I was reading an article from the Washington post this morning and it informed me that “The White House has made a conscious decision to hold off on public outreach and education [for the upcoming Marketplaces] until right before open enrollment.”
I've got a big problem with this and you should too.
Waiting until the last minute to deal with your health insurance is NEVER a good idea, and more often than not leads to problems you don't need.
What's the Problem?
The Obama administration is “holding off” it's outreach on his presidency defining legislation because “there's no point pitching a product until it's almost on the shelves.”
That's great, if you're buying a bean bag chair.
We're dealing with health insurance here, you know, the thing that's suppose to protect you from potentially one of, if not the most serious financial emergencies you could ever encounter.
But hey, you only need a few days to make an educated, informed decision about something like that. Why would you want to take advantage of the next 100 days to learn as much as you can and make sure you and your family are properly protected and making the best decision?
The more I think and write about this, the more upset I get.
Everyone has been going back and forth about how vitally important health insurance is for every american to have, yet the legislation they passed is so confusing, people who have been dealing with it for 30 years are having a hard time making sense of it.
If it's so important, it should be treated with the respect it needs and deserves, not thrown at you in the 25th hour and rushed into a decision.
Why You Shouldn't Wait
Here's a chart Kevin Walsh, a top executive at Xerox and key player building Utah's Marketplace, has been passing around to illustrate the complexity of the project.
If it's that complicated for them to try and sell you health insurance, don't you think you will at least have a little homework of your own to do?
I thought I would put together a chart that would help simplify your role in all this and how you can go about getting the proper information.
Now this isn't going to suggest someone like me will be able to solve all of your health insurance problems, however it is to help you identify them and give you enough time to properly prepare.
What Problems Could You Have?
Your first problem will be simply understanding the new system and the different options that have been created as a result.
Those are to buy your health insurance inside or out of these new marketplaces. Blindly assuming you should or have to buy your health insurance from them would be mistake number one.
If you don't qualify for federal tax credits, buying from the marketplace is probably not in your best interest, since it looks like several insurance companies will not be selling plans there. Thus limiting your options for no reason.
You next option will be understanding the different plans, or medals, and how much is or is not covered. More importantly how much needs to be covered.
Any Other Problems?
The last problem that there may not be an answer too, is affordability.
Yep, you read that right.
You might be screaming at your computer screen, “IT'S CALLED THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT, JOEY!”
First, I forgive you for yelling at me. Yes, you're right, it is. However, if you don't qualify for those tax credits, you should/can expect to pay a lot more for your health insurance next year.
This is a problem that you will unlikely be able to solve in 100 days, but every minute helps. If you know now that you need to start setting aside extra money to pay for health insurance, you will be better prepared when the time comes.
Or you can wait... And have the government tell you the night before that you will have to pay 88 percent more for your health insurance.
The Bottom Line
These are just a few of the BIG questions you are going to want/need answered before you start your post healthcare reform journey. I always tell every potential client, “the more time the better” when making a health insurance decision. I have yet to see a reason to stop giving this advice, so do yourself a favor and start educating yourself now.
That's why I'm excited to announce the release of our new guide “How to Understand Ohio's Health Insurance Marketplace." This guide will continue to be updated as new information becomes available, however it will give you the best chance to start learning now.
Just click the nice big button below to get your very own free copy.
What do you think. where are you at on your marketplace education?