This is a sponsored post for UnitedHealthcare. All thoughts, opinions and attempts to figure out the whole open enrollment thing are mine.
When I hear someone mention the Affordable Care Act (ACA), my brain stops listening and starts planning the rest of the week’s meals or how soon I can hit up Nordstrom Rack and Sonic. We have pretty decent health insurance through Nathan’s work, so I haven’t given the Affordable Care Act much thought, but I know it’s a real source of confusion for many people because it’s all about choosing the right health plan.
With open enrollment ending February 15th for 2015, it’s more important than ever to figure out (ASAP) what it all means for you and your family. And UnitedHealthcare has some really great resources for navigating that crazy enrollment thing.
I wanted to learn a bit more about the history of health insurance, so I watched this little video and learned a couple interesting facts. For example, I didn’t know:
- Employers started offering health benefits in the early 1940s as a way of circumventing World War II wage and price controls.
- They were also created by an IRS ruling that said workers who received health benefits did not have to pay income taxes on them.
- Most companies count health insurance as part of the employee’s compensation. If the employer pays a larger share, they often need to cut compensation somewhere else.
Okay, I have to share this quick video addressing five myths and facts about healthcare. I had no idea most uninsured people (80%) are actually employed.
Let’s take a second and put the Act in the simplest terms. Basically it claims to help more people get access to affordable health insurance. The Act also guarantees coverage for pre-existing health conditions and financial assistance for those who qualify. This may include savings on health insurance premiums via a tax credit or a government program such as Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) or Medicare.
That leads us back to that open enrollment thing. This comes up every year at Nathan’s work and I usually feel too overwhelmed to figure it out, so I leave it to him (see first paragraph). I do know a few basics about choosing a health plan that is best for my family, but if you’re struggling, watch this video:
You’ll also want to ask three important questions when choosing a health plan:
- Is your doctor in the plan’s network?
- What’s covered?
- How much does it cost?
Now you’re better prepared to choose a health plan, but what are your options? Apparently there’s a whole health insurance marketplace—think of it as the Travelocity of health insurance. The marketplace helps people find health care coverage that fits their needs and ensures all plans being offered meet state and federal guidelines.
Even if you’re getting health insurance through an employer, it’s still helpful to compare how your current health plan stacks up to others offered. You never know…you might be one of the 87% of health insurance exchange applicants who saved $250 a month or more on their health insurance last year. It’s worth it to do a bit of comparing and shopping around before committing to a health plan.
Last but not least, college students. We are just over a year away from sending our first child to college and health insurance options can be tricky for college students. I remember a simple visit to the student health center leading to some tricky (and lengthy) paperwork for my parents. If you need coverage for your college student, this video is for you.
By the way, if your head starts spinning from all those health insurance terms (OOP limits? co-insurance?), check out UHC’s health insurance glossary.
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