yet another health insurance terror question
November 18, 2016 1:45 PM   Subscribe

when should i try to sign up for an ACA health plan?

i currently have COBRA coverage from my last job that will run through 03/31/17. it is extremely good health insurance, the best possible tier offered by that company. it is expensive but tbh the cost is negligible right now. i would like to keep this plan until its end in march of next year, but i'm concerned that if i don't sign up for ACA coverage before orange hitler's coronation, it might be made unavailable to me by that date.

i realize that by current law, i should have no problem signing up outside of the open registration period, but i am intensely paranoid and intensely stressed about this and i'm wondering if i shouldn't just give up the excellent plan early and sign up for a state plan during open registrations in december.

currently only 3 of my 10 doctors (yes, 10 doctors that i see on a regular basis, welcome to my fun and exciting life) take any ACA plans at all, so i will either have one month or 4 months to find replacements.

what do i do help
posted by poffin boffin to Health & Fitness (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
All the pundits that I have read say that any change to Obamacare will not be effective for at least a year due to contracts that have already be signed, and probably not for at least two years. The one summary of possible republican "replacement" plans that I have read suggests they will offer cheaper, but crappier, insurance. However, I'd bet a bunch that Congress will still be arguing about what do come March.
posted by SemiSalt at 1:51 PM on November 18, 2016

Everything for 2017 seems to be locked in, which is good in terms of ACA plans not being cancelled. The change I think will be made first (according to things I've read/heard) will be to drop the requirement for purchasing a healthcare plan. Once that happens, insurance companies have less of a motivation to work with the govt and offer plans with terms that are helpful to people.
Most of what I've been reading says that the 2 things that people like even if they hate ACA are the extended coverage years for young adults under their parents plan and the inability to refuse people for preexisting conditions.
In other words, you will most likely still be able to purchase a plan in 2017 and it will be the same as now in terms of the offerings. But as soon as Trump's changes go into action (2018 at the earliest), the plans themselves might get more expensive and cover less and also be optional. Since you do want to buy a plan, the plan you get in 2018 might be crappy.
Maybe you will have another employer insurance plan by then though?

It's scary but I think waiting til March is going to be ok for you.
posted by rmless at 1:57 PM on November 18, 2016

I agree; it is highly unlikely that any legislation of this magnitude would get through Congress in such a short time; and even most of the Republican plans for killing Obamacare call for the axe to come down in 2018 or later.

Stick with your current plan; take as much advantage of it as you can, too, because we honestly don't know what will happen beyond next year.
posted by tivalasvegas at 2:31 PM on November 18, 2016

yeah i'm currently scheduling exams that i technically don't need for another 3 years but why risk it, why not get the mammogram and the colonoscopy now while i still fucking can

thank u all for your assistance in maintaining my panic at a manageable level
posted by poffin boffin at 3:30 PM on November 18, 2016 [1 favorite]

Unless you are getting a subsidy, you don't need to use the ACA plans to get coverage. You can get individual plans through an insurance broker (or just by looking at the major players online). I did that, and got far better coverage than the ACA market plans offer.

Also, choosing a plan is very difficult, as I've recently discovered. I ended up making a rather complicated spreadsheet with graphs to identify which plan was actually the best (not the plan that covered the most, which is only one test). I ended up choosing a Bronze plan, which surprised me, as I'm super conservative when it comes to insurance. Having a broker who really understands the many complications is incredibly helpful.

(Love your description of DJT :)
posted by Capri at 5:13 PM on November 18, 2016

I don't know if this has changed with the ACA but I think it is still true that under COBRA, the insurance company has to offer you an individual plan at the end of your COBRA benefits. So if you are more concerned about pre-existing conditions than coverage, that might be an option - you should be to find someone at the current insurance company who can tell you how it works and which plans would be available at what cost.
posted by metahawk at 12:51 PM on November 19, 2016

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