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Archive for the ‘Temporary health insurance’ Category

6 Topics to Consider Outside Open Enrollment

Friday, March 16th, 2018

Whether you are enrolled in Medicare, Health Insurance, or are uninsured, there are some concepts, rules and requirements to consider outside the Annual Enrollment Periods.  Here is a list of a few basics to consider about insurance despite currently being outside the heavily publicized Open Enrollment Periods.

  1. 1095 Tax Forms– As most are filing taxes this time of year, don’t forget the IRS may require you to show proof of health insurance. The 1095 tax forms serve as proof of health insurance coverage.  These 1095 forms can be provided by the Health Insurance Marketplace or by a private insurance carrier, depending on how you are enrolled.  We recommend consulting a Certified Public Accountant for more information on about the need for these forms.
  2. Short Term Health Insurance– If you are currently uninsured and have not recently experienced a Qualifying Event that would allow you to enroll in a qualified health insurance plan, a short term health plan may be an option. Short term plans do not comply with the Affordable Care Act regulations which allows shoppers to enroll in these plan outside the Open Enrollment Period.  You could qualify for coverage to begin as early as the next day.
  3. Medicare Supplements “Blue to Blue”– If you are an existing Blue Cross of NC Medicare Supplement member, you are currently able to make a change to your Medicare Supplement plan during the month of May to take effect on June 1st. See rates for alternative Medicare Supplement plans here.  The capability to change plans during this time frame is through the Blue to Blue program.
  4. Dental Insurance– Don’t forget your smile! Dental insurance plans can be enrolled in anytime throughout the course of the year.  These plans are not regulated like health insurance plans by separate enrollment periods.  Learn More about BCBSNC Dental Insurance
  5. Qualifying Life Events– If you have experienced a Qualifying Life Event, this could allow you to make a change to your health plan or enroll in a new plan. Get a Blue Cross Quote to see whether any of the Qualifying Events apply to you.
  6. Report Income Changes to the Marketplace– If you are enrolled in a health insurance plan through the Health Insurance Marketplace and you have experienced an income change, it’s important to report this change to the Marketplace. Income changes can impact health insurance plan rates and coverage.

For more information on North Carolina insurance coverage, please visit our website at www.nchealthplans.com or call our toll free number 888-765-5400 and speak with one of our experienced and professional agents.

Obamacare too Expensive? Let’s Talk Alternatives…

Tuesday, February 21st, 2017

“Obamacare” is a popular term used to describe the Affordable Care Act.  As insurance advisors, one question customers frequently ask is “Do you offer anything other than Obamacare?”  Understanding this question is most important before answering it.

First, Affordable Care Act compliant plans are not only health insurance plans offered through the Health Insurance Marketplace or “Exchange.”  They are also health plans offered “Off Exchange” or directly through insurance companies, as long as they meet all requirements under the Affordable Care Act.  In North Carolina, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina offers the vast majority of the ACA compliant health plans both on and off the Exchange.  Blue Cross offers plans in all 100 counties and in 2017 was the only company offering “On Exchange” plans in 94 of the 100 North Carolina counties.  When considering alternatives to ACA compliant plans, the most common is Short Term, also known as Temporary Health Insurance.

Temporary health insurance plans are not compliant with the ACA regulations which allows customers to enroll outside the Open Enrollment Period without the requirement of a Qualifying Life Event.  In the past, these plans were created and structured to bridge gaps in coverage.  However, recently their attraction has grown and individuals and families have begun enrolling in Short Term plans for extended policy periods as an alternative to the ACA compliant options.  The ACA compliant plans lack the flexible plan structure and low premiums that are attractive aspects of Short Term health insurance.  Short Term plans exclude coverage for pre-existing conditions which is a requirement under Obamacare.  Additionally, you must answer health questions on a Short Term application in order to be eligible to enroll.  For these reasons, the plans are usually significantly less expensive than ACA compliant plans.  These factors and others drive the premium prices down and often surprise shoppers when making a price comparison.

Furthermore, the Short Term health insurance regulations are expected to change on April 1, 2017.  The policy periods will be limited to 3 months.  For applicants that enroll prior to April 1, the policy period can last until Dec. 31, 2017 with certain carriers like United HealthOne.

For more information on North Carolina insurance coverage, please visit our website at www.nchealthplans.com or call our toll free number 888-765-5400 and speak with one of our experienced and professional agents.

Did you miss Open Enrollment – You can still enroll in Short Term Plans

Thursday, February 9th, 2017

bigstockphoto_online_application_2680056Health Insurance is still available! If you are one of the countless Americans who missed open enrollment. There are options for you.

Short-term/Temporary health insurance is designed for healthy individuals and families, and is a low- cost, affordable option to protect yourself and/or your family from unforeseen and emergency medical costs.

Short term plans are not compliant with the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), so they are still available year-round. If you missed open enrollment and do not have a qualifying event that allows you to purchase an ACA compliant plan, a short-term policy can be a good choice to bridge the gap until open enrollment begins again.

Short term plans are not renewable, but some companies allow you to purchase another plan once your plan has lapsed, but you are required to answer all the health questions and qualify as you did initially.

It is important to know that short term plans are not considered minimum essential coverage under the Affordable Care Act, so people with short term health insurance could be subject to the ACA’s individual mandate penalty unless they are otherwise exempt from it.

Remember, short term plans do not cover any pre-existing conditions. They are not required to cover the ACA’s essential health benefits.  Although their sale is not limited to the ACA open enrollment period, short term plans do use basic medical underwriting to determine an applicant’s eligibility for coverage.

These plans are considerably less expensive than ACA-compliant major medical plans.  And you can get coverage as early as the next day once you answer some basic health questions.

Reduce Health Care Costs – Prescription Discount Card

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2016

Student thinking with question marks on blackboard. Asian femaleWith health insurance premiums on the rise, people are looking for creative solutions to help alleviate the financial burden of health care expenses.  If you are currently uninsured, but need some relief when it comes to paying for medical expenses and prescription drugs, a Prescription Discount Card could be the solution.  The Discount Card is not traditional health insurance, but it can help you save 10-50% on qualified health care services. In addition, your Discount Card can help save you money on weight management programs, fitness centers, and other wellness-related products and services.

As a Discount Card member, you will receive discounts on all sorts of health care products and services from participating health care professionals, including retail chains and online providers.  This includes doctor visits, urgent care, specialists, physical therapy and more.  You can also save 18-20% on generic and name brand prescription drugs at leading drugstores and supermarkets, which sometimes price leading drugs below the discount rate.  With the minimum discount guarantee, however, you are guaranteed to receive the lowest price available at that drugstore or supermarket on that day (this guarantee does not apply to pharmacies), meaning you can be sure to get your prescription drugs at the most affordable price.   Your card can be used at drugstores nationwide, including Costco, K-Mart, Rite-Aid, Target, Walmart and many more.

The application process is simple and your Discount Card can be used to save on health care products and services for you, your spouse, and your dependent children.  Your Discount Card can also work in conjunction with other health plans you may have such as Critical Illness or Temporary Health.

For more information on North Carolina insurance coverage, please visit our website at www.nchealthplans.com or call our toll free number 888-765-5400 and speak with one of our experienced and professional agents.

Student Health Insurance for Back to School

Friday, August 12th, 2016

Smiling young college girl texting on a cell phoneNC Health Plans offers temporary student health insurance for qualified individuals over the age of 19 or students who are not yet 19 can be on a short term policy with a parent or guardian.  These plans can begin as soon as the very next day so your student will not have to miss even one day of class time!

College students tend to be one of the largest demographics of uninsured Americans and universities and colleges all over the country are mandating coverage in order to change that statistic. Over the last few years, more and more colleges and universities have joined the insurance bandwagon as they realize the benefits of knowing their students are covered in case of accident or illness.  Most colleges and universities now require a proof of insurance before students can begin taking classes, which can present an interesting problem.

College classes typically begin in late August or early September, but Open Enrollment for health insurance does not begin until November, with plans taking effect in January.  Unless you have a qualifying life event, you will not be able to enroll in an ACA-approved qualified health plan outside of Open Enrollment and that can leave parents and new students who are uninsured in a bind.

The good news is that many colleges and universities offer health insurance on a semester basis.  The bad news is that many university policies end during the months when school is not in session, which can leave a big gap in coverage.  Even further, many health plans offered by schools are quite expensive or don’t offer the depth or quality of coverage many students need.  So what is the answer?

A good option is short term health insurance. (more…)

Summer Camp and Sports Clinics – Get the Coverage your Kids Need

Thursday, July 7th, 2016

Four children in woods with camping gearSummer is one of the best times of the year!  The sun is shining, the beaches are packed and kids are out of school and off to camp. In fact, health insurance may be the last thing on your mind.  Unfortunately, being uninsured can often limit summer fun and keep your kids from being able to participate in many of the activities otherwise available to them.  For instance, most camps and sports clinics require a proof of insurance in order for your child to participate.  Often parents are unaware of this fact until the last minute and can find themselves scrambling to try and find sufficient coverage.  Because Open Enrollment will not begin until November 1st, unless you have a qualifying life event, temporary health plans are the best option to ensure your family has the coverage they need this summer. (more…)

Need Health Insurance for 2016? – Get Temporary Coverage Now

Tuesday, June 28th, 2016

Summer is here and 2016 is almost half over, but if you still lack health insurance, a short term plan could be theSmiling young college girl texting on a cell phone solution.  Temporary health plans are a viable option for people who are experiencing gaps in coverage due to a job change, a move or other life circumstances.  They are also great for individuals who may be exempt from the individual mandate (tax penalty) to buy health insurance or those who may just choose to buy health insurance outside of Open Enrollment.

There are many benefits to a short term health plan.  For instance, most temporary insurance plans are less expensive than regular health insurance plans.  In fact, they are a low-cost solution that could protect your financial security should you be faced with an unexpected illness or injury.  You can also be approved for short term plans as soon as the very next day and coverage can be in place anywhere from 1 month to 11 months, whatever your circumstances require.  Temporary health insurance is a great way to fill gaps during times of transition or change. (more…)

Short Term Health Insurance – Summertime Health Plans for Students

Thursday, June 2nd, 2016

Youth People Amity Summer Party Together ConceptSummertime is here and college students are heading home for a much needed break, but what about health insurance?  Although many colleges and universities offer student health insurance plans, most of those plans are only good for the school year, leaving students with a three month gap in coverage.  Because of the rules of the Affordable Care Act, these students cannot simply apply for another health plan outside of Open Enrollment, so what is available to them?  The answer is temporary health insurance.

A temporary health plan can fill gaps in coverage and also offers students the ability to enroll in health insurance when they need it.  In fact, these plans can be in effect as soon as the very next day and are typically very affordable. In addition, you can select temporary coverage anywhere from 1 to 11 months and you can choose to make one lump sum payment or pay monthly, whichever works best.  Short term plans ensure that students have the coverage they need over summer months when they are working part-time jobs that usually don’t provide health insurance and when students are more active than ever. (more…)

Why Temporary Health Insurance is a Good Idea

Monday, May 23rd, 2016

Multi Generation Family Enjoying Picnic TogetherTemporary health insurance is becoming increasingly popular in the ACA market.  Due to rising health insurance premiums and stricter guidelines on enrollment periods, many people are turning to short term insurance as a long-term solution.  Because short term health plans are not subject to the laws of the ACA, they are less-expensive and can be purchased outside of Open Enrollment.  For individuals and families who have either missed Open Enrollment or who simply cannot afford an ACA-approved Qualified Health Plan, short term coverage is a viable option. (more…)

Temporary Health Insurance in AZ, FL, GA, IL, IN, MO, NC, OH, PA, TX

Thursday, May 12th, 2016

Family enjoying bike ride in parkAre you without a Qualifying Life Event that allows you to purchase health insurance outside of the Annual Enrollment Period?  A Temporary Health Insurance Plan can offer you the coverage you need to fill the gap between now and the next Open Enrollment and there are many benefits to a short term health plan.  For instance, most temporary insurance plans are less expensive than regular health insurance plans.  They are a low-cost solution that could protect your financial security should you be faced with an unexpected illness or injury.  You can also be approved for short term plans as soon as the very next day and coverage can be in place anywhere from 1 month to 11 months, whatever your circumstances require.

Although these plans won’t cover preexisting conditions and will not keep you from incurring a tax penalty (unless you are exempt), these plans can protect you in catastrophic circumstances and help give you the peace of mind that comes from knowing you will be covered in an emergency.  If you are still uninsured for 2016, consider a temporary health insurance plan.

For more information on North Carolina insurance coverage, please visit our website at www.nchealthplans.com or call our toll free number 888-765-5400 and speak with one of our experienced and professional agents.

Combat the Rising Cost of NC Health Insurance with Short Term Coverage

Monday, April 25th, 2016

Health care concept. Expensive medical insurance or medical budgThe health insurance market has changed dramatically under the Affordable Care Act and it continues to change every year.  2016 brought a greater than anticipated rise in the cost of health insurance premiums across the board and many Americans are now wondering what other options are available.  Although in the past short term health insurance plans were primarily geared toward individuals who needed to fill a gap in health coverage due to a move, a job change, or recent graduation, many people are now taking a closer look at the benefits of temporary health insurance policies.

In terms of affordability, short term health insurance plans are typically much less expensive than regular health insurance policies.  Because they do not have to cover the 10 essential benefits required under the ACA, short term plans have much lower monthly premiums and are an excellent way to make sure you have coverage in case of an unexpected accident or illness.  Many temporary plans also include copayments for doctor visits as well as prescription drug coverage. (more…)

No Qualifying Life Event? – Try Temporary Health Coverage

Friday, April 1st, 2016

Health InsuranceUnder the ACA, you are now required to have a Qualifying Life Event (QLE) in order to enroll in a health insurance plan outside of Open Enrollment.  A Qualifying Life Event is some kind of special circumstance that allows you to enroll in coverage under a Special Enrollment Period and some common QLE’s include loss of access to minimum essential coverage through an employer or Medicaid, a move to North Carolina or to a different zip code within NC, or adding a dependent through birth or adoption.

If you do not have one of the life events, however, you will be unable to enroll in health coverage until the next Open Enrollment, which begins November 1, 2016 with coverage starting January 1, 2017.  Unfortunately, this rule excludes many individuals and can make it difficult, if not impossible, to get a health insurance plan.  If you find yourself in this position you may be asking:  What can I do to get health insurance? (more…)