Actually, no. There are TWO affordable alternatives!
In a couple of weeks, the Open Enrollment Period (OEP) for health insurance will begin. Coloradoans are bracing themselves for what is shaping up to be a tale of two tragedies: 50-60% increases in monthly premium costs and the mass exodus of enough individual insurance companies to leave some areas with only one carrier from which to chose.
If your premiums are going up and you’re left with essentially nothing in the way of choices, it’s enough to make you panic. We all know by now that everyone has to have a health insurance plan that conforms to the design mandates of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) or pay a penalty come tax time, right?
Turns out there are a couple of completely legal loopholes in the law and there’s an affordable alternative to ACA plans, and you should know about them.
Faith-Based Health Sharing Plans
Faith-based plans aren’t new. They’ve been around for 20 years or more, and when the ACA was passed into law they were allowed to stay. They essentially allow people of similar religious leanings to form a group dedicated to the sharing of the group’s medical expenses. The government allows people to join these groups ostensibly because they object to some of the provisions of the ACA, such as mandated coverage for birth control regardless of marital status.
These groups have some health restrictions, because part of the reason they work is that the groups are mostly populated by healthy people and that means that payouts for medical bills are low. So you do have to qualify for inclusion in the group based on your health, but you can sign up for one of these plans at any time of the year (i.e. outside or inside of the OEP) and you’ll have a legal hall pass to skip Obamacare. And the monthly costs for being a group member? About half of what most ACA plan premiums are running for a family of four this year.
Click here to read about the faith-based health care sharing plan from OneShare Health.
Minimum Essential Coverage
Minimum Essential Coverage (MEC) plans are just what they sound like – they provide the minimum level of coverage that a plan can have an still be considered compliant with the ACA. ColoHealth represents Aliera Healthcare, which provides the HealthPass and HealthPass Premium plan.
Bear in mind: these plans do not cover hospitalization. They offer preventive and urgent care benefits, along with coverage episodic primary care, coverage for chronic conditions (HealthPass Premium), labs and diagnostics, prescription drug discounts, and telemedicine services.
You’ll want to add on additional plans for hospitalizations and critical illnesses to ensure that your coverage is complete, but you’ll still save considerable money every month, compared to what most families will pay this year for ACA plans. A family of 4 gets an MEC plan for $329 per month – and that cost is the same regardless of location, and without respect to any pre-existing medical issues.
Call or email us – we’d love to tell you more about these innovative new plans.
Leslie Jablonski is a Personal Benefits Manager at ColoHealth. Her aim is to help you make smart and informed healthcare coverage decisions that will fit your needs and budget. Read more about Leslie on her Bio page.