Help! My health insurance is being canceled!
Several hundred thousand Americans — reportedly 250,000 in Virginia alone — either have already been notified or will be notified soon by their health insurance company that their plan is being canceled effective December 31, 2014.
The canceled plans are those which do not fully comply with the provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), otherwise known as Obamacare.
What should I do if I get a cancellation notice?
The notification letters are coming fast and furious, and our phone lines and email are buzzing with people wondering what to do.
The first thing is — Don’t panic!
Next, read through the rest of this post for important information, including key deadlines you must meet to avoid a gap in coverage.
By law, your health insurance carrier must give you at least 60 days notice of a cancellation. This means most people will get word of their plan’s cancellation by November 1, 2014.
My carrier wants to “map” me to a new plan. Should I do it?
The short answer is Maybe. But not before you’ve researched your options!
Your carrier will offer to automatically “map” you to another of its plans which is similar to yours, but is fully compliant with the law.
However, if you are like many people, the “mapped” plan may have much higher premiums than your current plan.
Before you simply allow the carrier to automatically enroll you in a more expensive plan, we encourage you to explore all of your options. Remember, there are many health insurance companies, each offering many different plans. It is possible you can find a plan that better suits both your insurance needs and your budget.
Finding the right plan can be a trade off between benefit levels and cost, and depends upon things like your current health status, where you live, your income level, the doctors you wish to see, the medications you take, etc.
You need to weigh your options and choose the best plan for your specific needs.
When should I look for new coverage?
In order to avoid a gap in coverage, you must be enrolled in a new plan effective January 1, 2015.
Open Enrollment for 2015 health insurance begins on November 15, 2014.
But in order to have coverage in place by January 1, you must enroll no later than December 15, 2014.
So, essentially you will have one month — from November 15 to December 15, 2014 — in which to enroll and avoid a gap in coverage.
Although many carriers have yet to release their plans and rates for 2015 coverage, we are able to access that information now for certain carrier(s).
How should I start looking for new coverage?
1. Take the time to understand basic health insurance terminology and lingo so when you’re exploring your options, you understand what you’re reading. Click here for a glossary of terms. Click here for a description of various plan types.
2. Start thinking about your own needs. Ask yourself some questions to help you figure out what you need in a health plan:
Is there a certain doctor you wish to see? What is your monthly budget for premiums? Is there a particular treatment you know you will need? Do you have a health condition which requires frequent doctor visits or are you relatively healthy and don’t see the doctor very much?
3. Contact your doctor’s office to see which plans they are participating with.
4. Call or email us at Virginia Medical Plans. Reach us by phone 1-800-867-0800 or email email@example.com. We can help you understand your options.
Please be patient as we are experiencing a high volume of calls and emails.