Health Insurance Changes in 2016: What You Need to Know

The passing of the Affordable Care Act, the launch of HealthCare.gov, and the establishment of numerous health insurance marketplaces all marked important changes in the infrastructure of health insurance around the country. More changes are coming in 2016, partly as a result of government changes on the national level and partly because of market shifts in response to these changes. Thankfully, you can make sure that you stay ahead of the curve by keeping track of the expected health insurance changes in 2016, including these five important projections:

1. Higher premiums

As in 2014 and 2015, health insurance premiums are expected to increase by about 5 percent – which may not seem like a lot, but adds up when considering the cost of insurance for employees, dependents, and spouses. Most large employers plan to have employees cover about 20 percent of their own premiums and 24 percent of their dependents’ premiums.

2. High deductibles

High-deductible health insurance plans will grow in popularity as 83 percent of employers turn to a consumer-directed health insurance plan in 2016. Depending upon your employer, you may have a choice to select the high-deductible plan, or may have it as the only option.

3. Higher non-compliance penalties

The Affordable Care Act mandated that all U.S. citizens must have adequate health insurance, and in 2016 the penalties for not complying with this law are expected to rise sharply. Consumers who choose not to purchase health insurance will have to pay the greater of either a $695 fee or 2.5 percent of their modified adjusted gross income.

4. Telemedicine options

Many health insurance plans will start to offer telemedicine options, which are medical consultations with a licensed physician that take place through digital means, such as video communication. This can affect how you meet with a physician as well as how much you have to co-pay for doctors’ visits.

5. Cash for wellness programs

Many employers, looking to prevent employees’ health problems rather than deal with them as they come along, plan to offer health insurance breaks for employees who join a wellness program, health assessment or biometric exam, otherwise known as “cash for wellness” programs. In 2016, this could affect your health insurance costs as well as your own well-being.

If you have any questions on how the expected insurance changes in 2016 could affect you, or if you would just like to review your current policy, contact Waitte’s Insurance Agency.

Connecticut Health Insurance: What Could Affect Your Premiums?

While the month of February includes Valentine’s Day, the time to consider those near and dear to your heart, it’s also the month to remember to care for your actual heart. February is American Heart Month, which is a designated time to raise awareness of the factors that contribute to good heart health. Among these factors are exercising regularly, a diet featuring plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, and controlling stress. Without these daily habits, not only will your physical health suffer, but your Connecticut Health Insurance premiums could also be affected.

What Determines My Connecticut Health Insurance Premiums?

Age:

Obviously, you cannot turn back the clock, but you do need to be aware that as a general rule, people over the age of sixty pay more (sometimes as much as 3 times more) for their health insurance than someone under that age. Younger people tend to be healthier, and as a group, file fewer claims than older policyholders. If you are over sixty, even if you are in perfect health, you can expect to pay more than someone in their twenties, even if that person has a chronic health condition. However, pre-existing conditions at any age do not warrant an increase in health insurance rates.

Tobacco Use:

Smoking’s negative effect on health is well documented and tobacco use is second only to age as a predictor of mortality. So it’s no surprise that smokers pay up to fifty percent more for coverage than non-smokers. The good news, of course, is if you are a smoker you can quit! Although you need to be aware that individual insurance carriers can impose a waiting period from between one and five years after you quit smoking before your rate comes down.

Profession And Income:

Let’s face it, some jobs are more inherently dangerous than others. While worker’s compensation is expected to cover most on-the-job accidents, if you cannot prove your illness or injury was directly caused by your job, you will be expected to assume the cost of treatment.

If you are in a low-income bracket with a household income of between 100% and 400% of the Federal Poverty Level and you do not have access to employer-sponsored coverage, you may qualify for tax credits. If your income falls below 138% of the Federal Poverty Level you may be able to take advantage of Medicaid or CHIP and enroll in their low cost or even free programs.

Where You Live:

The area where you live may have an impact on your insurance rates, as some areas have been identified as having a higher proportion of unhealthy residents. Perhaps this is due to poor environmental conditions, little access to healthy foods and other factors. These types of location-based assessments are frowned upon by regulators, as they may lead to discriminatory practices, so check with your carrier to assess their standards.

Marital Status:

People who are married tend to live longer, engage in less risky behavior and take better care of themselves than single people, so it’s no surprise that a married person’s insurance rate will most likely be lower than a single person who otherwise has the same risk profile.

Number of People Covered By Your Policy:

It just makes sense that the more people who are covered by the policy, the more the policy will cost. Do the calculations to make sure that getting individual coverage for each party who needs insurance would not be more expensive that getting a policy that covers everyone. Discounts can be granted to those with multiple people on their policy, so look into all of your options.

Ignoring the fixable factors that determine your Connecticut Health Insurance can be costly. Continue best practices towards a healthy lifestyle and your insurance premiums will surely follow suit.

If you have any questions regarding your current health insurance coverage, please call our office at (860) 886-1961.