Switching Marketplace plans resulted in significant savings for Virginia consumers

healthcareHealth and Human Services Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell announced today the findings of a new report that shows that Virginia consumers who reenrolled in the Health Insurance Marketplace last year and who switched to a plan with the same level of coverage saved $12 per month after tax credits, or $141 annually, relative to what they would have paid had they remained in the same plan as in 2014.  In total, returning Marketplace consumers who switched in Virginia saved $3,872,282 annually in premiums by shopping around last year.

Today’s report shows Virginia Marketplace consumers were active shoppers last year, with 28% percent of re-enrollees from 2014 switching to a new plan for 2015.

“Our message to returning Marketplace customers in Virginia is simple: Shopping may save you money,” Burwell said. “Virginia consumers who visited HealthCare.gov last year to comparison shop for the best plan saved $141 a year in premiums for the same level of coverage, and we expect people to be able to find similar deals for 2016. Consumers can visit HealthCare.gov today to preview plans in their area before Open Enrollment begins on November 1.”

Nationwide, during Open Enrollment in the Marketplace this coming year, if all consumers switched from their current plan to the lowest-cost premium plan in the same metal level, consumers could save an average of $610 annually before tax credits and the total savings – to consumers and taxpayers (in premiums and tax credits) – would be more than $4 billion. For 2016, more than 8 in 10 current Marketplace enrollees can find a lower premium plan in the same metal level before tax credits by returning to shop. Last year, HHS projected that if all returning consumers who bought a silver plan in 2014 switched to the lowest-cost silver plan in 2015, they would have saved an average of $492 annually.  If all returning consumers had switched to the lowest-cost plan within their metal level, across all metal levels, the total savings in premiums would have been over $2 billion before tax credits.

Today’s findings underscore that the Marketplace offers a competitive insurance market from which consumers can choose affordable health plans based on their specific needs and budget.  It also shows that consumers using HealthCare.gov are smart shoppers, who pay close attention to plan costs when making selections.

According to the report, historical estimates of plan switching among enrollees in employer sponsored insurance (2.8 percent), the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program (12 percent) and Medicare Drug Plans (13 percent) are low compared to Marketplace consumers.

HealthCare.gov offers detailed information about each health insurance plan sold in an area, including out-of-pocket costs, customer service and more. Consumers can visit the 2016 health insurance plans and prices tool on HealthCare.gov and use the new total yearly out-of-pocket cost estimator to learn more about their specific costs. Health insurance plans on the Marketplace are classified by metal level, which range from bronze, with the lowest premiums but the highest deductibles and co-pays, to platinum with the highest premiums and lowest deductibles and co-pays.

Open Enrollment in the Health Insurance Marketplace starts on November 1, 2015 and runs through January 31, 2016.  Sign up by December 15 to have coverage that starts January 1.  You can find help by calling 1-800-318-2596 (TTY: 1-855-889-4325) 24/7 or find free, confidential in-person assistance in your local area by visiting localhelp.healthcare.gov.

To read today’s report and to see state by state information on consumer choices visit: http://aspe.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/pdf/134556/Consumer_decisions_10282015.pdf

 

FIVE TIPS FOR RETURNING CONSUMERS TO SHOP & SAVE

  1. Renew your coverage starting on November 1. Starting on November 1, you can come back to the Marketplace, update your information and select a plan for 2016. You can choose to stay in your current plan if it’s still available – or – pick a new plan.
  1. Plans change every year. Plans on the Marketplace change every year and because of that, new, better and more affordable plans might be available in your area. You can visit HealthCare.gov now to check out your plan options for 2016 and prices through the recently launched window shopping feature.
  1. It pays to shop. Even if none of your information has changed, you may still be able to get a better deal.Marketplace consumers have the option to switch plans annually. This means that during Open Enrollment you can shop to see if there is a plan available that saves you more money, offers you more services, or includes more doctors.
  1. Lower premiums are available. Last year, consumers who shopped and switched plans saved an average of nearly $400 nationwide. And this year, more than 7 out of 10 current consumers will be able to find a plan with premiums less than $75.
  1. Make changes by December 15. If you want updates to your coverage to start on January 1, come back, update your info and make sure you have the best plan to meet your health and budget needs before theDecember 15 deadline.

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augusta free press news