It's that fantastic time of year again, you know, the time you get to pay more for the same thing you already have.
If it feels like you're the only one, don't worry it's happening to everyone. There's plenty of reasons for this, but explaining them right now won't do much to calm the quiet homicidal rage you might be feeling.
With that being said, my job here at Giangola Insurance is to help you push that rage aside long enough to identify the "best" plan for you or your family.
It's something I help thousands of people do every year.
So much so that this is the sixth installment of the "Best Health Insurance Plans in Ohio" list.
The Best Ohio Health Insurance Plans in 2017
The Best Ohio Health Insurance Plans in 2016
The Best Ohio Health Insurance Plans in 2015
The Best Ohio Health Insurance Plans in 2014
The Best and Worst Ohio Health Insurance Plans in 2013
What You Need To Know First
Say goodbye to your PPO
As far as I can tell, you will not be able to buy a plan in Ohio with a full PPO network. Sadly, your choices will all be HMO plans.
If you're not sure what the difference is, check out PPO Vs. HMO: What's the Difference and Which is Better?
Where Did the Cleveland Clinic Go?
If you live in the Northeast Ohio area, it might have come as a bit of shock to learn that Medical Mutual would no longer include the largest hospital system in its network.
Anthem's Out in Ohio
Like Aetna and United last year, Anthem is gracefully pulling their hat from the health insurance ring in Ohio this year.
That means you'll need to find a new health insurance company this year and there's good chance you won't be thrilled with your options.
Now that we got that out of the way, let's get on with the list.
Medical Mutual's HMO 6400 HSA
Deductible: $6,400 (Single) $12,800 (Family)
Coinsurance: 0 Percent after deductible
Out-of-Pocket Max: $6,400 (Single) $12,800 (Family)
NOTE: For Medical Mutual's plans, the word "Market" will appear in the name of the plan if you are buying it through healthcare.gov to collect your tax credit (if you qualify for one).
This plan has found itself on the list for a staggering five years in a row. This plan represents the best option to save the most money.
This plan is such a steady performer that here's what I said about it last year.
"It's hard to fall in love with this plan without doing some serious math first. This plan also routinely falls under the "it's all I can afford" category.
Before you put your foot in your mouth and say something you can't take back, you will want to see how much this plan costs you and figure out how much money it will save you in comparison to a lower deductible.
Yes paying $12,800 up front before the plan "kicks in" is a pretty scary proposition, but the question you need to ask yourself is how much did you pay toward your deductible last year?
If your answer is $500, $1,000, $2,000 or even $3,000 than you have probably been wasting your money on a plan with a lower deductible.
The worst thing in health insurance is just meeting your deductible or barely going over it. If that's happened to you, than your health insurance company won big time.
Your medical expenses need to be guaranteed to exceed your deductible by a couple thousand dollars for that lower deductible to make financial sense.
That is of course if you want to get the most out of the policy."
Every word of it is still true for 2018.
Medical Mutual's HMO 4000 HSA
Deductible: $4,000 (Single) $8,000 (Family)
Coinsurance: 0 Percent after deductible
Out-of-Pocket Max: $4,000 (Single) $8,000 (Family)
This plan used to occupy my favorite spot for a Health Savings Account plan. That was until the cost of almost all silver plans started getting a little out of control.
You're going to find that when you crunch the numbers, unless your have a substantial amount of medical bills on a monthly or yearly basis, this plan is going to cost you more than it's worth.
Of course, there's no one stopping you from buying it if you "feel better" having a lower deductible. The odds are just stacked against you for getting the most out of it.
But, the plan is pretty straight forward, you pay for the full discounted rated of all covered medical services up to the deductible. After that Medical Mutual will pay for everything else for the rest of the year that is covered under the plan.
There are no copay's for doctor's visits or prescription medications.
Worried about not having a copay, don't be.
Medical Mutual's HMO 2000/30
Deductible: $2,000 (Single) $4,000 (Family)
Coinsurance: 30 percent after the deductible
Out-of-Pocket Max: $7,150 (Single) $14,300 (Family)
Let's cut to the chase right away. If you need a plan with copay's for doctor's visits and prescription medication, this is one of the better choices you can make.
That means your prescription medication costs should be over $200 or $300 a month. You should also being seeing your primary doctor or specialist more than four or five times a year as well.
If neither of those things are true for you then this plan will probably be a waste of money. Again, outside of the comfort factor that you feel having a low deductible, the monthly cost associated with this plan will create a much more unpleasant feeling on your monthly cash flow.
Of course, it's up to you to determine how much your "comfort" is worth to you.
Cleveland Clinic + Oscar Bronze Plan
Deductible: $3,500 (Single) $7,000 (Family)
Coinsurance: 50 Percent after deductible
Out-of-Pocket Max: $7,350 (Single) $14,700 (Family)
If I'm really being honest, this plan is only on the list for anyone who ABSOLUTELY needs/wants the Cleveland Clinic available in-network.
Oscar only has three plans available (Gold, Silver, Bronze) so really you might want to consider looking at all of them. The biggest factor is their partnership with Cleveland Clinic.
If I'm being honest again, I'm really not sure what to make of the three plans they are selling.
Deductible: $7,350 (Single), $14,700 (Family)
Coinsurance: 0 percent after the deductible
Out-Of-Pocket Maximum: $7,350 (Single), $14,700 (Family)
This plan is going to be cheap enough for you to think longer than necessary about it. On top of that, it isn't HSA eligible. If you aren't planning on taking advantage of the tax deductible money offered with an HSA account then this plan might do it for you.
From an out-of-pocket max standard, your risk isn't that much greater and it will be your overall cheapest option.
What About Those Other Companies?
This year it's turned into a game of last man standing. It's very possible you're looking at the choices available to you and saying "that's it?"
The answer is, "unfortunately, yes."
Companies that didn't appear on the list that might be your only choice for 2018 are AMBetter, CareSource, Molina, Sumacare, Paramount and Premier.
They all still don't have enough to get my vote of confidence, unless it's your only choice. Then, what other choice do you have?
The Bottom Line
Just when you think things can't get worse or more interesting, they do.
You're going to have a lot of tough decisions to make this year when it comes to picking a health insurance plan and company.
Unless you were already on an HMO plan with a hospital network of your choice, you're going to need to decide what compromises are most important to you.
Most of the time you'll be faced with choosing a reliable health insurance company and possibly sacrificing your preferred doctors. On the other hand you can choose to take a chance on your health insurance company to secure as many of your preferred doctors as possible.
If you're able to align both of those things this year, you're one of the very few lucky people buying health insurance in Ohio.
In my opinion Medical Mutual is the only solid health insurance company still in the game. If you can make it work with the network they're offering in your area that would be the first place I would start.
Again, it's important to remember that this list was created to highlight the best all-around health insurance options for you. If you want to get a little more specific, let me know.
Let's put this list to the test and let me know what specific questions you have about picking the right plan for 2018?