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Here’s When You Should Change Your Health Insurance Plan

Has Your Family Grown Recently? You May Want to Consider Changing Your Insurance Plan

For many people, health insurance is one of those things that they don’t think about… until they need it. And let’s admit it- more than a few of us have picked plans semi-blindly, not having a true picture of the benefits or exactly what we’re getting into. While it’s not the best way to shop for health insurance; that approach nothing to be ashamed of; after all, insurance terminology can be complex to those who are unfamiliar with the business, and for those who are young and healthy, sometimes it’s easy to think “why would I need this if I rarely get sick?”

Time has a way of making sure we pay more attention to these things, which leaves some people unsure of whether their frustrations with health insurance plans are part of the status quo or are issues that should be fixed. This often leads people to wonder “how can I change my health insurance plan mid-enrollment?” While that’s another question for another day, here are a few ways to know when you should change your health insurance.

When You’re Paying for Preventative Care

By law, all ACA-compliant health plans- in other words, health insurance plans that meet the minimum standard of “Obamacare“- MUST include free access to preventative care services such as flu shots and blood pressure screenings (read more about the covered preventative services here). In addition, they must provide some level of coverage for mental health care, which we’ve covered in this article here.

If your health plan does not include coverage for these services, it’s time to consider a change.

When Your Healthcare Needs Have Changed

Have you just made it through “the other side” of a serious health condition? Have you made a major lifestyle change, such as losing a major amount of weight? Have you moved on from a job that involved a major amount of physical strain? These are all examples of major health changes that may cause some to consider dialing back their health insurance coverage.

When Your Family Needs Have Changed

Are you one of the 1.4% of Americans that have had a baby in the last year? Are you planning to have a new addition to your family soon? Will your partner be eligible for medicare within the next year? Then it may be time for you to evaluate changing health insurance plans to better suit your family’s needs.

When You Don’t Go to the Doctor… Because You Can’t Afford It

The whole point of having health insurance is to help reduce the cost of caring for one’s health. This is why one of the great ironies of our time is that thousands and thousands of people who have health insurance skip doctor’s visits when they’re sick or neglect refilling prescriptions… because it’s too expensive!

If this is the case, it’s definitely time to consider switching health plans. Even if you don’t switch health plans, then you may want to consider an HSA- a Health Savings Account- if it’s available through your health insurance provider.

Another Way to Find Out If You Should Change Your Health Insurance

There are many other situations that may cause people to consider changing their health insurance. Our team of experts can help you understand whether or not the time is right for you, and can help you find a plan that will suit your needs if you’re ready to change. Call the Health Plan Options Today team hotline at 888-375-8879 to speak with the team directly, or click the link below and we’ll get in touch with you.

Photo by Anastasiya Gepp from Pexels

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You Should Think About Using Your Health Insurance’s Mental Health Services

Mental health is no longer the taboo topic that it once was, and thanks to changes in health insurance law, mental health care is now more accessible than ever.

If one thing has changed in American healthcare over the last 10 years, aside from the emergence and acceptance of the Affordable Care Act, it has been our society’s increased acceptance of mental health services as an important part of healthcare.

Health Insurance For Mental Health

In decades past, mental health support was seen as something taboo, and was probably joked about in movies and tv shows more than it was taken seriously. Many people saw mental health services as something for “rich people” and “crazy people”, and in reality, these services were out of reach for most people. Mental health professionals were hard to find, and many health insurance plans did not support mental health services, so people had to pay out-of-pocket to access these services, making them unaffordable to much of the population.

The Laws That Changed Everything
Biden Signs Executive Order for ACA
President Obama and then-Vice President Biden in office in the early 2010’s. “Obamacare” marked a major national shift in access to mental health services.

In 1996, access to mental health coverage began to shift with the introduction of the Mental Health Parity Act. The Mental Health Parity Act, or MHPA for short, and its later relative, the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008, stated that employer-sponsored health insurance had to include mental health coverage, and insinuated that health insurance companies should treat mental health coverage as equal to other parts of medical coverage.

These laws proved to be a double-edged sword. On the positive end, they did help provide mental health benefits for people who did not have access to it before. The drawbacks were that there was no protection for those who had mental health issues as a pre-existing condition, so insurance companies could use mental health screenings as a reason to deny people. Also these laws did nothing to cover the millions of low-income people who didn’t have health plans, who (statistically speaking) were likely to be more in need of mental health services.

The Affordable Care Act

When the Affordable Care Act was introduced in 2010, it marked an even greater shift in the way Americans could access mental health care. At the time, the opioid crisis was peaking in America, and treatment was now seen as the morally correct way to address the issue (as opposed to jail time). A wide-ranging solution was needed.

The introduction of the Affordable Care Act provided a worthwhile solution. Mental health support was one of Obamacare’s original “10 essential services“, meaning that all health plans on the public healthcare marketplace had to include coverage for mental health services, and people could not be denied for pre-existing mental health issues. In addition, Medicaid and Medicare began covering mental health services as well. This was important because it set a precedent for health plans outside of the public marketplace to do the same in order to remain competitive. That being said, even 10 years later, mental health support is one of the most underused parts of health insurance.

What Type of Mental Health Services Does Health Insurance Cover?

Although the cost and extent of support available varies by plan, there are certain services that must be offered by every plan under the Affordable Care Act standard. They are as follows:

  • Behavioral Treatment (for example psychotherapy and counseling):
    • Outpatient individual counseling or group therapy sessions
    • Diagnostic services such as psychological evaluation and testing services
    • Ongoing outpatient treatment, including medication management and psychiatric treatment programs
  • Substance abuse (also known as substance use disorder) treatment:
    • Outpatient diagnostic and treatment services for chemical or alcohol dependency
    • Medical services for withdrawal symptoms, such as inpatient detoxification services
    • Substance use disorder recovery services, including counseling and educational resources
  • Mental and behavioral health inpatient services
    • Mental health care if you’re admitted to a psychiatric facility.
  • Additional provisions for preventative care
    • There are preventative care services in the ACA that pertain to mental health, such as depression and alcohol abuse screenings.

Once again, this is just a baseline; it is best to check with your health insurance provider to see exactly what services are provided via your plan.

Do You Need A Health Insurance Plan That Covers Mental Health Services?

If you think you need mental health services and don’t have health insurance, don’t fret. HealthPlanOptionsToday can help you find a plan that will get you started on the road toward wellness. Call us at 888-375-8879 for more information, or click the button below and we’ll get in touch with you.

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Health Insurance After Divorce: What Are My Options?

What Happens To Health Insurance After A Divorce?

Divorce is not an easy topic to talk about. While the questions of “who gets the house”, and “what will happen with the kids?” are obviously the most pressing questions in this situation, divorce is so complex that there are likely hundreds of procedural questions that must be confronted before, during and after a split.

“I’m on my spouse’s health insurance, what will happen to me after we split?”

-The Most Important Divorce Question That No One Thinks About

After a divorce, your former spouse is supposed to cover your health insurance premiums but this only happens for a time. Many people forget that if paying the premiums is not part of the divorce settlements, you will be dropped from the other party’s health insurance plan once the divorce is settled. This is the reason why it is recommended that you know your options before taking up a health insurance plan. Here are a few options that you should consider for health insurance after a divorce.

COBRA and Divorce

A divorce will mean that you are left without your partner’s company health insurance plan. However, COBRA guarantees that you are still entitled to up to 30 months of insurance coverage (the length of the duration of cover is dependent on the circumstances of the divorce.) To qualify for COBRA extended coverage, your ex must be working in a firm with more than 20 employees. 

However, there are some states with mini-COBRA that cover businesses with less than 20 employees. once the COBRA health insurance coverage is terminated, you are required to re-apply for the same within 60 days, only this time you will be the one paying premiums and not your former spouse’s employer. COBRA is appealing to divorced individuals who have already accrued a significant amount of medical expenses as they do not have to start over once their COBRA insurance policy is terminated.

Employer Health Insurance Coverage After Divorce

After a divorce, you are eligible for health insurance from the employer provided that you are under active employment. This option is considered to be more cost-effective compared to COBRA and does not drag your ex-partner into paying your premiums. However, one thing you need to understand is that this option can only be accessed during specific periods during the year. There are unique situations that can give you special enrollment to the Employer Health Insurance Plan as it is the case with a divorce.

How Divorce Affects Obamacare Health Plan

The good thing why you should consider Obamacare health insurance is because even with your employer’s health insurance plan, you are still eligible for the latter. This is because Obamacare is either run by the state or the federal governments. Obamacare is almost similar to the employer health insurance plan since you have 60 days after a divorce to apply for coverage during a period referred to as a special enrollment period. If the 60 days lapse without you having applied for Obamacare health insurance, then you would have to wait for the regular enrollment period that takes place towards the end of the year.

Short Term Health Insurance for Divorcees

Short-term health insurance is a good option for people who cannot afford Obamacare or feel that they are likely to get formal employment in the near future. Of course not every health insurance plan matches your budget for the same. There are a number of things that you should know about short term health insurance one of them being that this option is not for people with pre-existing medical conditions. This blanket exclusion sometimes makes this option unattractive to people since Obamacare and the employer plan allow people with pre-existing conditions to enroll.

In the event of a divorce, finding the right health insurance option should not be problematic as long as you know what to look for in the right plan. Divorce is a difficult event and if your judgment is clouded, chances are that you will rush to choose a health insurance plan that is not ideal for you and your family. For this reason, be sure to use Health Plan Options Today to help find a plan that will usher in the next chapter of your life while guaranteeing good health and wellness. Click the button below or call our hotline at 888-375-8879 to get started on your journey.