A large number of policyholders when signing up for health insurance agree to automatically re-enroll in the same insurance plan. However, the policyholders need to review their policy before the open enrollment deadline to make sure that there are no changes that could increase their health insurance cost or affect their covered services. People need to keep in mind that automatic health insurance renewal takes place immediately after the end of the open enrollment period after which they are not allowed to change their health coverage for the next year. In most of the American states, December 15 is the last day to sign up or change the health insurance coverage, as from the next day, they will be auto-enrolled in their current health insurance plan. People are advised to check the enrollment dates of their state because some states have later enrollment deadlines.
Protection that are Required during Auto-Enrollment of Health Plans:
Discuss with Current Healthcare Provider
Policyholders first need to ensure that they are signed up for auto-renew health insurance plans, and should also make sure about the health plan in which they have been auto-enrolled. People can get in touch with the health insurance company through their phone number, their insurance card, or they can also contact the federal government’s enrollment help center.
Know about Monthly Premium Discount
Policyholders should attempt to calculate their monthly subsidy amount on their own, or they can even seek help and assistance of the subsidy calculators provided at different health insurance portals. These online portals are quick and efficient in guiding and assisting people and help them know how their subsidy level affects them and their families.
Compare Available Plans with Current Plan
Almost all health insurance portals have a comparison engine that allows policyholders to compare their auto-enrollment health plans with a wide range of health insurance options available to them. People can try out the options available by connecting to an independent and licensed health insurance agent or a health insurance portal. People can obtain price quotes and plan details for a wide range of plans at free of cost. This will further help them to decide whether they should stick with their auto-enrolment, or opt for a better health plan. The best thing about comparing on health portal is that people on a single page can compare ACA-compliant private plans listed on government site, ACA-compliant private plans listed for sale outside the government-run health insurance exchange, and Non-ACA plans like temporary health insurance.
Factors to consider while comparing the most important parts of health insurance:
Deductible and Maximum Out-of-pocket – Deductible is the amount that policyholders pay completely on their own before their health plans start covering. After meeting their deductible amount, policyholders are required to pay coinsurance until they hit their plan’s maximum out-of-pocket. After that, health insurance carriers pay for the rest of the covered in-network medical services for the rest of the year.
Copayments – It is the amount which policyholders pay while receiving healthcare services like filling a prescription, or visiting the doctor.
Monthly Premium – It is the amount that policyholders have to pay each month to stay enrolled. People receiving subsidies can use to pay for part or all of the premium cost.
Type of Health Plan and Network Provider – While comparing health plans, policyholders should look for health plans having costs that are equal to or better than what they are about to auto-enroll in. Policyholders should check the in-depth details of different types of plans and their benefits. The major differences between different plans are in the process of seeing doctors, and the number of doctors available.
How to Cancel your Auto-Enrollment?
Policyholders if they wish to cancel their auto-enrollment, then they need to call their insurance company or can log into this year’s application on healthcare.gov or their state’s exchange. On the “My Coverage” page of their application, policyholders need to select the “STOP COVERAGE” button at the bottom of the page. After stopping people need to call their insurance provider and confirm it. People can cancel their auto-enrollment even without selecting a new plan but they should keep in mind that if they do this, then they will be without health insurance.
Paying Attention to Automatic Enrollment is Essential
ACA compliant health insurance plans last only for a maximum of one year, and so when policyholders pick a health plan they may have chosen for automatic renewal for some years. However, in the beginning, this was designed to be harmless for consumers but with time health insurance companies regularly change their health insurance products from year to year, thereby leaving consumers with an altogether different policy than the one, which they have initially chosen.
Reasons why Automatic Health Insurance Renewal Affect Policyholders
No Option to Cancel the Plan – Auto-renewals of health plans in the initial years of the ACA implementation took place with weeks of the annual sign-up period remaining. However, open enrollment now ends in mid-December in the majority of the states. Once the current plan of the policyholders has been auto-renewed or substituted with a different plan if the previous plan is not available, then they simply can’t switch to some other plan. Earlier policyholders still had a chance to switch the coverage if they were auto-enrolled in a bad health plan because the open enrollment was extended until the new year, but this is not the case anymore.
Policyholders switched to an entirely different health plan – Policyholders in America have also reported about the cases where they have been switched to an entirely different health plan. There is a change in the plan, health insurance carrier, and even in the metal level of the plan. The health insurance carriers might auto-enroll the insured in a different plan and they will not be able to know about it until it happens. This can be a complete shock situation for the consumers.
Miss Out Discounts – If policyholders auto-enroll in a health plan without adjusting their household information and income, then there are chances that they could lose out on generous subsidies in their favor. There is also a chance that they are receiving advance credit payments on their premium based on their outdated information, due to which they might owe money to the government.
Change in cost of the current plans – Even if the policyholders are enrolling in the same plan they had last year, then also there is a possibility of changes in the plan. Since health plans are not the same every year, and coverages and prices can seemingly increase by any amounts. If the policyholders are receiving premium subsidies and the subsidy amount change in their plan’s pre-subsidy premium, then also the price can increase. Besides, every year there is an increase in the highest out-of-pocket maximums by several hundred dollars, so the plan’s deductible and out-of-pocket maximum increases even if the rest of the plan stays the same.
The arrival of Competitive Plans – Many states in America have come up with cost-effective health plans offering some really good benefits. Even potentially free option like the expanded bronze plan has also entered the market, thus giving some lucrative options to policyholders. Therefore, it is beneficial that they check the latest offerings instead of sticking to their old plans.
Auto-Renewal is not always fruitful – Policyholders should be aware of the fact that if their current plan no longer is available for sale, or if there is a drastic change in the plan, then their auto-enrollment alarm doesn’t go off. Though policyholders are notified of the impending auto-renewal and potential plan change, there are chances that policyholders may not notice the notification. In such cases, the health insurance provider chooses a plan and auto-enroll them. They usually pick a plan that is close to the plan which they earlier had. However, many times the choice may not be the same, and the plan may not be the one which they would have picked. In case if the health insurance companies are not around to suggest, then policyholders are provided with a plan that has few similarities with their current plan, even if it is not the plan which one would have wanted.