05 Dec 7 Things To Know About Healthcare Plans for 2020
Open enrollment season is upon us. This is the time when you are likely to enroll in a health insurance plan to have coverage which begins January 1. Those who do not enroll during this time can do so during a Special Enrollment Period, a time allotted for those who have experienced certain life-changing events, like getting married, having a baby or losing coverage (oftentimes by losing a job). Are you trying to figure the healthcare plan that is right for you? The choices can be confusing, to state the least, since the selection is as plentiful as last week’s Thanksgiving feast.
For most Americans, the open enrollment season began November 1 and ends December 15; Medicare recipients’ open enrollment season began October 15 and runs through December 7. According to the Census Bureau, nearly 92 percent of Americans had insurance in 2018, with most people choosing privatized coverage over public healthcare plans, such as Medicaid.
The percentages of those covered and those choosing private plans through an employer are expected to only increase this year. This is most likely due to the many healthcare options available.
What are those options? Here are seven things you need to know about healthcare plans for 2020:
1-You can opt for a short-term health plan
Short-term health insurance plans are much cheaper than other types of healthcare options. However, these plans do not offer services for maternity, prescription, and mental health needs. Until 2019, short-term plans were only available to young adults and those who could not pay for other types of health insurance. This year, all Americans received access to short-term plans. However, as short-term plans do not offer coverage for some services, those choosing this option might end up paying more out of pocket for medicines and other healthcare services.
2-You’ll see an increase in quality ratings
HealthCare.gov is expanding the insurance quality ratings for the 2020 plan year. Also known as star ratings, HealthCare.gov will now provide quality ratings throughout the United States. Each health plan is rated between one and five stars, with five as the highest rating. The rating system is based on the level of member satisfaction, the amount of care received through an insurance plan, and administration.
What’s great about the quality rating system is that everyone now has an easier way to compare insurance plans based on several factors, including price. Quality ratings allow all Americans to compare plans based on these factors:
- Member experiences
- Patient satisfaction
- Appointment and services
- Plan management
- Customer service
- …and other factors.
3-You may qualify for healthcare coverage assistance
Nearly 85 percent of those insured who use HealthCare.gov to enroll in plans have received assistance to help pay for premiums during last year’s open enrollment period. The average monthly premium for these members was $87, which was a slight decrease from the 2018 open enrollment period.
To see if you qualify for assistance for healthcare coverage, visit HealthCare.gov. Qualifications may vary by state and income levels.
4-You may be able to contribute to a health spending account (HSA)
If you’ve yet to take advantage of the health spending account (HSA) option available through your employer’s insurance plan, now is the time to do so. An HSA allows members to contribute pre-tax dollars to pay for health services that qualify under the program. For the 2020 enrollment period, you can contribute up to $3,550 to an individualized HSA option and up to $7,100 for families. Those 55 years old and older receive an additional $1,000 in addition to their spending limits.
Those interested in an HSA must sign up for a high-deductible health plan (HDHP). An HDHP during the 2020 open enrollment period is defined as a deductible of $1,400 or more for individual coverage, and $2,800 or higher for family insurance plans. The out-of-pocket maximum for an HDHP must not exceed $6,900 for individuals or $13,800 for families. Additionally, HDHPs do not cover non-preventive services before the deductibles are met.
5-Travel insurance is still not regulated.
Those looking to travel abroad for business or pleasure can take advantage of the many offers of travel insurance. However, since the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is a federally-mandated program, it does not regulate travel insurance. This means pre-existing conditions are not covered while out of the country.
6-Young adults can remain on parents’ plans.
Young adults covered under grandfathered group plans are able to stay covered until they reach 26 years of age. This means that even if their employer offers health insurance, they can still remain on their parents’ plan. However, it might make more sense for those living out of their parents’ state to obtain coverage through their employer.
7-You can still deduct your insurance premiums on your tax return.
If you’re an entrepreneur you can still deduct your premiums when you file taxes. If you’re employed, you may also make a deduction but it will depend on how much is spent on medical costs throughout the year.
If you are self-employed, the IRS allows you to deduct medical costs as long as they exceed 7.5 percent of your adjusted gross income. The rules also apply for employees who are considered part-time or contractual. It’s best to contact a tax professional to know exactly how you may qualify for a deduction.
Also worth noting: regardless of any uncertainty about ACA, there are more choices and affordable premiums for most Americans. This will usher in an increase of ACA offerings from vendors outside of HealthCare.gov and other exchanges. You should ask questions about costs and seek quality ratings should you decide to seek healthcare on your own, without an employer, and outside of the exchanges
These seven things you should know during the annual open enrollment period should help you decide which options are best for your healthcare needs. You may elect to keep your current coverage and/or modify your current insurance plan. To find out the best solutions for your needs, we are available to assist you with any questions you may have.