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Guest editorial: Five tips for shopping for the health plan that best fits you

Posted: December 9th, 2016 | Editorial, Featured, Opinions | No Comments

Covered California’s three-month open-enrollment period started Nov.1, but now is still a great time to shop for the best fit for your health coverage.

Approximately 1.4 million people are enrolled in a health plan through Covered California, yet it is estimated that thousands of LGBT Californians remain uninsured, even though nine out of 10 of them are eligible for thousands of dollars in federal subsidies to help them pay their monthly premiums.

San Diego is one of the four counties throughout the state that has a large lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community who can benefit from the increased coverage and services being offered.

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Covered California volunteers march in the San Francisco Pride parade. (Courtesy Covered California)

During open enrollment, which runs through Jan. 31, 2017, consumers can choose among 11 name-brand health insurance plans that offer high-quality and affordable coverage. Here are some helpful tips.

  1. Shop, shop, shop around.

Covered California’s online Shop and Compare Tool provides consumers with detailed information about various health plans in specific regions throughout the state. You can compare premium costs, the four pricing tiers, and subsidies available to help you pay for coverage.

With some health insurance premium costs expected to rise in 2017, the Shop and Compare Tool allows consumers to evaluate their options.

Try out the Shop and Compare Tool at /bit.ly/2f53ZME.

  1. Get in-person help to find the best value.

Health insurance is complicated. Getting help choosing the right plan and completing the application is free and confidential. There are thousands of Covered California certified insurance agents and enrollment counselors located throughout the state. They can help guide you to the health plan that is the best-fit and best value for you and your family.

Find free local help at coveredca.com/get-help/local/ to enroll.

  1. Check out provider networks.

If you want to visit a particular doctor, be sure to check with the specific health plan to confirm that the physicians you want to see are indeed in the plan’s network of doctors. In 2017, each enrollee in a Covered California health plan will be assigned a primary care physician.

Learn more about primary care physicians at bit.ly/2fhxHKd.

  1. Vision and dental plans offer added bonuses.

While children’s dental and vision coverage has always been included as part of all health insurance plans sold through Covered California, adults can now enroll in family dental and vision plans at competitive rates.

  1. Enroll early, get health coverage earlier.

Enrolling in a Covered California health plan by Dec. 15 allows you to start the New Year with coverage. Having health insurance in place starting Jan. 1 can reduce your worries about having to pay a tax penalties for not being covered, which are $695 per adult and half that amount for those under age 18 in the household or 2.5 percent of your family income — whichever is greater. Additionally, gone is the mental gamble of hoping nothing happens — such as a car accident, sports injury, or unexpected illness.

When it comes to your health, knowing that you are covered is the best plan.

Enroll online or with a Certified Insurance Agent or Certified Enrollment Counselor at coveredca.com.

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