Last-Minute Tips for Health Insurance Shopping for Residents of California

health insurance in California

Residents of California are choosing their healthcare reform this year but many residents of the state are failing to realize it. Residents who do not enroll in qualifying coverage under the Affordable Care Act in 2020 might cost them around $695- $2,085 or more. Californians should keep in mind that healthcare rules for them differ from the rest of the U.S. Open enrollment period under the ACA is opened until January 31, 2020, whereas open enrollment ends on December 15 in most of the states. Besides, residents of this state without qualifying coverage for 2020 face a huge tax penalty, whereas the tax penalty has been rolled back for the residents of other states. Besides, a family of four of this state with an income of up to $150,000 may qualify for subsidies to reduce their premium amount, whereas a family of four with an income of up to $103,000 qualify for the subsidy in the rest of the country.

According to Covered California, 56% of uninsured residents are unaware that they may face a tax penalty in 2020 and around 62% of uninsured residents are not aware of the financial assistance offered to them. California residents without qualifying coverage may face a tax penalty of $695 per individual, or 2.5% of income over tax filing threshold, whichever is greater.

Last-Minute Health Insurance Shopping Tips:

Californians while shopping for health insurance should keep the following last-minute tips to smartly pick a health plan.

Check if they qualify for subsidies

Californian residents whose household income is not more than 600 percent of the federal poverty level i.e. around $75,000 for an individual and $150,000 for a family of four, then they may be eligible for government subsidies that will significantly reduce their monthly premiums.

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Look Beyond Government Websites

Residents generally prefer shopping through government websites that offer ACA-compliant health plans with government subsidies. However, people who don’t qualify for subsidies can find some additional ACA plans through private health exchanges of health insurance portals where they can find a better match for their healthcare needs well within their budget.

Avoid shopping during last hours

Residents in California should never wait till the last moment of the open enrollment period to shop for the health plan because the last few days of open enrollment is quite hectic. It has been observed that government-run health insurance marketplace sites experience too much traffic in the last moment, and people may find it hard to avail of personalized advice from their experts in case if they need any help. Thus, people should start looking for a health plan well within the time, so that there is no rush at the last hours.

Have an Idea about the Actual Cost

Residents of California while shopping for health plans should be aware of the actual cost of the health plan. They should know that individuals receiving government subsidies pay less than $100 per month for health plans and individuals who don’t get subsidies pay an average of $456 per month for an individual plan or $1,134 for a family health plan.

Pick plan having their preferred doctors

While shopping for a health plan, residents should always choose a plan that includes their preferred doctor in their network provider list. Some health insurance portals allow people to shop for health plans based on their choice of healthcare providers. However, residents also need to check from their doctor and confirm their network status.

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Ensure their prescriptions are covered

All the ACA-compliant plans offered through the health insurance marketplace cover prescription drugs coverage, but the specific drugs covered under each plan differs. While shopping through health insurance portals, people can find a plan that includes their prescription drugs at the lowest cost.

Be aware of the cost they are required to pay for common medical problems

While selecting a plan, people should be aware of their out-of-pocket expenses when seeking medical care for a doctor visit or when they take a prescription drug. People should keep in mind that ACA-compliant plans provide preventive care services for free of cost like an annual checkup.

Out-of-pocket Cost

While shopping for a new health plan, Californians should keep the out-of-pocket cost in mind, which they will be required to pay while receiving medical services. Residents should be aware of the out-of-pocket cost for care if they are hospitalized in the future, so they make sure to afford this amount in a medical emergency.

Seek professional help and assistance

Shopping for health insurance these days has become easy through health insurance portals. Residents should only take help from a licensed online broker, and should shop only through a website that allows them to get in touch with a licensed agent by phone or online chat in case of personal help or assistance is required.

Residents of California are free to shop for health insurance in the way they find it easy, but should never go uninsured. Health insurance exchange of their state provides them some affordable care options and sets a limit on their medical liabilities. People missing the open enrollment should remember that they will have to wait for a complete one year to avail of a comprehensive ACA health plan, and going without health insurance in California will impose a tax penalty on them.

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