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February 10, 2015

Here’s what you need to know about getting health insurance for 2018

Health Insurance Insurance

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Stock_Carroll - Hospital ER Stethescope Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice

Open Enrollment is the best time to get low cost, high quality insurance for the upcoming year. The Open Enrollment Period runs from November 1 to December 15, 2017. If you need insurance, you can enroll here.

There are compelling reasons for people to get health insurance and chief among them is this: individuals and families who have health insurance tend to be healthier because they see their doctors more often for routine checkups. Health issues can be addressed well before they become problems.

It’s been proven in study after study – access to preventive care and wellness information will not only address an illness or accident now, but will help to keep you healthy in the future.

Being healthy makes everything else in life better

Even for the young and super healthy, insurance matters. The most vital among us is a simple slip on the sidewalk away from a costly visit to the emergency room. A key part of the rationale behind insurance is to protect people from getting hit with high, unexpected bills when circumstances send them to the hospital.

Nationally, the average cost of an ER visit can exceed $2,000, and a 3-day hospital stay is about $30,000. Tending to a leg broken in a simple household fall might run you about $7,500. A typical hospital’s charge for delivering a baby is around $3,500, and that if a Caesarean delivery is required – more and more common these days – the cost increases significantly. And those are relatively modest charges compared to say, a hip replacement, which will be about $39,000.

It’s daunting to ponder life without health insurance when you think about what could conceivably happen. But the good news is quality, affordable coverage is out there. With reliable health insurance, you’ll reap daily health benefits from easy access to routine health and wellness care and you’ll have significant protection for your wallet, your savings, and your family’s financial well-being.

It’s about more than money – it’s the law

Health insurance is not just a financial safety net – it’s also required by law. The Affordable Care Act specifies that individuals who want coverage beginning on January 1, 2018 must enroll by December 15, 2017. If you don’t have insurance, a penalty may eventually be assessed upon filing federal taxes for the calendar year just past.

Here’s the good news: the federal government provides financial help to eligible households who purchase their own health insurance. Depending on your income, you may qualify for financial assistance in the form of subsidies or tax credits. Find out if you qualify here.

Keep the basics in mind

As you shop for insurance options, remember that there are three particular concerns that dictate the appropriateness of a particular policy or coverage:

1. Premium vs. deductible. The monthly charge you pay must be balanced against the deductible – the amount you must pay out of pocket before insurance coverage “kicks in.” A high deductible can erase the benefits of an economical monthly payment should illness or accident strike.

2. Co-pay amount. These are the fees you must pay each time you visit a doctor or pick up a prescription at your pharmacy. Co-pays are flat fees.

3. A preference for doctors or hospitals. If you are picky about your health care provider or the hospital or medical center you’ll visit, it’s crucial that you make sure you choose a plan whose network includes those providers.

The bottom line: whatever you do, don’t make the mistake of thinking, as some young and healthy people do, that they simply don’t need health insurance. For so many reasons, nothing could be further from the truth.

Choosing the right insurance can seem overwhelming, but Independence Blue Cross has a simple tool that helps you pick the best plan, for the best price. Remember, the Open Enrollment deadline is December 15. Visit today so you can choose the right plan, see if you qualify for health coverage with $0 monthly premiums, and most of all, have peace of mind.

This article has been updated with Open Enrollment information for coverage beginning on January 1, 2018.

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