Health

Opinion: As ACA open enrollment approaches, start shopping for coverage

We all want good health, for ourselves and for our families. That’s why many of life’s most important choices are centered around how we achieve health or improve our wellness. Part of this process is ensuring a foundation and choosing the right health plan is a major part of this.

Now is the time make sure your foundation is solid, giving you and your family peace of mind heading into the new year.

Lou Gianquinto

The Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) open enrollment for health insurance began Nov. 1 and runs through Dec. 15 for coverage that starts in the New Year. To ensure you have coverage in 2023, it’s important to start looking now for a plan that meets your needs and your budget.

A couple of things to remember when shopping for a benefits plan. First, there are many options available at various price points, so make sure you take time to find a plan that is right for you. Second, you don’t have to go it alone. There is plenty of assistance available, from navigators to brokers to your current or prospective insurance carrier, all ready to assist you.

Taking the time to understand your health insurance options can help create a path to better health and wellness, and potentially save you thousands of dollars. These plans cover essential benefits, including emergency services, prescription drugs, and pediatric services.

Also, it’s important to remember health plans offer zero-dollar preventive health. This means consumers pay nothing for important services such as mammograms, colonoscopies, and regular check-ups. This is critical because many potentially life-threatening — not to mention expensive — health conditions can often be prevented or managed through these early detection screenings.

Before you start to shop and compare, there are a few things you should consider. It could be that your current plan will not be offered next year. Even if your current insurance carrier continues to offer ACA plans, offerings can change from year to year, which is another reason to really take time to understand your options.

Further, the federal public health emergency, which extended eligibility for Medicaid health plans, is expected to an end sometime in 2023. Those who lose eligibility for Medicaid will need coverage and an ACA individual plan could fulfill that need.

If you think selecting a health plan can feel like a daunting task, please don’t let that stop you from choosing health coverage. Help is out there.

Here in Connecticut, Access Health CT is the state’s marketplace for comparing and selecting an individual health plan when enrollment begins. This is the place to compare all plan options in the county where you live. In fact, some people in the state may also be eligible for Covered Connecticut, a new health program that offers no-cost coverage to eligible families. The exchange is where you can find out if you qualify. And you can always free reach out to your current insurer, prospective insurer or a licensed broker for guidance before deciding.

With the cost of food, gas and utilities rising, many Americans are feeling financial pressure, forcing them to make tough decisions. Choosing to forgo health coverage should not be one of them. Don’t assume health insurance will add financial pressure because costs for a health plan may be more affordable than you think — and it will likely save you more money in the long run. The recent Inflation Reduction Act enhanced federal subsidies through 2025 to help keep costs down for those buying plans on the health exchange, making high quality plans very affordable. And if you haven’t qualified previously for a subsidy, check again as parameters and circumstances have changed.

Your health relies on a strong foundation; take action now and take control of your health. There are many resources available to assist you. Feel free to visit the exchange at accesshealthct.com.

Lou Gianquinto is President of Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Connecticut.


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