If you’re in the process of choosing health insurance for the coming year, you probably have questions about how proposed changes to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will impact your insurance choices and your access to healthcare. To help you better understand the situation, we’ve gathered the answers to some of the questions you may have.
Q: What impact will this have on my insurance for the coming year and how soon will healthcare policy changes be implemented?
A: Clarity about how health insurance and the healthcare system will change under the new administration is months away. Some policy analysts believe changes may not begin to occur for a year. While that raises uncertainty, the advice that we are giving members is to stay the course through open enrollment and choose the insurance plan that best meets your family’s health needs, preferences, and budget.
Keep in mind the deadlines for signing up for 2017 coverage:
- Open enrollment for group or company-sponsored health insurance plans typically ends in November.
- December 7, 2016 is the open enrollment deadline for Medicare, Medicare supplement plans, and Medicare Plan D drug plans.
- December 15, 2016 is the enrollment deadline for January 1 coverage through a state-based insurance marketplace.
- January 31, 2017 is the final enrollment deadline for the state-based insurance marketplace plans.
Q: Are there steps I should take now in terms of my healthcare to gain the most benefit from my current health insurance plan?
A: While it is too soon to predict how the current health insurance landscape will change, it is likely that there will be changes to the benefits that plans include in the future. If you or your family members have medical needs that are currently covered by your health plan, it’s wise to get the care you need now rather than waiting. Regardless of any future changes, we recommend continued due diligence in terms of preventative screening. For example, if you’re due for your annual physical, a screening mammogram or colonoscopy, or covered immunizations, your plan may currently cover these with no copay or deductible for these services, which could save you money.
Q: Are there other steps I can take to prepare for future changes in the healthcare system?
A: If you have a family or personal history of health problems such as heart disease, diabetes, back and joint pain, or certain types of cancer, talk with your doctor and build a personalized, comprehensive plan to lower your risk of developing these diseases or to better manage any conditions you’ve been diagnosed with. You can also make lifestyle changes to lower your health risk, including reaching and maintaining an appropriate weight, eating a healthy diet, getting regular exercise, and managing stress and sleep.
Q: What steps should I take to ensure that my family and I will be able to get the care we need?
A: A professional, experienced health advisor can direct you to the appropriate resources and coordinate your access to care and the transfer of medical records to any doctor who treats you should the need arise. Your health advisor can also work with you to outline a roadmap to better health that can help you lower your potential risk and the costs associated with future healthcare needs.
We will continue to monitor this and keep you informed as important events occur. Click here to receive ongoing updates and stay on top of strategies for better managing your health risks.
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