If you bought health insurance in the new Marketplace last year, you will automatically be reenrolled for the same coverage if you don’t log in to your account at www.healthcare.gov and make a change. That may seem like the easiest route, but it could backfire. Here are some reasons for avoiding the “automatic pilot” option:
- Insurance policies can and do change from year to year. Deductibles, co-payments and premiums can change, along with specific coverage details such as the list of preferred medications, the coverage of specific procedures, or whether you must meet the deductible before the plan will pay for particular services. If you automatically renew, there is a chance that you may be caught by surprise.
- Your health needs may have changed since last year. Perhaps you chose a bronze plan last year because you didn’t expect many health expenses, but next year looks different because you may need surgery or some other kind of treatment or care.
- Your income and family composition may have changed since last year. If you do not log into your account and make adjustments in your profile, then the amount of your advance premium tax credit may be far off-target, causing financial hardship.
Now is the time to start thinking about your coverage options for next year. If your current plan sends you information about changes in your policy for next year, be sure to study the changes planned. In addition, think about your family’s health care needs — do you expect next year to be about the same as this year?
The Health Insurance Marketplace opens November 15. It will remain open until February 15, 2015, but if you want to make changes or enroll in coverage that will be effective on January 1, you will need to log in and select your plan by December 15.