or pass this information on to someone who may benefit from this information.
There are a few areas to first consider when you are asking the question "When should I buy health insurance?":
1) Open Enrollment Period (OEP)
The very first thing you must consider is “timing.” What time of year is it right now? If it is between November 1 and January 15, you may be in luck. This particular time of year is referred to as “open enrollment”. Open enrollment is the time period where you can select a major medical/marketplace plan and enroll for coverage starting either January 1 (if you enroll prior to December 15) or February 1 (if you enroll between December 16 and January 15).
These plans are considered “Guaranteed Issue”. This means that you cannot be declined a plan of your choice based upon any medical conditions. If you have any serious medical conditions you would serve yourself best to obtain one of these plans during this time period. Note: If you are obtaining a small business group plan, you can establish your own annual open enrollment period.
2) Special Enrollment Period (SEP)
If you find yourself outside the OEP, then the next thing to consider is if you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period. SEP’s are created when you experience a “Life Change Event”. Life Change Events can include losing your coverage due to a loss of employment, divorce, moving outside of your state, etc… You can go here to see a list of Life Change Events.
3) Private Insurance Option
Now, if you read the above situations and realize that you don’t fit within either one, then you may want to consider a Private Insurance Option. Private insurance is not limited to either an OEP or an SEP. You can purchase a private insurance plan any time of year. Most private insurance plans still require you to qualify for coverage based upon current health status. Many people who find themselves within the OEP timeframe or even qualify for a SEP still choose to go with a private insurance option because of the affordability of these plans.
A private insurance plan allows you to customize your coverage. This type of plan enables you to choose from basic plan to a very full plan and anywhere in between. These plans typically operate within a nationwide network. This means that even if you travel or move residence, you can keep this coverage and still remain “in-network” unlike many other major medical/marketplace plans where coverage outside the issuing state is considered “out of network”.
Even people who qualify for an OEP or a SEP often times select a private insurance option. This is because they can usually get a private insurance option that offers lower deductibles, lower premiums, lower co-pays, and no limiting network.
Since most people purchasing health insurance don’t operate in this industry, it is always best to receive a free consultation from a Professional Health Insurance Consultant (PHIC) who can guide you through your options. A PHIC can help you determine which of the above options are available to you, and which one will be the best fit for your unique situation.
Yes, health insurance can be expensive, so don’t make this decision alone. Since this decision affects your finances and your health, you can’t afford to make the wrong decision. Health insurance consultants work for you. They want you to make the best decision available to you.
So, when you find your self asking the question, "When should I buy health insurance?", and you feel you could benefit from a health insurance consultation from a PHIC, let us know. We would be honored to help you navigate the tumultuous waters of health insurance so that you come out on the other side with a great health insurance plan.
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