As Open Enrollment draws near, we are beginning to get some information about what we can expect to see in the health insurance market. On Tuesday we got a really significant announcement:
BlueChoice HealthPlan will not offer health insurance in the federal Marketplace for 2017.
Since a majority of our health insurance clients in South Carolina are currently insured with BlueChoice, we want to take a minute to tell you more about what this means and what you can expect.
A couple key points to bear in mind:
- Your BlueChoice policy will continue to be in force (assuming you pay your bill!) through the end of this year.
- BlueChoice will offer individual health insurance plans off the Marketplace in 2017. So if you are not eligible for subsidies, they will still be a great option to consider.
BlueChoice joins a long list of health insurance companies who are pulling out of the federal Marketplace in most states. Aetna, the only other company participating in South Carolina in 2016, has also withdrawn.
What Happens in 2017
BlueCross BlueShield will be the only health insurance company available in the federal Marketplace in 2017. They will have over 30 plans to choose from and have expanded their provider network even further.
BlueChoice and BlueCross have worked with CMS (the agency that administers the Obamacare Marketplace) to put a transition plan in place for affected policyholders. They will automatically route you from your current plan to the BlueCross BlueShield plan that they deem to be the most comparable.
That said, we strongly suggest you look over the options yourself, and we’ll help you find the best plan for you. Furthermore, it’s a good idea to re-assess the subsidy as well to be sure you’re getting the right amount.
Here are 3 Options for 2017:
- Enroll in coverage through the Marketplace with BlueCross BlueShield of SC. This is the only option if you want to receive subsidies to lower your payments (assuming you’re eligible). We’ll be very happy to help you do this.Here’s where we will process Marketplace enrollments.
(Note: this is a more efficient and streamlined platform than going directly through the government website.)
- Enroll in a plan outside the federal Marketplace with BlueChoice HealthPlan. They will have a multiple silver and bronze plans available, and we can help you select and enroll a plan if that’s what makes sense. These plans still must conform to all of the rules of the Affordable Care Act.
- If you want to move outside the system, you could consider a faith-based health sharing ministry. We have recently partnered with one such organization to provide an alternative to our clients. While this is not for everyone, we have clients who are finding this a satisfying and far less costly alternative to Obamacare (and, yes, it is exempt from the individual mandate).Click here to learn more about health sharing ministries.
Open Enrollment for 2017 begins November 1.
Information on plans and prices will likely not be available before that date. Plan to connect with us during November to make sure you and your family have everything set up for 2017. (We regularly hear from people who missed Open Enrollment and are frustrated to find out they can’t get into Obamacare.)